While a freshly bathed wet pooch might have a bit of doggy odor because of his damp fur, if Fido clears the room with his stinky scent, a medical problem might be to blame. Your pup won't smell like roses all the time, but he should have at least a bearable odor to you and anyone he encounters.
The main cause of stinky skin on a pooch that still reeks after a bath is a bacterial or fungal infection of the skin, according to the VCA Animal Hospitals website. These types of infections cause skin inflammation, bumps or hair loss, along with an unpleasant odor that can't be removed by soap, bathing and conditioners. Skin infections can affect some or all parts of your pup's body. They are common in the ears and result from either open wounds on the skin, a compromised immune system, parasitic infestations of the skin or even skin allergies. Bring your pup to the vet to test him for a skin infection. If he's diagnosed with one, wash him with medicated shampoos and medicated creams to rid your pup of that offensive odor. Your vet may also prescribe oral medications.
Some dog breeds are a little more odorous than others, having a somewhat musky smell, such as the basset hound, Labrador retriever and cocker spaniel, according to DogChannel.com. These dogs secrete more oil from their scent glands than other breeds and need to be bathed more frequently and carefully to remove this oil. Use a gentle dog shampoo designed to remove these oils and the odor that goes along with them, without drying out the skin. Wrinkled breeds that have many skin folds, like the pug, shar-pei, bulldog and Pekingese also need meticulous bathing to clean away dirt and debris from between these folds. Even after bathing, if you don't get the dirt out from between the skin folds, it will fester and attract bacteria that develop an odor. Use your fingers and cotton swabs to carefully clean out the dirt from these areas.
Other Odorous Emanations
If your pup becomes scared or excited during his bath, he may emit fluid from his anal sacs that is somewhat stinky. This fluid can get all over the fur on his backside, making him smell terrible. These sacs can also become infected, leading to an unpleasant odor that will remain after bathing. A pooch without regular dental care might have some dental disease and bacterial infections in his mouth that are odorous. Some illnesses, like kidney disease or diabetes, can also cause some unpleasant odors in your pup's mouth that could make him smell after a bath. Bring your pup to the vet for a checkup to rule out or treat any of these medical conditions and have his anal glands expressed of that smelly fluid.
Monthly bathing should be sufficient to keep your healthy pup smelling fresh without drying out his coat and fur, recommends petMD. Between baths, freshen his fur with regular brushing and wipe him down with pet bathing wipes, found in pet supply stores. If your pooch is the outdoorsy type who likes to roll in stinky items, more frequent bathing will be necessary to remove the dirt and odors that buildup on his coat. For very stinky coats, you probably need to bathe your pup two or more times to remove residual odors that could remain after a bath, according to WebMD. Remember to get that soap between his toes, on his back end and massaged deeply into his coat to really remove deep-set smells.
Wet Dog Odor
If your pup has been properly bathed with a pleasantly scented shampoo and has received a clean bill of health from your vet, he shouldn't have a permanent odor about him. Temporarily you might smell her wet fur that can have an unpleasant odor. Resolve this issue by gently towel-drying your pup and quickening the drying process by using a hair dryer on a low or cool setting and brushing the fur until it's dry. A sprinkle of dry dog shampoo or cornstarch can also help dry out your pup's coat to prevent smelly bacteria from flourishing in the wet fur. A few spritzes of a scented leave-in conditioner can also banish any remaining odors from the fur.
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.