Well, we've been there, done that. Dog smell is just part of the package when you're a groomer. Stink is one of the many reasons owners show their pets a one-way destination to the tub. But what causes a dog to smell, aside from playing not-so-nice with a skunk, and how often is too often for a good, clean wash and dry?
Assess the stink:
- Does you dog just smell like...dog? While they don't sweat like we humans do, they do emit light perspiration from their paws and hair follicles. Dogs also produce oil on their skin and coats, which leaves a specific scent only other dogs can detect and recognize, but an overall unpleasant scent for us.
- Bad Breath? A dental checkup may be necessary, or an adjustment in diet. Especially rotten breath can signal an internal problem, but both dogs and cats have a regular smell to their breath that is completely natural.
- The opposite end of a dog also has its own share of smells. Anal sacs, or scent glands, have the purpose of releasing scent markers for the benefit of other dogs. These glands may become blocked, causing a swollen, painful abscess that requires draining treatment. If your dog is having irregular gas (flatulence) that is frequent or particularly smelly, consider their diet and call your veterinarian to discuss possible allergies and a change in food.
- Illness, infection, or skin irritation may also contribute to bad odor. Rashes, hot spots, cuts, or any serious injury should be looked over professionally by a vet.
Health is a common correlation to a smelly dog. Just like with people, a dog's body emits particular odors if ill or stressed. It is important to recognize what the natural smell of your dog is like, and appreciate them in good health.
What you can do to help:
- Regular bathing can minimize the extent of natural dog body odor. Once a month is recommended, or at least 6-8 weeks for a thorough cleaning. If your dog rolls in something particularly gross, a wash 2-3 times a month is possible, but too often can strip the natural oils from a dog's coat.
- Use a simple shampoo. Fragrances may seem nice to us, but often their ingredients may cause irritation to pets. Here you may find more discussion about shampoo options, and the Pure Oxygen Shampoo we use at Buddies.
- Dental health is the best bet to fighting bad breath. While tooth brushing may assist in the tartar battle, chewing on a good treat or toy also contributes to a happy dental environment.
- Regular ear cleaning can prevent infections. Dog ears are sensitive, and can get messy or stinky pretty fast without proper maintenance. Use cotton balls or gauze, and an ear rinse with no alcohol, steroids, or antibiotics.