Each dog has a distinct scent of their own. This is an important part of their identity and how they are recognized by other dogs. For the most part, this odor is neutral and unnoticeable to humans, but there are also times when it’s stinky and unbearable. This is common when dogs have too much fun rolling in the mud, playing in dirty water, or even taking a walk. But even if your pet stays indoors, oil, dander, and dirt can build up on your dog’s skin and cause them to smell funky. Dental diseases, ear infections, and skin conditions are also possible reasons why a dog gets stinky.
Since there are different reasons your dog can smell bad, the solution will vary too. Often, giving your pet a bath is enough. However, there are instances when the scent won’t go away and may linger on your furniture as well as your pet’s customizable dog bed. Washing and cleaning will get rid of most pet odors, but for a more long-term fix, follow these tips for keeping the stinky dog smell at bay.
Groom Your Pet Regularly
Grooming your pet is the quickest way to get rid of their stink. Be sure to bathe them according to the schedule recommended for their type of coat. For example, medium- to long-haired dogs need to be bathed weekly if they’re very active and get dirty quickly. Other dogs only need washing every four to six weeks to continue smelling fresh. If you’re not certain about the right frequency for your pet, observe how long it takes them to start smelling after a grooming session.
After bathing, thoroughly dry your dog’s fur using an absorbent dog towel or a pet hair dryer. It’s not a good idea to simply allow them to air dry. Otherwise, allowing their fur to remain wet can cause them to develop that wet dog smell that all pet owners are familiar with. This odor is actually caused by your dog’s skin glands, which excrete a substance to protect their skin from the moisture collected on their coat.
In between baths, regularly brush your pet’s coat. It’s a good way to prevent oil and dander buildup and manage their shedding. Make sure to wipe between skin folds and the inside flaps of your dog’s ears using a soft, damp cloth, as dirt and oil can accumulate in these parts. Additionally, trim your dog’s hair to prevent matting. Cut long hairs between their paw pads every four to six weeks, as these can collect a lot of dirt. Finally, remember to clip your pet’s nails too. Dirt can get stuck here and cause unpleasant odors.
Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Unpleasant smells can also come from your pet’s mouth. Similar to humans, tartar and cavities can cause bad breath in dogs. As such, it’s important to brush your dog’s teeth regularly to prevent plaque and tartar buildup along with other bad breath-causing dental issues.
It’s best to start tooth brushing while your pet is still a puppy so they can get used to it early. Water and a soft toothbrush are all you really need, but you can also use a special dog toothpaste to give them added protection against gingivitis and gum disease. Never use human-grade toothpaste on your pet.
Feed Your Dog a Healthy Diet
What your pet eats can also contribute to the odor they release. When dogs consume something that’s difficult to digest, like dog foods containing grains and filler ingredients, it can affect how they smell. By switching to dog food with higher protein content and adding fruits and vegetables to your pet’s diet, your dog’s digestion can improve and result in a better-smelling pup.
Wash Dog Bedding and Pet Items Frequently
Where your dog sleeps may contribute to how stinky they get. Dirt, saliva, urine, and dander can settle on your pet’s bedding. The bacteria in these elements can transfer to your dog’s fur and make them stink, even if you bathe them often. So make sure to wash your pet’s bed, dog blanket, and any soft dog toys they like to sleep with. Clean washable fabrics in the washing machine, then let them dry completely before allowing your dog to use them. If your pet stays in a crate, rinse the interiors or wipe with a pet-safe cleaner to remove any funky smells.
Aside from your pet’s bedding, make sure to wash other items your dog uses. Your dog’s collars, leashes, and favorite toys can also be culprits behind the foul odor. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning these items. For extra stinky dog items, add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the detergent to neutralize odors while washing.
Use Natural Scent Neutralizers
Once you’re done washing your dog’s belongings, use natural scent neutralizers to help ward off future odors. For example, baking soda effectively absorbs odors and is pet-safe. Sprinkle some on your pet’s bed or cushion and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, vacuum up any residue.
Another option is to use white distilled vinegar. Create a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar and place it in a spray bottle. Then, spray it on your pet’s bed, carpets, floors, and any part of your home where your dog usually hangs out. This should help remove any unpleasant smells without harming your pet.
Bring Your Pet to the Vet for a Checkup
If your dog continues to emit a funky smell even with regular grooming, the odor may be a sign of a health concern. Ear infections and skin conditions, like atopy and allergies, are common causes of foul odor among dogs. Just so you can be certain, it’s best to bring your dog to the vet for a checkup. They might run some tests for confirmation and provide treatment and medication if needed.
It’s hard to enjoy cuddling with your furry friend when they’re stinky. While this is usually something a good bath can fix, consider doing a more thorough cleaning inside your home and making the extra effort to keep your pet from developing odors in the first place. As a precaution, make sure to schedule a vet visit to rule out health concerns and get your dog treated. It will also help ensure that you enjoy your pet’s company for a long time.