What To Do About Stinky Dogs?

This week, our groomer talks about why your dogs might be a tad smelly and how to prevent it.

Dear Groomer,

Why does my dog always stink?! He smells awful, especially after it rains!

Want to be Sweetly Scented in Holliston


Dear Sweetly Scented,

Dogs smell for a variety of reasons: allergies, skin conditions, rolling in their favorite dead animal, going swimming or getting wet, or everyone’s favorite, the skunk! Dogs don’t get baths nearly as much as humans do, so think about how you would smell if you didn’t bathe for months on end. Some smells can be reduced or eliminated by preemptive measures.

Just like humans, common allergies in animals are related to the season or foods. Your vet can determine what your pet is allergic to and prescribe a course of action. The groomer can bathe your pet in oatmeal or medicated shampoo or your vet can prescribe a shampoo that will soothe irritated or itchy skin. If the allergies are food-based, shampoos or sprays will not help the odor; you need to remove the items from their diet or change the food.

Scratching and dampness are common causes of hot spots, which can be very stinky. There are over-the-counter and prescription sprays that will dry the spot out and promote healing. If your dog gets wet - which I know can be hard to prevent this time of year - try to towel them off as much as possible. If you notice that your pet is rather smelly only by its head, it could be an ear infection. Cleaning the ears once a week will help eliminate odor and infections.

Dusk and early morning are the most likely for your pet to meet up with a skunk. Check the area for critters before you let them run loose. I know that I am just as guilty as the next person – letting my guys out first thing in the morning without checking around the yard. It’s worth the extra minute or two to do the reconnaissance.

If your dog gets sprayed, the smell will last for months every time they get wet. Immediately rinse their eyes with water if you think they got sprayed directly in the face. There are many home remedies for skunk baths online. The baking soda and Dawn dish-washing liquid mix is a good one. Your groomer should have products that will greatly reduce the stink.

In general, if you would like to try keeping your pet smelling fresh, have them groomed regularly. If you like how they smell when they come, ask your groomer about the product. Many of them are available over-the-counter. Some shampoos have lovely scents that will last for a couple of weeks. There are matching sprays that I use in my salon that can be use to freshen up pets between grooms. There are also waterless bath products, typically in a pump bottle, to perk up a pet’s coat. You simply spray the coat until damp and vigorously rub in and towel dry. Wipes are also a good way to do a light grooming or spot cleaning and your pet smells nice.

Between food and their face down at the ground all the time, the beard or muzzle can get fairly stinky. If you don’t mind, and your pet is cooperative, comb and wash out their beard hair periodically. You never know what you will find in there!

Your best bet is to get your pet groomed regularly. Your groomer can suggest products for in-between grooms and he or she can alert you to any physical issues that might be causing stinkiness.

If you have any questions or would like some product suggestions, please send an email to Serena Keating at lucybellemaude@verizon.net.


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