Wet dog smell: why it stinks and how to get the smell out of the house

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Have you ever wondered why a wet dog smells bad? Below, we explain why wet dogs smell and how to get rid of the odor in your home.

Wet Dog Smell: The Basics

  • Moisture activates microbes that cause bad odors
  • Wrinkles on the skin cause bad smell
  • Drying your dog quickly after bathing or when he gets better can help.
  • Natural enzyme-based products are magic
  • Wipes to clean the dog are very useful in case of need
  • Linen bedding is effective at eliminating odors
  • Baking soda is your friend
  • Consult your veterinarian if the odor persists or becomes too strong.

Why the wet dog smell?

On the skin of all animals, including us humans, there are microbes in the form of yeast and bacteria.

These microorganisms produce chemicals that go unnoticed when the dog is dry.

But with water, these substances are released into the dog’s skin and hair, causing the well-known wet dog odor.

Wet dog odor can change based on several factors, including:

  • amount of saliva
  • outdoor time
  • Where the dog likes to roll
  • How often does he shower
  • if you have wrinkles
  • allergies and fungus

Sometimes nutrition and breed can affect a dog’s odor. The body chemistry and nutritional needs of dogs are very different from those of humans.

Wrinkles, oily skin and other related factors

The two strongest-smelling breeds are the Basset Hound and the Shar Pei . The Basset Hound has a typical “hound” smell, due in part to the sebum (a lubricating substance released by glands in the epidermis) that makes its skin somewhat oily.

Bacteria feed on sebum, so these breeds can carry more odor-causing microbes to the skin. A good shower every two weeks can keep these microorganisms in check.

The Shar Pei, in addition to producing a large amount of sebum, has very wrinkled skin, often with a tendency to dermatitis.

When brushing your dog’s coat, it’s important to clean the skin folds well, especially for dogs with a wrinkled face, such as Bulldogs , Pugs and Pekingese.

Wet wipes for cleaning dogs are very effective in this case and can help prevent skin diseases and bad odor.

Saliva, one more factor

A constantly wet mouth full of saliva can cause the typical “dog smell”.

Saliva makes dogs smell stronger because microbes prefer humid environments.

Giant dog breeds like English Mastiff, Labrador, Neapolitan Mastiff and San Bernardo, or hunting dogs like Coonhound and Basset Hound are known for their excessive salivation and a generally always “wet” mouth.

Rolling in the puddles, what a beauty!

If your dog can’t help but roll in puddles, keeping him dry can be tricky. The skin of dogs that enjoy swimming in rivers and streams can smell like fish or decaying plants.

Keep an eye on your dog.

Rolling around in a dead fish on a riverbank (or anything else that’s decaying) can be the best time of day for him and the worst time of day for you.

The smell of decaying carcasses is difficult to eliminate and you will certainly need to use special products, such as those for skunk odor.

Neutralizing wet dog smell: the first steps

It all depends on how quickly you dry your dog’s coat.

If your dog rolls in a puddle before entering the house or loves to cool his paws in the water in the summer, dry him well with a towel and then give him a treat.

To prevent the smell of a wet dog from staying in the house, you can buy a towel or a special dog blower.

Eliminate wet dog odor in the house

Even if you dry your dog carefully after a walk in the rain or after giving him a bath, he will continue to rub himself on the bed, sofa and rug to continue to dry himself, thus transferring the wet dog odor to the whole room. House.


Bathing your pet regularly is an effective way to get rid of its bad odor.

Do not wash your pet more than once every two weeks, and if you have a large breed dog with a double coat, a bath once a month or every other month is sufficient.

Also be sure to wash the collar. A nylon collar can be machine washed, but a leather collar will require a specific product.

There are also odor neutralizers for dogs.

Most of them are used when dogs go home by mistake, but they are also effective in eliminating dog odor.

Be sure to use pet-friendly products, as some room fragrances or essential oils can be harmful to pets.

If the dog sleeps with you, you can buy quality linen bedding to eliminate the dog smell in your bedroom. Linen is resistant and does not retain odors, and it is also very soft.

Clean your dog’s bed and items

For the kennel, blankets, pillows and other items that absorb wet dog odor, such as fabric or nylon collars, use an odor-eliminating detergent or an active oxygen detergent.

Also, you can add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the washing machine along with the detergent.

Tip: Make sure the products you use don’t just mask odors, and look for detergents that completely eliminate bad odors, like products with enzymes or baking soda.

Get rid of wet car smell

If you travel by car to take your dog for a swim, your vehicle may start to smell like wet dog.

Always carry towels with you to dry your furry friend before letting him into the car.

If your dog usually sits in the back seat, cover him with a sheet – it’s much easier to wash than car upholstery.

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