Dogs are the sweetest — but they don’t always smell that way! Even the cleanest dogs can sometimes smell a little, well… doggy occasionally, even right after a bath. Humans have a long history of using oils and perfumes to smell good, so it makes sense that our dogs might also benefit from a scented spritz of dog perfume. 

But as dogs have a far more sensitive sense of smell than we do, it pays to take care when choosing a doggie perfume. To help, we’ve outlined the best perfumes for dogs, plus how they work. We’ve also included expert advice on how and when to use them on your pup safely. 

What is Dog Perfume?

Dog perfumes are scented sprays designed to help your dog smell a little fresher between baths. Depending on your chosen brand, the effect may last anywhere from a few hours to a couple days. 

“Owners tend to turn to these products when their dog smells strongly,” said Linda Simon, Veterinary surgeon at Pooch & Mutt. “Some perfumes also contain added ingredients that improve your dog’s fur and skin condition,” she adds. 

Dog perfume sprays are to be used in conjunction with your dog’s regular bathing routine, not instead. So, while a doggy perfume might help mask that wet dog smell in the car after swimming, you’ll still want to bathe your dog to clean their coat. 

While using a spritz of your perfume instead of one specifically designed for dogs may be tempting, that’s not a good idea. “Human perfumes can be toxic to dogs, and should never be used,” explains Simon. 

Dog perfumes differ from deodorizers, which contain ingredients like baking soda designed to neutralize, rather than mask, doggy odors. Some deodorizers also contain a subtle fragrance as well. 

Perfumes might only be suitable for some dogs, and if you plan to use one on your puppy, check that it is for younger dogs. You might want to skip the perfume if your dog has allergies or sensitive skin. “We do know for sure that many people have extreme sensitivities and even allergies to perfumes,” said Patrick Flynn, Fear Free Certified Dog Groomer and founder of Patrick’s Pet Care. “For some humans, perfume triggers asthma, for others, it triggers a rash. The same potential is true for dogs,” he adds. 

woman sprays perfumes on dog

Perfume for Dogs: Types to Consider 

There are a few different types of dog perfumes on the market today, so we’ve broken these down for you:

  • Perfumes: Contain essential oils or other perfumes designed to mask bad smells. 
  • Grooming sprays: These contain nourishing or detangling ingredients and fragrances from essential oils or other extracts.  
  • Cologne: These contain a lower concentration of fragrance than perfume sprays, and the scent often only lasts for a short time. 
  • Deodorizers: Besides fragrances, these formulations contain deodorizing ingredients like baking soda.
  • DIY dog perfume: Made using a blend of ingredients like water and essential oils, owners need to take care if creating DIY perfumes as not all ingredients are safe for dogs. 

Best Dog Perfume Picks for Pawsome-Smelling Pups

When rounding up the best perfume spray for dogs, we used our own experiences as pet parents to three energetic dogs — that all love swimming, rolling in unidentified poop, and getting a little stinky! 

We also considered each perfume’s ingredients, focusing on high-quality formulations free from sulfates or parabens. We also looked into customer reviews and only selected dog fragrance sprays with high average ratings. 

Our List

6 Best Dog Perfumes of 2024 

Overall Best Dog Perfume

Our Pick: Pawfume Premium Grooming and Deodorizing Spray

Some dog perfumes can be too intense for our furry friends, but this lightly scented formulation won’t irritate your dog — but it will help them smell a lot better! The lavender essential oil also has a calming effect. This spray is specifically designed to deodorize bad smells and offer moisturizing and detangling properties. 

Highlights

  • Veterinarian Certified 
  • Premium ingredients 
  • Available in a range of scents 
  • Hypoallergenic 

Things to Consider 

  • Can leave a sticky feeling on your dog’s coat 

Best Dog Cologne

Our Pick: Bodhi Dog Natural Pet Cologne

Made with natural ingredients, this dog cologne spray makes your dog smell great and nourishes and detangles their coat. Available in various scents, from pumpkin spice to sugar cookies or lilac. The all-natural ingredients make this a great choice as a way to freshen up your dog between baths.  

Highlights

  • Made in the USA
  • Choose from 11 scents
  • Veterinarian and groomer recommended 
  • Bestseller 

Things to Consider 

  • Very strong scent — use sparingly! 

Best Puppy Perfume

Our Pick: Pet Head Mucky Pup Deodorizer Spray 

dog shampoo

You might want to freshen up your pup in between baths, but you still need to look after their sensitive skin. This puppy cologne is designed with a gentle, pH-balanced formula that’s safe for puppies. In addition to an exclusive Prickly Pear scent, this spray contains nourishing rosehip oil and soothing chamomile extract.

Highlights

  • Contains natural oils and extracts 
  • pH balanced 
  • Made in the USA 
  • Gentle formula 

Things to Consider 

  • Very subtle scent 
  • Spray trigger can be hard to use 

Best Smelling Dog Perfume

Our Pick: Dr. Sniff Freshening Spray with Pineapple, Papaya & Bergamot 

These freshening sprays are available in various scents, from freshening pineapple to calming lavender or refreshing citrus. The alcohol-free formulation is designed to be gentle on your dog’s skin. The high-quality ingredients include organic agave, organic aloe vera, and argan oil. 

Highlights

  • Contains organic ingredients 
  • Made in the USA 
  • Available in different scents 

Things to Consider 

  • Small bottle 

Best Luxury Dog Perfume

Our Pick: AlwaysYourFriend Infinity Dog Perfume 

best dog perfumes of the year

If you’re looking for a luxurious dog perfume, you can’t surpass the six scents from AlwaysYourFriend. These long-lasting formulations contain essential oils and natural fragrances but are free from mineral oils, parabens, sulfates, and harsh detergents. Take your pick if you’d like your dog to smell like primrose flowers or cookies! 

Highlights

  • Choose from a range of scents 
  • Contains natural extracts 
  • Vegan formulation 
  • Long-lasting scent 

Things to consider 

  • Very expensive 

Best All-Natural Dog Perfume

Our Pick: Burt’s Bees for Dogs Deodorizing Spray with Conditioner 

With a formulation that contains 98.2% natural ingredients, this conditioning spray helps freshen up your dog’s coat while also conditioning their skin and coat. This spray contains no colorants or sulfates and is also pH balanced, so it doesn’t irritate your dog’s skin.

Highlights

  • Cruelty-free formulation 
  • pH balanced 
  • Sulfate-free
  • Fresh papaya and awapuhi scent 

Things to consider 

  • The scent is quite faint

Dog Perfume Buyer’s Guide

There’s an overwhelming choice of pet perfume out there, so choosing the best option for your pup can be hard. Here’s what to look for:

  • Ingredients: Look for natural ingredients without sulfates and parabens. “If the ingredients are not simple and easy to understand — ask yourself if you really want to spray it on your dog,” said Flynn. 
  • Scent: A dog’s nose is far more powerful than our own, so bear that in mind when selecting a scent. Certain scents, including things like citrus, peppermint, and cinnamon, are less appealing to dogs. It’s probably safest to avoid these scents, as even if you like the smell, your dog might not! 

Certification: “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dog food but has not yet begun evaluating dog perfume,” said Flynn. But you can look for products that veterinarians or groomers recommend.

man with spray cologne for dog

Dog Perfume and Dog Cologne FAQs

Can you put perfume on dogs?

Yes! But remember, they should never be used for long-term use instead of regular baths or for masking smells. “While every dog has a bit of a ‘doggy aroma’, a bad smell could be a sign of a medical issue such as a yeast infection,” said Simon. So, if your dog becomes noticeably smellier, a veterinarian check should always be your first port of call, rather than covering up the smell with doggie cologne.

When should I use a doggy perfume?

Dog perfumes are great for a quick refresh, but don’t get into the habit of relying on them instead of bathing your dog. 

Is perfume bad for dogs?

Most dogs don’t seem to mind wearing perfume, but always look for signs that your dog might not tolerate a new smell. These include restlessness, rolling around, or any behavioral changes that appear after you’ve applied the perfume.

How can I tell if my dog has a fragrance sensitivity or allergy?

When using a doggy perfume for the first time, do a patch test by spraying a very small amount of the perfume on your dog’s back. Watch for signs of irritation before continuing use. 

Look out for the following signs that might indicate your dog is allergic or sensitive to some of the ingredients:

* Sneezing 
* Patches of red or irritated skin
* Runny nose or eyes 
* Swelling 
* Excessive panting 
* Itchiness 
* Licking or scratching specific areas 

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s always best to ask your veterinarian for advice. 

Are dog perfumes safe?

Dog perfumes are formulated with safe ingredients, usually at a lower concentration than human products. 

Tips For Using Dog Perfume

Ready to get your dog smelling as fresh as a daisy? 

Simon recommends “spritzing a little doggy perfume on your pooch after they’ve been bathed or before an event such as a dog show.’ But take care when applying! “Perfumes should never be sprayed near the face, said Simon. “This includes the ears, as getting moisture in the canals can lead to an infection. ”Either avoid your dog’s face entirely or spray a little perfume on your hand and stroke it down their face instead. 

What about homemade sprays? Simon suggests steering clear of any DIY products “as many essential oils and chemicals are toxic to our furry friends.” 

Lastly, don’t get into the habit of relying on perfumes to mask your dog’s natural smell. “If your dog is just in between baths, that’s one thing, but proper hygiene is very important for dogs, including bathing and all the cleaning that goes with a bath that removes odors rather than covering them up,” says Flynn.