Improving the Smell of Your Dog

A healthy dog smell should not be offensive or foul. Fortunately, improving the smell of your dog is a simple process. Sometimes the source of a dog's bad smell is obvious: an encounter with a skunk or a roll in something spoiled. Other causes of dog odor include a poor diet, improper grooming or an underlying illness.

Skunk Smell

If your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, the most successful cleaning solution is not tomato juice. Prepare the following recipe to remove the smell:

  • One quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • One-quarter cup baking soda (not powder)
  • One teaspoon liquid dish or hand soap
  • Mix this solution in a bucket and sponge it over your dog, nose to tail. Work it into her fur and rinse well.

Regular Bathing

If your dog rolled in something foul, bathe thoroughly with a dog shampoo. Human shampoos or dish soap are not formulated for your dog's skin type, and the perfumes can harm the sensitive dog sense of smell.

Oily coated dogs in particular benefit from regular bathing and a thorough brushing, but all dogs need regular grooming. Depending on your dog's environment, bathing can be done as often as once a week. Be sure to use a mild dog shampoo for more frequent baths. Some dog's, depending on the breed or any medical conditions, shouldn't be bathed often, ask your vet to make sure.

Diet Contributes to Dog Smell

A high quality diet will improve the smell of your dog. What you put inside your dog often affects how she smells on the outside. Inappropriate foods such as highly processed or spicy foods can cause mild skin allergies. In addition, low-quality dog foods do not provide the nutrients needed for healthy skin and coat.

Long Muzzle Hair Can Accumulate Food

If your dog has long hair, keep the hair around her muzzle trimmed. Accumulated food can stick in her muzzle hair and cause odor.

Proper Grooming

Long haired dogs should be kept clipped, especially in hot weather. Be especially vigilant about keeping the hair cut around your dog's anus; matted hair can cause odor and block defecation.

Clean Teeth

Bad breath is responsible for many complaints about dog odor. Keep your dog's teeth clean with crunchy treats and regular brushing. Do not use human toothpaste on dogs; special dog toothpaste is available at pet food stores and through your veterinarian.

Underlying illnesses can cause skin, coat and breath odors. If your dog's body or breath odor are accompanied by signs of illness such as weakness, lethargy, excessive vomiting and diarrhea or obvious pain, contact your veterinarian for a thorough health screening. A clean, healthy dog should not smell. If normal home solutions do not remedy the problem, it may be something more serious.