Why Does My Dog... Smell When He’s Wet?

Wet Dog
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If you’ve ever been in a car with a wet dog, you’ve probably been tempted to drive with your head out the window.

When your dog isn’t bathed or groomed on a regular basis, his hair can collect all kinds of dirt, including morsels of dried food stuck to the hair around his muzzle and a bit of poo stuck under his tail for good measure. Add water to the mix, and all of those scents come to life.

That’s why it is a good idea to give your dog a periodic bath with a vet-approved pet shampoo. (It wouldn’t hurt to wash his collar and bedding, too.) Dogs with longer coats should also be groomed on a regular basis to remove excess hair and snarls that can trap stink-inducing particles.

Is there ever a medical reason for a funky smell?

Dogs can have different skin conditions, such as parasite infestations, as well as secondary bacterial and yeast infections. These skin conditions can affect any area of the body, but when skin infections form in moist, deep skin folds, they can be particularly stinky. Some dogs may also excrete more oil from their sebaceous glands than others. While these conditions can emit a distinctive scent when dogs are dry, it can be even more pronounced when they’re wet.

If your dog has a peculiar odor when his coat is dry, take him to your vet. It could be a sign of skin or ear infections, anal sac problems, periodontal disease or digestive problems, to name a few possible conditions.

And whatever you do, avoid spraying perfumes or scents onto your dog’s coat to cover up the smell. These products can be irritating and might just make the smell worse.

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