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How to Make Your Dog Smell Good Without a Bath

how to make your dog smell good without a bath

Bathtimes are stressful for dogs and too much bathing can strip their coats of natural oils. But if you have a stinky pup, how can you make your dog smell good without a bath?

There are several natural and commercial solutions for a bad doggy smell if a bath isn’t immediately possible. While regular baths are essential to your dog’s grooming routine, we don’t recommend doing them daily; monthly washes can suffice.

 You can, however, wash your dog in between the month if your dog looks and smells extra musty. Even though you can’t stop the doggy smell completely, it shouldn’t overwhelm you. We expound on ways to make your dog smell good without a bath so that nothing comes between snuggle time.

How to Get Rid of Dog Smells Without a Bath

Some tricks to keep your dog smelling good between baths are regular brushing, using dog cologne, and natural remedies like baking soda. Your dog’s hygiene is as important to them as it is for you, so it’s best to have a few odor solutions at your fingertips. 

Dogs are messy animals, so it doesn’t come as a surprise when they start smelling unpleasant. Your dog may not be able to evade the tub after rolling in the mud or decaying matter. However, their usual scent from sebum on the coat and dander can be too much to smell, which we want to minimize. 

Playtime is fun and physically and mentally healthy for your dog.  It can also cause your pooch to bring all sorts of smells home, and your dog doesn’t have to be muddy to stink. In this light, we’ve covered 7 tips to get rid of dog stench before you can hop your dog into the shower next.  None of these tips are substitutes for a full bath. They are more like convenient supplements for your dog’s bathing. 

Brush your dog’s coat regularly

Dirt and debris accumulate in your dog’s coat, causing it to smell over time. The shed hair and dander, major allergens, also contribute to a musty smell if you don’t groom the coat. Consistent brushing prevents shed hair from tangling up, preventing knots and matting, which are hectic to remove. 

Brushing your dog’s coat won’t eliminate bad smells on the spot. It does help keep the coat clean between baths, reducing the stinky smell. You’ll also benefit from regular brushing if your dog sheds a lot because the brush traps a lot of the hair, which would fly around the house.

 Dogs of all fur lengths require consistent brushing, even though our long-haired buddies need more intensive grooming. Brushing 2 to 3 times with a pin brush a week will suffice to help distribute natural oils on the coat and detangle the hair. 

Commercial odor eliminators like dog cologne, dog wipes, and dry shampoo

Thanks to modern-day conveniences, you can transform a smelly dog almost instantly. Quality dog colognes are specially formulated for dogs, so the ingredients are pet-safe and gentle on the skin. Dog dry shampoo and wipes refresh your dog without the hustle of a full bath when time isn’t on your side. 

Dog deodorizers and perfumes shouldn’t contain harsh products like alcohol which can harm your dog’s skin. Our dog perfume is nature-based with water and plant-based ingredients, making it a safe deodorizer.  You can effectively mask your dog’s unpleasant scent with this product when you need a quick fix to odor. 

Keep your dog’s bedding clean

Your dog can transfer odors from the body to their sleeping area.  In turn, the stink from the beddings rubs on your dog’s fur, causing it to stink. The oils, dander, hair, and dirt that slowly accumulate on the bed can cause odors to even dogs with the best hygiene regimens.

Some canine parents are guilty of neglecting their dogs’ beds, and we don’t blame them; it’s easy to miss. If it’s been a while before your dog’s beddings saw the washing machine, consider cleaning the washable beddings. It will make your dog’s sleep all the sweeter and keep them cleaner. 

 Keep up with consistent teeth brushing

Oral hygiene plays an integral part in your dog’s overall well-being. If you can catch a whiff of the infamous doggy breath, your canine’s dental health may be lacking. Taking time to brush your dog’s teeth at least twice a week dramatically reduces their chances of developing dental diseases and to use a healthy doggy mouthwash.  

Canine periodontitis due to plaque and tartar accumulation is a pervasive dental condition among dogs. Periodontitis causes bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums, tooth loss, and painful chewing in affected dogs. The bleeding resulting from the disease can cause a metallic smell in dogs

 Addressing dental issues can help your dog smell better if they cause the stench. Oral diseases can escalate into severe forms that affect body organs like the heart, so you must pay close attention. If your dog’s halitosis gets unbearable, it’s time for that vet visit who will clean and treat the teeth. 

Clean the ears

Ears can cause a smelly disaster when dirty or infected. Further investigation on the source of your dog’s odor can lead you straight to the ears, in which case you need to clean them more. Ear cleaning solutions are more effective at eradicating yeasty smells in the ears because water can do more harm than good. 

Ear odors can result from dirt accumulation, bacterial or fungal infections, and allergies. All you need is some cotton wool and an ear cleaning solution, and you’re ready to fight the musty smell. You’ll need veterinary intervention for the proper medication if your dog experiences recurrent ear infections. 

It’s best to cover your dog’s ears during baths. Failing to do so allows water into the ears, which could be why your dogs go crazy after a bath. Also, dry the ears thoroughly after baths because damp areas are breeding grounds for yeast and bacteria, which cause more stench. 

Natural baking soda odor eliminator

Products like baking soda are effective natural deodorizers that you probably have in your kitchen right now. Baking soda eliminates odor by bringing basic and acidic molecules to a more neutral, stench-free state. The ingredient can absorb heavy odors on your dog, their bedding, and around the house.

If your dog tolerates it, rub some baking soda on your dog’s coat, wait a few minutes, then brush the excess powder off. You can sprinkle some baking powder on your dog’s chill spots in the house while you’re at it in case your dog’s odor has spread out to the rest of the house. 

Apple cider vinegar is another natural remedy for dog odor, but it will get your dog wet. To use this treatment, mix equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar, spray on your dog’s coat, then dry. Apple cider vinegar and baking soda are great alternatives for shampoo as they’re both anti-odors. But be careful not to disturb the natural PH of your dog’s skin as this can lead to infection.

Consider taking a trip to the vet if the smell persists no matter what you do

Your dog may stay smelly no matter what you do. You have stuck to your groomer’s instructions, religiously brushed their teeth and coat, and bathed them but to no success.  Non-ending dog smell can be a sign of an undiscovered medical issue that’s best to address before it advances to the next stage. 

Skin conditions cause a yeasty smell that resists all your cleaning efforts. Dogs with many folds, such as the Shar Pei and French bulldogs, are prime candidates for skin infections. The folds can trap excess moisture and bacteria, leading to skin infections. Allergies to foods or environmental allergens can cause skin infections as well. 

Your pup’s diet plays a massive role in a good-smelling dog. Canine flatulence is a fancy way of saying doggy farts, and they can result from indigestion due to an improper diet. If your dog is gassy, they will definitely make the room quite uncomfortable when they have to release one. 

Get your pup checked out by the vet if your cleaning efforts prove futile. If, along with the smelliness, you notice appetite changes, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea in your dog, chances are it is a medical issue. The odor should subside once your dog receives treatment and gets better. 

Final Thoughts

Dogs require baths at least every 4 to 6 weeks as a good hygienic practice. Sometimes, you may want to take a break from the shampoo or don’t have the time for a full bath and drying your dog. Regular grooming habits such as brushing your dog’s teeth and coat don’t eliminate smells immediately. However, they promote a good smell in the long term.

Commercial and home remedies for bad dog smell eliminate bad smells almost instantly.  These include dry dog shampoos, dog colognes, baking powder, and apple cider vinegar. If the lousy smell lingers even after taking all necessary precautions, consult your vet because the odor may be medically related.


Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.

Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

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