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Tips to Make Your Dog Smell Better

December 04, 2023 0 comments

No one enjoys dealing with the unpleasant scent of a dog. Explore the various causes behind your dog's strong odor and discover effective ways to restore their fresh scent in no time!

The distinctive smell of a dog can vary widely, ranging from a healthy and pleasing aroma to a slightly unpleasant scent, or even to an overpowering and difficult-to-bear odor. Factors such as bad breath, inadequate hygiene, and smelly dog farts contribute to this range of odors. If you're seeking answers to why your dog might have an unpleasant smell, you're in the right place!

This article will delve into the reasons behind your dog's odor, offering tips to improve their scent. These tips include simple grooming techniques that you can perform at home.

White Toy Poodle

Tips to Make Your Dog Smell Better

Maintaining your furry companion's hygiene is a crucial aspect of their well-being and your shared comfort. In this article, we'll provide you with 5 tips to make your furry friend smell fresher and more pleasant. From grooming techniques to health considerations, discover actionable tips that will elevate your dog's scent, making every moment together more enjoyable.

Check the quality of your dog’s food

The food your dog eats can change how they smell. To make your dog smell better without using anything artificial, don’t give them low-quality food. Instead, give them more raw meat and fruits and veggies that dogs can eat. Also, some fresh herbs like parsley can help get rid of your dog’s smell. Additionally, if your dog eats dog food, read the food composition carefully. It must contain at least 80% of natural ingredients.

Stay on top of grooming for your dog

Dogs usually groom themselves, but that doesn't mean they don't need your help. With an easy grooming routine at home, you can keep your dog clean and healthy:

  • Brush your dog's fur often to prevent bad smells and manage shedding.
  • Gently rinse your dog's fur and paws after they play outside and get dirty.
  • Give your dog a bath when necessary (ask your vet for advice).
  • Carefully clean around your dog's eyes with a soft damp cloth whenever needed.
  • Clean your dog's ears' folds and flaps using a clean damp cloth every few weeks.
  • Trim your dog's fur and the hair between their paw pads when needed.
  • Regularly cut your dog's nails and take good care of their paws.
  • Use a bit of baking soda during your dog's bath; it can help get rid of bad smells.

Keep the bed clean

Wherever your dog sleeps, it's important to clean their bed often to prevent smells. A dirty dog bed can gather dirt, bacteria, dust mites, skin cells, hair, outdoor dirt, and even bugs. So, like you wash your own sheets regularly, make sure to wash your furry friend's bedding too. The Cleveland Clinic mentions that dogs can bring in fungi that cause scabies into your bed - yet another reason to wash the bedding frequently!

Remember to clean your dog's teeth

Regularly brushing your dog's teeth helps prevent an unpleasant dog smell by stopping plaque and tartar buildup, as well as avoiding gingivitis and gum disease. You can use water or specialized dog toothpaste for brushing.

Taking care of your dog's teeth is crucial. Tartar and cavities can cause bad breath in dogs, and dental bacteria can even spread to other organs, such as the heart, if left untreated, leading to potentially fatal consequences.

Veterinary Checkup

Sometimes, an unpleasant odor in dogs might be linked to an underlying health problem requiring medical attention. For instance, your dog's bad breath may not solely stem from inadequate dental care; it could also indicate conditions like diabetes or kidney disease.2

Hence, if your dog emits a strong odor, it's prudent to schedule a comprehensive vet check-up. Inform your vet about the unpleasant smell your dog is experiencing. They can likely pinpoint the cause, conduct further tests, and offer recommendations or prescribe medication if needed.

Early detection and treatment of any health issues causing the odor are crucial for ensuring a long and healthy life together with your dog!

Veteranarian Checking on a Dog

So, it is important to understand the reason for an unpleasant smell. Understanding why this smell appears will provide you with an appropriate solution. We are providing with common reason further. So, keep reading.

Why does my dog stink?

Grooming issues

Older dogs or dogs with health problems may stop grooming themselves. This could be due to health issues like arthritis, which makes it hard for them to move around. You might notice how dogs twist themselves while grooming, making it tough for your senior dog to reach certain spots.

Over time, this lack of grooming can cause your once-pleasant-smelling pup to develop a bad odor. As oils, dander, and dirt build up, your dog may start smelling unpleasant instead of fresh. So, observe your dog's grooming habits to see if this is the reason.

Helpful tip: Not sure if your dog is considered a senior? Check our guide on converting dog years to human years. (Hint: Multiplying your dog's years by 7 isn't entirely accurate for their "human" age.)

Your Dog's Outdoor Adventures

When your dog goes outside, they encounter various (often smelly) things like skunks. Many dogs enjoy rolling around in mud, dirty water, or even other dogs' waste! This behavior might be why your dog has a bad smell.

Monitoring your dog's whereabouts can help you intervene if you see them heading toward smelly areas, like your neighbor's recently fertilized farm or a nearby manure pile.

Dog Gas

Dog farts, also known as gas, are a common reason for a dog's smell. It might mean your dog ate something that's hard to digest. If your dog has frequent gas issues, it could signal a food allergy or bowel disease. Visit a vet if you think your dog is passing gas more than usual. Additionally, here's a detailed list of 15 foods that dogs should avoid.

Bad Breath or Dental Disease

Halitosis, or bad breath, in dogs can result from bacteria due to plaque, tartar, leftover food, bleeding, or oral tumors1. Regularly brush your dog's teeth to prevent odor and check for any oral health problems. Here's a simple dental care routine for your dog.

Labrador Retriever Dog

Ear Infection

A strong smell from your dog's ear might indicate an ear infection. Watch for increased ear scratching. Visit a vet promptly if you notice redness or swelling.

Atopy or Allergies

Atopy, a skin condition from environmental allergies, can lead to odor in dogs. Learn more about seasonal allergies in dogs.

Wet Dog Smell

A dog's skin has glands that release fluids to protect the skin. These fluids' composition can cause the dog to smell. When the fur gets wet, more of these fluids come out, resulting in an unpleasant smell.

Ways to make your dog smell good

Regular grooming is a crucial aspect of your dog’s overall health and well-being. It not only ensures your furry friend looks their best but also helps prevent various health issues like a matted coat, flea infections, and dental problems. If you’re facing such concerns, investing in professional dog grooming services or consulting your local vet might be beneficial.

On the flip side, grooming your dog at home is a cost-effective and rewarding alternative. If your dog feels anxious about visiting the groomers (similar to how young kids might feel at the hairdresser), they’ll respond more positively to the extra time spent with you. Moreover, it's a fantastic way to strengthen your bond with your dog and enhance their trust and connection with you. Starting grooming routines like nail trimming and dental care early on can help your dog get accustomed to them as pleasant experiences.

We’ve outlined some basic steps to keep your dog well-groomed from head to toe. Let’s begin with the supplies you'll need:

  • A grooming brush or comb suitable for your dog’s coat type.
  • Dog-friendly shampoo and conditioner.
  • Towels or a pet-friendly hairdryer.
  • Nail clippers or a grinder.
  • A vet-approved ear cleaner.
  • Dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste (or a dental kit that includes both).

We've recommended vet-approved products for each category and specified where they might work best. This way, you can choose what suits your dog's needs.

Here are some helpful tips for grooming your dog at home, especially if they tend to get anxious or resist the grooming process:

Begin Slowly

Start introducing grooming steps gradually, one at a time. Too many changes at once might overwhelm your dog, making them anxious. Begin with short grooming sessions and slowly increase their duration as your dog gets comfortable.

Discover Preferences

Learn what parts of grooming your dog enjoys or dislikes. For instance, they might love teeth cleaning but dislike bath time. Find ways to make disliked tasks more enjoyable, such as having baths outdoors or offering plenty of treats.

Reward Positive Behavior

Encourage good behavior during grooming by offering treats and praise when your dog cooperates. This will help them associate grooming with affection and attention from you.

Consider Professional Help

Some grooming tasks might be easier with the assistance of a professional pet grooming service. Your dog might appreciate the extra care and attention from trained groomers.

Grooming your dog at home can be simple and rewarding with proper planning and preparation. These tips, along with a little shopping for supplies, can help your dog both look and feel their best.

Remember, keep in touch with your local vet or professional grooming service if you face any difficulties. Happy grooming!


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