How to Stop a Stinky Dog From Licking Himself

Don't let your stinky doggie give himself a bath.
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If Rover's been rolling on all kinds of stinky stuff again, chances are he's not exactly smelling like roses. He probably knows that too and will try to clean himself -- which you really don't want him to do, as whatever's causing the smell could also be toxic or make him sick. To prevent disaster, it might be time to intervene, even if you have to hold your breath while you do it.

Make him stinkier. Until you can give him a bath and get rid of the smell, spray him with something he will find very unpleasant to lick. Believe or not, Rover will find vinegar a lot more disgusting to lick than whatever stuff he rolled on while you were out. Talk to your vet about commercial pet deterrents, which are usually sold to spray on furniture to keep pets from chewing. Just confirm that the product is safe to spray on hair and it will not cause burning or injury. Never spray anything, including vinegar, on broken skin.

Put a T-shirt on him. He'll probably hate you for it, but it will prevent him from licking himself. A long-sleeved shirt is best if you also need to cover the front legs. For the back legs, either use the spray or put on some socks. These are good short-term solutions until you can get Doggie into the shower.

Put Rover on a leash and be prepared for a lot of resistance. If the leash is very short or if you hold it near the collar, you should be able to stop Doggie from turning his head and licking himself. He won't be happy about it, so there's likely to be a lot of pushing and pulling to prevent the licking. You can also try distracting him with a pull toy or a few snacks, especially if you only need to keep him busy for a little while until you can clean him up.

Ask your vet to lend you an E-collar, also known as "the cone of shame." Although the plastic cone is technically designed to stop dogs from licking a wound or ripping out stitches, it can come in handy to prevent stinky licking for a short period of time.

Items You Will Need

  • Taste deterrent
  • Dog T-shirt
  • Leash
  • E-collar