How to Stop a Dog From Stinking

There's nothing like a lot of water and shampoo to put an end to nasty smells.
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Dogs might be man's best friend, but they can also quickly turn into man's stinky friend. From those big ears that invite dirt inside to that horribly smelly mouth, your pup has plenty of ways to keep freshness at bay. A few timely cleanings will put an end to your little guy's stench.

Step 1

Bathe your pup regularly. Dousing your pup with water and lathering him in shampoo is similar to using a nitrous boost in car racing: it's the fastest way to get results, but it's not something you can opt for every time you're in a pinch. While bathing frequency largely depends on what type of breed is running through your house, go by the general rule of every one to two months. Obviously, if your pup rolls in something terribly smelly, you'll have to forgo this rule and just toss his butt in the bath, but most breeds won't have a problem with monthly or bimonthly baths.

Step 2

Take a brush to your pup every day or every other day. In addition to removing dead hair, mats and dander, brushing also scoops out all the nasty dirt your pup's coat has been accumulating. While this won't have a huge effect on an indoor dog's smell, it can make your canine much fresher smelling if he spends a lot of his time outdoors.

Step 3

Watch for your dog to lick himself. Licking his groin is common enough, but your pup shouldn't frequently wet his paws, his stomach or any other part of his body. Constant licking can cause a putrid stench to emanate from the wet area, worse than your typical wet-dog smell. Licking points to an underlying problem, such as allergies, an injury or skin condition, so have a chat with your vet if you notice any unusual licking going on.

Step 4

Clean your pup's ears every week or every two weeks. You might not think about it, but those ears your pup sports hold a ton of gunk and wax that can lead to a smelly dog if they're not cleaned regularly. Always use a dog-approved ear cleaning solution, found at most pet stores, and a cotton ball to clean the inside of his messy ears. Dogs with big, open ears may need more frequent ear cleaning. Just have a look inside, and if you see a buildup of wax or dirt, bring in the cleaning tools.

Step 5

Wash your dog's bedding. Washing your pup regularly will make for a fresh-smelling canine, but it's all for naught if he lays down in his bed that he's soiled with weeks and months of bad smells. Read the washing instructions, as different types of beds require different care. Always opt for a mild detergent in favor of harsher detergents.

Step 6

Whip out a doggy toothbrush and put a stop to your pup's bad-smelling breath. Brushing your dog's teeth helps ward off mouth problems down the road, such as periodontal disease, and it keeps you from having to pull your head back in disgust every time your little guy wants to lick your face. Always use a toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for canines.

Step 7

Clean up your yard. While you can't prevent your pup from becoming a muddy disaster during a rainstorm, you can put the kibosh on his tendency to roll in his feces and dead animals. Clean up his waste every day, and check for critters that have died in your yard.


  • Never use cotton swabs to clean your dog's ears, and never clean deep into the ear canal. Clean only what you can see.


  • If you notice your pup start to smell soon after getting a bath and without a particular reason, check with your vet. Some skin conditions can cause your pup to stink.

  • Some dogs are allergic to certain types of shampoo. If you find your pup breaks out into a rash or seems itchy after his bath, choose a hypoallergenic shampoo.

  • If your pup's breath reeks rather than just smelling a bit unflattering, talk with your vet. There may be something else at play than just a case of stinky breath.