There are several reasons that a dog might be particularly odiferous. Skin conditions, ear infections, lack of grooming, and dental issues are among the most common causes.
If your pup has gotten a clean bill of health from the vet and a thorough spa treatment from the groomer, but still smells funky, you may just be particularly sensitive to your dog’s natural aroma.
Dogs do not sweat like humans, but they do perspire. The light perspiration released through their paw pads and hair follicles has a chemical scent individual to each dog. They also produce odor-emitting oils that keep their skin and coat healthy. These scent markers, coupled with the slight yeasty smell that permeates from the glands in their ears, add up to your pup’s own signature “dog smell.”
Routine bathing and grooming should be enough to keep most doggy aromas at bay, but if you still find yourself reaching for the air freshener, consider these 7 tips:
1. Feed a high quality diet rich in fatty acids.
Diet plays a major role in your dog’s overall health. Too many table scraps, processed treats, and low-quality foods can lead to excess gas and a multitude of skin problems. Dogs with food allergies can develop moist dermatitis and ear infections – both known for their pungent aromas. In addition, grain and starch-based dog foods that are low in fatty acids can lead to dry, stinky skin.
2. Maintain a brushing routine between bath times.
A good, thorough session with the brush helps to remove odor-causing debris, dirt, dead hair, skin cells, dried saliva, and whatever else your pup has recently been into! Brushing also stimulates the release of healthy oils to keep the skin and coat hydrated, healthy and smelling fresh.
- For long, medium and curly-haired dogs, use a metal comb daily to prevent matting and finish with a slicker brush for smoothness and shine.
- Short-haired dogs like Boxers and Labs should be brushed at least once a week with a rubber curry brush or a deshedding tool like The Fur-minator.
3. Vacuum regularly.
Soft carpeting notoriously collects all the dirt and debris of our day-to-day lives. If you share your home with dogs and humans, your carpets are full of odor-causing particles like dead skin and hair.
- Vacuum regularly and empty the canister after each use.
- Sprinkle baking soda on carpets and soft furniture. Let it sit for several hours before vacuuming.
- To remove dog smells from your vacuum cleaner, disassemble the machine and soak the canister, hoses and filter in a solution of warm water and baking soda.
- Stash dryer sheets or orange peels in the filter cavity for a fresh scent every time you sweep!
- Shampoo carpets as needed for deep-set doggy stains and odors.
4. Use washable furniture covers.
If your dog is allowed to lounge on the furniture, his scent is definitely going to stay behind! Cover sofas with washable pet covers or blankets and use removable cases on your throw pillows. Add apple cider vinegar to the washing machine to neutralize tough odors safely and naturally.
5. Freshen doggy breath.
There’s nothing worse than the noxious fumes from a stinky dog mouth! Bad breath is often a symptom of dental disease, infections, or even organ failure so be sure to check with your vet to rule these out. When it comes to good old-fashioned canine halitosis, try these options:
- Brush your dog’s teeth regularly.
- Offer safe, healthy dental chews and toys.
- Use a breath-freshening spray or wipes.
6. Don’t over-bathe.
Humans are a remarkably clean species, so it makes sense that our first inclination is to toss stinky pups in the tub at the first unpleasant whiff. Over-bathing can strip away the oils in your dog’s coat and dry out her delicate skin. The general rule of thumb is to bathe no more than once a month with a high-quality dog shampoo unless otherwise instructed by your veterinarian. You can, of course, make the occasional exception should your pup splash through a mud puddle or run into a skunk! In between bath times:
- Use grooming wipes on skin folds, paw pads, and all over to remove odor and debris.
- Keep ears free of excess hair and clean them with a gentle, pet-safe cleanser or ear wipes as needed.
7. Watch out for stinky “land mines”.
Who doesn’t love to watch their pooch kick up his paws and roll around carefree in the grass? As adorable as it is, you may want to make sure it is just grass your BFF is frolicking in! Dogs love to rub their bodies all over smelly items like poop and dead animals. Researchers believe this behavior may be a throwback to the days when masking their scent from predators was a must. Whatever the reason, it makes for one stinky pup!
Featured Image via Flickr | Ron Bulovs