How to Decrease Dog Body Odor

Swimming in some bodies of water can give Shamus a smelly coat.
yellow Labrador Retriever taking bath on the beach image by Pedro Monteiro from

Some dogs have natural body odors that can become pungent, in some cases even shortly after a bath. Visit your vet to identify the cause of your dog's smell, and find out how often you can safely bathe your pet. Different breeds have different bathing needs, but most dogs should be bathed only quarterly unless a vet suggests otherwise. Following a proper bathing schedule, though, is just one possible means of eliminating some or all of your dog’s body odors. Matching the correct dog shampoo to his skin type can help with smelly problem-skin odors that might be caused by excessively oily skin. If your pet’s odor does not decrease with scheduled baths and the right shampoo, the dog might have an infection that is resistant to his normal grooming routine and needs to see your vet for advice. He may need antibiotics or a topical treatment to alleviate the symptoms and eradicate the smells.

Step 1

Brush your dog often with a dog brush or comb. This will remove grass and stickers from his fur. If grass or stickers rub against his skin, it can cause irritation and infected sores that will have an odor. Frequent brushing also removes excess oils that can smell bad.

Step 2

Bathe your dog according to a vet's schedule with the correct type of dog shampoo for his skin type. Some dogs have excessive oil in their skin. The oils can spoil, or become rancid, after remaining on their skin for several days without a bath and then emit an odor.

Yeast infections of the skin and bacterial skin diseases lead to hair loss, itching, odor and hot spots. Symptoms include red, scaly skin that is greasy. Skin thus affected requires an antibacterial or medicated shampoo to alleviate the problems. Most antibacterial shampoos include a deodorizing agent to help with the smell.

Step 3

Clean your dog’s ears once weekly with an ear cleaning solution. Dogs with flop ears that hang down do not get adequate air circulation in the ear canal. This can cause excessive earwax or moisture that is smelly.

Step 4

Examine your dog for any scratches or scrapes that become infected. Yellowish drainage near a scratch or sore that has an extremely bad odor is a sign of infection. If your dog has an infection, take him to your vet for a checkup and antibiotic treatments.

Step 5

Observe your dog’s rear end. The anal gland in the rear can harbor infection and swell. The anal gland secretes oil that dogs use to mark their territory. If the smell is coming from the rear of your pet, take him to the vet to express his anal gland and get medication for the infection.


  • A solution of 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water can help prevent frequent yeast infections of the skin on a dog while deodorizing your pet at the same time.

  • Remove your dog’s collar when giving him a bath. Wash his collar in soap and water and allow it to air dry before putting it back on. Dirt and skin oils can accumulate on the underside of the collar, harboring odors and potentially irritating his neck, causing smelly hair and possibly sores.

  • You can use deodorizing dry wipes and sprays during brushing to eliminate some odors on your dog between baths.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog brush
  • Dog shampoo
  • Ear cleaning solution
  • Vinegar



About the Author

Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.

Photo Credits

  • yellow Labrador Retriever taking bath on the beach image by Pedro Monteiro from