Pets
Why does my dog smell? How to help your stinky dog
No one likes a stinky dog in their home. If your dog seems to always be a bit smelly...these tips can help.
Elijah Chan
05.05.22

Who doesn’t love cuddling with their dogs?

But every so often, once we bury our faces into their fur, we catch a whiff of something that smells like a dog. And it’s not only when we’re close with them.

Pexels - Elina Volkova
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Pexels - Elina Volkova

They leave their scent on throw pillows, carpets, couches, and even on our clothes. If they’re not sweating as we do, why do our dogs smell in the first place?

Believe it or not, dogs adapt their scent.

According to Ashley Bourgeois from the Animal Dermatology Clinic Portland, dogs often smell like the place they grow up in. If a dog lives in a place with a big yard, it will smell like grass. Those who live on farms can smell like hay. Dogs who are carried a lot like Pomeranians of Yorkies often smell like their owner’s perfume.

Pexels - Miguel Constantin Montes
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Pexels - Miguel Constantin Montes

It also depends on the breed of your dog and its habits. Bigger dogs often smell worse than their smaller counterparts and furrier ones can trap a lot of unwanted scents.

So why do they “stink”?

Secondary yeast or bacterial skin infections remain the most common cause of being smelly. Experts said that habitual scratching can lead to this like allergies. Allergies and infections can be triggered when dogs lick their wounds from too much itching.

Pexels - Adam Kontor
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Pexels - Adam Kontor

Malassezia yeast and staphylococcus pseudintermedius bacteria can overgrow on your dog’s skin which can eventually lead to the stink.

Watch out when your dog scratches more often, has changes in skin color like redness or is smelly with crusting on the skin.

So what do you do when your dogs stink?

Experts discourage home remedies like borax, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and bleach. It can be tempting because these are all convenient options but they might do more harm than good.

Pexels - nishizuka
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Pexels - nishizuka

Covering the scent with spray-on scents can also lead to skin irritation which can worsen the problem.

Pexels - Helena Lopes
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Pexels - Helena Lopes

Veterinary prescription products are more cost-effective and safer since they have higher concentrations of ingredients like chlorhexidine, a type of antiseptic, phytosphingosine, or skin protective lipids.

So how often should you bathe your dogs?

Some prefer bathing their dogs weekly, and some of them want it monthly. But which is which? It actually depends on different factors most especially the breed.

Pexels - Helena Lopes
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Pexels - Helena Lopes

Hairless breeds such as Xoloitzcuintli need weekly baths. Long-coated breeds like Maltese and Collies also need frequent baths. Puli, even if it looks like a rug, doesn’t smell like typical dog breeds so they don’t need to bathe as often.

Pexels - Pixabay
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Pexels - Pixabay

Siberian Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers, three of the most popular breeds, maintain their coat with oils. Over-bathing these dogs are highly discouraged.

How do you prevent the great stink?

Have regular baths but not too frequently. Use skin-friendly products and maintain your dog’s coat as much as you can.

Be wary of symptoms especially when your dog’s scent keeps on getting worse. Other complications like infections or allergic reactions can be prevented through early intervention.

Pexels - Blue Bird
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Pexels - Blue Bird

Being a smelly dog is quite normal. You’ll just have to know what the bad kind is and how to act on it.

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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