4 min read
How to Prevent Your Dog From Stinking
By Amy Caldwell
Published: 09/15/2017, edited: 10/15/2021
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Dogs try to keep their hair and skin in good condition by licking, scratching, dry bathing (rolling on the ground) or simply by getting wet. Licking and scratching are normal when performed in moderation, and their saliva contains natural antiseptics. Rolling and rubbing are ways your dog can massage their skin and remove debris from areas they can not reach with their tongue or paws.
Rolling and rubbing also activate the sebaceous glands in their hair follicles, which secrete an oily substance known as sebum that has antimicrobial properties. However, a dog won't clean themselves as a cat would, which means your dog might still have a distinctive smell.
Causes and Prevention of Dog Stink
Dogs don't sweat like humans. Dogs perspire from their paws and release light perspiration from their hair follicles. This sweat has a chemical scent, individual to each dog. So while dogs may smell the same to us, they smell different to each other.
Additionally, a dog's skin has microorganisms like bacteria and yeasts, which can be influenced by external factors and may release smelly compounds. Health problems like ear infections, anal sac infections, and bad oral hygiene may also be the reason why your dog stinks.
The best way to keep your furry friend odor-free is to bathe and groom them. However, too much bathing can do more harm than good. You can prevent your dog from stinking by practicing some of the following methods:
Wiping Your Dog's Coat With Dog Wipes or Baby Wipes
Both dog and baby wipes are gentle enough for your dog's delicate skin. Most wipes are pre-moistened with natural cleansers, conditioners, and deodorizers to freshen the skin and coat with minimal effort. Ingredients such as aloe vera supplement and condition the fur, Wipes are also free of additives and have adjusted pH.
If you're planning on using wipes regularly, you should consider using ones formulated for dogs, since their pH is different from ours. Wet wipes offer an easy and quick alternative to a daily bath. Just make sure to avoid wiping the area around the eyes.
Brush Your Dog Regularly
Dirt, dander, and allergens from your dog's coat will contribute to a bad odor. The best way to remove them is by brushing. Since dead hair and skin cells lead to bad odor, make sure you increase the amount you brush if your dog shreds a lot. You can ask your vet if you're unsure how much you should brush your dog.
Use a Dry or Powder Shampoo
Dry dog shampoos are powdered products that you rub into your pet's fur. They help eliminate the grease and odor from your dog's hair without the hassles or risks associated with a traditional bath. They are easy to apply and remove. Simply rub the appropriate dose of powder into your dog's coat, wait for several minutes and brush the dry shampoo out of their hair.
Keep in mind that using too much dry shampoo may affect your dog's natural antibacterial skin barrier or even clog the hair follicles, which stunts the natural hair growth and can create a buildup of environmental toxins on your dog.
Use Vinegar for a Quick Rinse
A simple but effective way to improve your dog's smell is to rinse him with vinegar. While vinegar may not smell great anyway, once it dries, your dog's odor will disappear, along with many of the other unpleasant smells.
If you want to try it, just combine 2 cups of distilled white vinegar with 4 gallons of water. Use plain water to wet your dog's skin, not just the coat. Saturate your dog's coat with the vinegar mixture. Finally, dry your pet without rinsing off the vinegar.
Keep Your Dog's Bedding Clean
If your dog sleeps on a smelly bed, your battle against dog odor will be more difficult. That's why it is important to keep his bed clean by washing it at least every other week.
Make Sure Your Dog's Ears and Teeth Are Clean
A dog's smell can sometimes originate from their ears. To clean your dog's ears, use cotton pads with an approved ear cleaning product for dogs. You can also use baby or dog wipes. However, you should never use cotton swabs since you do not want to damage your dog's ear canals.
Another source of dog odor is bad doggy breath. Frequent teeth brushing will keep both teeth and gums healthy, and your dog's breath should improve. You should use a small toothbrush and dog toothpaste. Don't use human toothpaste on your dog as they can be toxic for dogs. Brush in small circles to loosen plaque which will help eliminate bad odor.
When In Doubt...
In some cases, bad dog odors may be a sign of a minor health issue such as gum disease or skin infection. In other cases, it may indicate a severe systemic illness such as diabetes or kidney disease. If your dog smells worse than usual, ask your veterinarian to examine them.
Diabetes and kidney disease can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your dog has one of these conditions or is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!