Dogs are great pets, but sometimes they can smell bad. If your dog has a bad smell, there are reasons why this happens. Knowing these reasons can help you fix the problem and keep your dog smelling good. Let’s talk about why dogs might smell bad and what you can do about it.

Common Reasons Why Dogs Might Smell Bad

Dogs can smell bad for different reasons, and it’s important to figure out why. If your dog has a strange or strong smell, it could mean something is up. Here are some common reasons:

  1. Not Getting Clean: Dogs need baths and brushing to stay fresh. If they don’t get cleaned regularly, they can start to smell.
  2. Skin Problems: Sometimes, dogs get infections on their skin. This can make them smell bad and feel itchy.
  3. Ear Troubles: When dogs have ear infections, their ears might smell funky. It’s caused by bacteria, yeast, or too much moisture.
  4. Bad Breath: Just like people, dogs can get bad breath from tooth and gum issues. They might need a dental check-up.
  5. Stinky Glands: Dogs have glands near their bottoms that can get smelly. If they’re blocked or infected, it’s not pleasant.
  6. Gas: Yes, dogs can have gas too! Their diet or certain foods can make them gassy, and it’s not nice for anyone nearby.
  7. Skin Folds: Some breeds with lots of skin folds, like Bulldogs, can get infections in those folds. It makes for a stinky situation.
  8. Fungal Problems: Fungal infections can make a dog’s skin and coat smell strange, like they’ve been out in the rain too long.
  9. Allergies: Just like people, dogs can be allergic to things. Allergies can make their skin irritated and smelly.
  10. Oily Skin: Certain dogs naturally have oilier skin, which can make them smelly. Breeds like Basset Hounds are known for this.
  11. Pee Problems: If a dog has a urinary tract infection (UTI), their pee might smell bad. They might also lick themselves more.
  12. Health Stuff: Some health issues, like diabetes or kidney problems, can change a dog’s smell.
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Keep Your Dog Smelling Fresh

Here are some simple tips to keep your dog smelling fresh:


  • Bath Time: Give your dog a bath every month using dog shampoo.
  • Gentle Shampoo: Use gentle shampoo made for dogs.
  • Rinse Well: Make sure to rinse all the shampoo off their fur.


  • Brush Regularly: Brush your dog’s fur often to remove dirt and loose hair.

Dental Care:

  • Brush Teeth: Brush your dog’s teeth with special dog toothpaste.
  • Dental Chews: Give your dog dental chews to keep their breath fresh.

Clean Stuff:

  • Wash Bedding: Wash your dog’s bed often.
  • Clean Toys: Wash their toys, especially if they’re fabric or plush.

Healthy Food:

  • Good Food: Feed your dog healthy food.
  • No Table Scraps: Avoid giving them human food.


  • Trim Nails: Keep their nails short and clean.
  • Clean Ears: Clean their ears gently to prevent smells.
  • Anal Glands: Some dogs need their anal glands checked by a vet or groomer.

Flea Prevention:

  • Flea Products: Use products to prevent fleas and ticks.

Vet Check-ups:

  • See the Vet: Visit the vet regularly to keep your dog healthy.

Play and Exercise:

  • Stay Active: Play and go for walks to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Clean Environment:

  • Avoid Strong Smells: Keep your dog away from strong smells like smoke.

Home Remedies for Dog Odor

Apple Cider Vinegar:

  • Add to Food: Adding a small amount to their food can also help reduce body odor.
  • Dilute and Spray: Mix apple cider vinegar with water (1:1) in a spray bottle. Spray on your dog’s coat after a bath as a deodorizer.
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Lemon Juice:

  • Rinse Solution: Add a few drops to their final rinse during a bath.
  • Mix with Water: Mix lemon juice with water (1:1) in a spray bottle. Use as a fresh-smelling spray for your dog’s coat.

Oatmeal Bath:

  • Blend with Water: Blend oatmeal into a fine powder and add to warm bath water.
  • Soothing and Deodorizing: An oatmeal bath can soothe irritated skin and help with odor.

DIY Dry Shampoo:

  • Cornstarch and Baking Soda: Mix equal parts cornstarch and baking soda. Rub into your dog’s coat, then brush out.
  • Lavender Oil: Add a few drops of lavender oil for a pleasant scent.

Coconut Oil:

  • Oral Health: A small amount in their food can also improve breath odor.
  • Skin Moisturizer: Coconut oil can improve your dog’s skin health, reducing odors.

Vinegar and Water Solution:

  • Cleaning Solution: Mix vinegar and water (1:1) to clean floors and surfaces where dog odors linger.
  • Wipe Paws: Use a cloth with this solution to wipe their paws after walks.

Fresh Herbs:

  • Mint Leaves: Crush mint leaves and rub on your dog’s coat for a refreshing scent.
  • Rosemary or Sage: Boil fresh rosemary or sage in water, let it cool, and use it as a rinse after a bath.

Baking Soda:

  • For Bedding: Sprinkle baking soda on their bedding, let it sit, then vacuum it up.
  • Sprinkle on Fur: Sprinkle baking soda on your dog’s fur and brush it out. It helps absorb odors.

Green Tea:

  • Add to Bath: Add brewed green tea to their bathwater for a refreshing rinse.
  • Spray Solution: Brew green tea, let it cool, and use it as a spray for your dog’s coat.
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  • Absorb Odors: Place charcoal briquettes in the room where your dog spends time to absorb odors.

Essential Oil Spray:

  • Diluted Solution: Mix a few drops of dog-safe essential oil (like lavender or chamomile) with water in a spray bottle. Use as a refreshing spray on their coat (avoid eyes and nose).

Regular Cleaning:

  • Vacuuming: Vacuum floors and furniture to remove pet hair and odors.
  • Frequent Washing: Regularly wash your dog’s bedding and toys to keep odors at bay.

Understanding the reasons behind why dogs might smell bad is crucial in maintaining their overall health and well-being. By addressing underlying health issues, practicing good hygiene habits, and providing proper nutrition, pet owners can help prevent their dog from unpleasant odors. Regular grooming, dental care, and visits to the veterinarian can all contribute to keeping your dog smelling fresh and clean.