You love your dog or cat, but you don’t love how he smells. Unfortunately, some level of doggie odor is usually inevitable for two main reasons. First, dogs don’t sweat like we do (with drops forming and rolling off their skin), but they do sweat from their paws and hair follicles. Each dog’s sweat smells different, though it may smell pretty much the same to us. Second, dogs produce oil (some more than others), which also contributes to the dog smell.
But there are a few medical conditions that can make a dog's natural smell seem more sinister. If you're concerned about any of these, take your pet to the vet:
Ear infections. If bacteria builds up inside your dog’s ear, it can cause a nasty smell.
Poop problems. On either side of his anus, your dog has two small sacs. According to WebMD, "Normally, when a dog poops, the fluid in his anal sacs is squeezed out, too. It’s when they aren’t completely emptied that problems develop. The fluid inside can become so dry and thick that it plugs up the openings. This is called impaction," and it usually needs to be treated by a vet.
Bad breath. Brush your dog’s teeth once a day and give him dog treats that are meant to treat bad doggie breath. If the problem persists, there may be a more serious underlying issue, like periodontal disease or gingivitis.
Leaky eyes. Your pup's eyes may be running for several reasons . Wiping and cleaning his eyes can help keep the smell at bay.
Nixing odors from your home
If your pet is healthy and you can rule out a medical reason for her foul odor, then it's time to tackle places in your home where bad smells can lurk. Whether you have a dog, cat or even a bunny, here’s where to start:
Bed linens. For bed sheets, especially if your pet sleeps with you, wash them in hot water once a week. Don’t forget your pet’s bed — run it through the washing machine once a week to keep it from retaining odors.
The couch. Take off the cushions, dust them, and if they're machine washable, run them through a hot wash cycle. You can also try baking soda: Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda into surfaces and spread around. Let it sit overnight to absorb odor and then vacuum the baking soda up the next day. You might consider a professional couch cleaning as well, but try the baking soda trick first so the shampoo just doesn’t mix with the dog smell.
Carpets. Vacuum rugs every day to suck up pet hair, which can trap foul smells, and consider steam cleaning them every few months to keep them fresh. If your dog has an accident, soak up the mess right away with paper towels and rinse it with cool clean water. Avoid using chemicals or vinegar, as strong odors may encourage your pet to mark in that area again, the Humane Society says.
Hardwood or tile floors. Sweep the floor every day and mop every couple of days. Make sure you’re wiping down the baseboards and getting into corners where dust can collect.
Finally, make sure that you’re bathing your dog enough — and doing it correctly. Follow these tips and your friends won’t even know you have a pet in the house!