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How to Control Dog Odors

Updated on December 28, 2015

Keep Your Pup Smelling Fresh All Day and Night

Dogs are pretty darn dirty when you get right down too it. Ever pet your dog and recoil at the smell of your hand afterward? We'll it used to happen to me all the time, but now I have my own strategies for dealing with all the odors and unknown stinky scents that the dogs love to roll in.

Part of the dog's natural odor comes from scent glands that release a unique and pungent odor that many mammals use for identification. Scent glads are located near the mouth, on the paws, near the anus and in many areas throughout the body. Short haired breeds, such as much adorably and stinky dachshunds, tend to to release more oil in proportion to the amount of hair, which consequently makes them smellier. The dogs natural scent levels also fluctuate with their hormones, which makes female dogs release an unusual musky odor when they are in heat, and as many pet owners now, dogs can smell this "fragrant" odor from miles away.

To keep your dog smell fresh, it's a good idea to adopt a regular grooming regime that includes a bath, scented wipes or a dry shampoo and other odor control methods. If you're dog's as dirty as mine, you might have to bathe them more frequently than the 1 to 2 weeks recommended. Washing too frequently or using harsh shampoos can be counter-affective and stimulate the production of excess oil, which is exactly what you don't want. Read on to discover effective odor reduction strategies.

*Photo provided by morgueFile contributor grietgriet through a free photo license.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. Even for dogs.

Odor Reduction Strategies

Developing a Plan

A simple and effective daily wipe down

Scented wipes for extra smelly days

Dog Clothes can absorb a lot of odor while keeping your pup looking cute and suburban.

Doggie perfume to feel stylish and smell good.

An odor-eating bed made from microfiber or another machine washable material that can be cleaned frequently.

Lavender or herbal sachets can keep your dog smelling dog while keeping fleas and ticks away.

Full-service wash and dry. Remove those odors and that wet-dog smell with a full blowout.

***Don't have any dog shampoo on hand? Use a small amount of your own shampoo! ( I like Garnier Fructis because it has a nice, light scent and it also leave the fur very soft and shiny.)

*Photo taken by me.

Why Do They Do It?

If you asked my dad why dog love to roll is stinky, smelly, gross stuff, he'd tell you dogs are just trying to cover up their natural scent to avoid detection as they hunt and stalk their quarry. I believe dogs are just plain ol' dirty, but if you think about it it's quite logical for a dog to want to cover its own scent. After all, the dog's world revolves almost entirely around smells. The dog's own nose uses scent-layering technology that allows dogs to detect multiple scents. For example, drug smugglers and traffickers often believe they can fool drug-sniffing dog and mask the odor of illegal substances with mentholated toothpaste and other strongly scented items, but of course it's not possible.

*Photo provided by morgueFile contributor missyredboots through a free photo license.

Doggie Perfume for Boy Dogs and Girl Dogs Too

Cardinal Laboratories Crazy Pet Baby Powder Grooming Spray 2oz
Cardinal Laboratories Crazy Pet Baby Powder Grooming Spray 2oz
This stuff is the bomb. Seriously! Delivering long-lasting fragrance is a number of cool flavors, Crazy Dog Pet Perfume will keep your dog smell sweet for 12 hours or more. Plus it makes their coats look really smooth and shiny! What's not to love. Lot's of sizes and flavors to choose from. I recommend the 2oz bottle to see what scent you like best. Use two spritzes depending on the size of your dog and smooth it in with a slicker for long-lasting odor relief.

Microfiber Dog Towels

MONTAUR Dog Bark Collar - no Shock Vibration and Sound Stop Barking Collar for Dogs - 7 Level Sensitivities Anti Bark Collar - Humane Dog Barking Control Collar - 100% Waterproof no Bark Collar
MONTAUR Dog Bark Collar - no Shock Vibration and Sound Stop Barking Collar for Dogs - 7 Level Sensitivities Anti Bark Collar - Humane Dog Barking Control Collar - 100% Waterproof no Bark Collar
Microfiber towels are a must-have accessory for pet owners. Wipe of dirt, mud and excess water, throw it in the wash and use it over and over again. Reusable cloth towels are a great alternative to disposable wipes and full-blown baths. After a walk in the mud and rain, this is all you need to keep your dog clean!

Wet Dog Odor

What is that smell!

Apparently, dog owners weren't the only ones wondering what that foul smell is. Scientists have been pondering the same thing.

According to a study entitled, "Compounds Responsible for the Odor of Dog Hair Coats " that published by Linda Young et al., the classic wet dog smell is comprised of a handful of volatile compounds that can becomes very smelly when they interact. These chemical compounds include:

dimethyl trisulfide (yep, good old organosulfur compounds play a major role in wet dog smell)



1-octen-3-ol (also known as mushroom alcohol)

fruit-scented 2-nonanone

floral-scented a-damascenone

earthy smelling 2,3-diethyl-5-methylpyrazine

Complex aldehydes present in wet dog smell include:

2, and 3-methyl butanal







*Photo provided by morgueFile contributor kingdingathing through a free photo license.

Clean and Sweet

*Photo taken by me.

Pet Products from Paul Mitchell - John Paul Pet

Who knew!? Salon-favorite Paul Mitchell also makes an extensive line of soothing, botanical-infused pet products for every application. I would like to try these JP products, but I currently have a big bottle of VitaCost's brand name Pet Tag Shampoo with Aloe Vera. I got a big 16-ounce bottle for less than $5. I also purchase the Pet Head deodorizing spray from them.

John Paul Pet Australian Tea Tree and Eucalyptus Oil Shampoo for Dogs and Cats, Cleanses Moisturizes and Soothes Skin Irritations, 16-Ounce, clear (JPS5484)
John Paul Pet Australian Tea Tree and Eucalyptus Oil Shampoo for Dogs and Cats, Cleanses Moisturizes and Soothes Skin Irritations, 16-Ounce, clear (JPS5484)
This shampoo is designed to protect dogs from fleas, ticks and biting insects with a barrier of Tea Tree oil, and it's on sale for $10.50. Click to see Amazon's updated sale price!!

Waterless Dog Shampoos

Washing your dog every time they roll in something is a big, messy and wet chore. As we all know, wet dogs don't smell so great even after they've been bathed. That's where the marvelous invention known as waterless shampoo comes in! These super products gently remove odors and dirt without using gallons of water. Look for waterless dog shampoos from John Paul Mitchell, Pet Head (Bed head's pet division), Hartz and other popular brands.

Clean Or Dirty?

We have two dogs and they are absolute opposites. Hopper, the chiweenie, is clean and dainty, while Polly is the dirtiest, craziest dog I've ever met. How do your pups stack up? neatnick

Is Your Dog a Dirt Demon or Clean Queen?

See results

How to Remove Skunk Spray

If your dog has ever been hit by the big smelly, you know how hard it is to remove using home remedies like a can of crushed tomatoes (believe me, it was hard not to laugh when my mom poor tomato sauce onto the poor doggie!)

Here's is a tried and true method for removing the sulfurous stick of skunk spray. Unfortunately, skunk spray is a lot like the oils released from the dog's scent glands. However, skunks have the power to aim their high-velocity spray at the enemies. It takes a lot to breakdown and remove the skunk's stinky oil.

For this process you will need a bucket or large mixing bowl, a good squirt of dish detergent, 1/4 cup of baking soda and one full bottle of regular hydrogen peroxide (3% according to the bottle). For best results, combine the ingredients, add water if necessary and massage into your dog's dry fur. This mixture creates an explosive foam. Allow the mixture to penetrate your dog's fur for at least five minutes. At this point, encouraging words will make your pet feel more comfortable while they are enveloped in this bubbling foam. Repeat if necessary.

*Photo provided by morgueFile contributor ks42day through a free photo license.


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