why does my dog stink after a bath

Why Does My Dog Stink After A Bath? [Reasons Why & How To Prevent It]

You finally got around to giving your dog a bath since you’ve been putting it off for weeks, but now the smell is almost unbearable. But after the bath, you still notice a distinct smell, and you might be thinking to yourself, “why does my dog stink after a bath?” There might be many reasons, such as infections, disease, gas, that may be why your dog still smells.


Washing your dog shouldn’t be the only grooming your dog gets. Owners should regularly check their dogs for any health issues or injuries to make sure they are always in the best shape. Let’s find out why your dog might stink after a bath and how you can prevent it!



What Causes Strong Odors From Dogs?

Even if you bathe your dog, many other factors can cause your dog to smell. Here are a few of the most common reasons why your dog may have a strong body odor:


Ear Infections

Dogs are very prone to ear infections. In fact, this is one of the most common ailments dogs go to the vet for. A strong odor (some say it smells like cheese) can result from a bacteria or yeast infection, which causes the ear to itch.


If you notice an odor or your dog constantly itching their ear, you can try to use a vet-approved ear cleaner with a cotton swab to clean it out. If the infection looks serious, you can bring your dog to the vet for better care!


Skin Infections

Skin infections are another common reason for odor. There are many ways a dog’s skin can become infected – allergies, hormonal changes, fungal infections, parasites, inflammation, wounds, etc. If your dog’s skin stinks and itches even after a bath, you might need to switch to an antibiotic or special treatment shampoo to relieve the infection. You should visit the vet for more serious conditions because the skin infection might be painful or unpleasant.


Dental Disease

Bad breath might be the cause of bad odors! Bacteria can grow in your dog’s mouth if you aren’t regularly brushing their teeth. Lack of brushing can result in dental disease, tooth decay, and even infection of the heart and kidneys if left untreated.



Dogs can get gas, too. Whether it’s from unfamiliar foods, new treats, eating something that doesn’t sit well (or is rotten), medications, or even stress, it’s common for dogs to develop gas once in a while. A quick solution is changing their diet to a bland, familiar diet.


Anal Gland Issue

The anal glands are small sacs in the rectum that dogs use to mark their scent in the wild. Dogs naturally express these glands when defecating or scared. Sometimes if there’s a more serious issue, a foul odor will remain.


Internal Organ Disease

In worst-case scenarios, the smell can result from an internal organ disease, such as kidney failure or diabetes. Other signs of a more serious health condition are bad breath, lethargy, lack of appetite, and a general feeling of sickness. If you suspect that your dog has organ disease, contact a vet right away.


Something Smelly

It’s also possible that your dog just got into something smelly or dirty. It can be anything from unclean water, something rotting, dirt, feces – pretty much anything and everything is in the realm of what your pup can get into. You might need a second wash if the smell becomes unbearable or use dog cologne to mask the smell temporarily.



happy dog taking a bath covered in foam



Why Does My Dog Stink After a Bath?

A stinky dog might not have anything to do with its coat at all. As we mentioned above, a bad smell can result from many issues ranging from dirty water to internal organ disease.


The most common reason for a foul smell is an ear or skin infection. Typically, all your pup needs are antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, or medicated shampoo, and they’ll be better in no time. However, if you’re talking about the classic “wet dog” smell, that’s a whole different issue.


What is Wet Dog Smell?

There is a reason for that “wet dog” smell! In general, dogs aren’t the cleanest animals out there. There are often lots of microorganisms, like yeasts and bacterias, living on their skin. These microorganisms produce waste, and when dogs are immersed in water and then dried, the waste products become aerosolized with the water. So, what you’re smelling is essentially microorganism waste that is evaporating into the air! The stink isn’t harmful, but if it gets too strong, it probably means that it’s time to give your dog a bath.


Be aware that some breeds are more prone to this wet dog smell. Some retriever and hound breeds secrete more sebum oil, which helps keep their coat dry when they get wet. However, sebum oil combined with bacteria and water can produce a stronger wet dog smell when compared to other breeds.



Can I Use Special Shampoos for a Stinky Dog?

Yes, there are special shampoos that can keep your dog smelling great and get rid of odors! Some are also designed to help with the inflammation and irritation that can come from a skin infection.


One of these special shampoos is HolistaPet’s CBD shampoo. Our CBD shampoo is made with all-natural ingredients and a soy-based protein conditioner, so you won’t need to worry about harmful chemicals and ingredients.


It’s also formulated to clean and moisturize your dog’s coat. The special formula is great for all skin and coat types for all dog breeds! Not only that, the CBD can help calm your dog during bath time and can help reduce some discomfort from nagging infections.



How Do You Make a Dog Smell Better After Bathing Them?

So, now that your dog is clean and smells like roses, how do you maintain this level of cleanliness and prevent future odor? Here are some tips!


Bathe Regularly

Regularly washing your dog should be obvious, but remember to keep a schedule to stay consistent. It also depends on their breed and coat type (long-haired and oily coats need to be bathed more often). Generally, all dogs need a bath at least once every couple of months. However, overwashing your dog can dry out their skin, which might lead to more skin and odor problems.


Make sure to use a dog-specific shampoo (like the one we sell here!) and rinse out all the suds afterward. Human shampoo has a different pH balance, which can damage or dry out your dog’s skin. For day-to-day upkeep, you can even try a dry shampoo or even some baby powder to absorb excess oil from your dog’s skin.


Groom Often

Comb or brush your dog frequently. Grooming removes excess hair, debris, and dirt and is a good way to upkeep their coat. It’s a good idea to use a brush designed for dog fur because it will effectively remove the dead undercoat as well.


While you’re at it, you might as well trim their nails, so nothing dirty gets trapped underneath them. Also, wipe off any excrement or urine (keep that whole area clean) and remove any discharge from their eyes and ears.


Dry Their Fur

Make sure your dog’s fur and skin are dried thoroughly after bathing or whenever they get wet. Wet fur (and hot spots!)and skin can lead to more bacteria growth and infections. Therefore, use a large towel or two to dry them off after a bath. You can even use a blow dryer on a low setting to ensure their fur and skin are completely dry.


Healthy Diet

Believe it or not, a healthy diet may be the key to keeping your dog’s smell at bay! A healthy body will naturally fight diseases and infections better, thus reducing the chance of your dog smelling bad. Make sure your pup is getting plenty of protein, nutrients, and probiotics. Also, if your dog has specific food allergies, stay away from those.


Related: How to Bathe a Dog: A Step-By-Step Guide for Responsible Owners



dalmation startled by rubber ducky



Final Thoughts – Why Does My Dog Stink After a Bath?

If you take proper care of your dog, they will be much less stinky. Dogs can stink even after a bath, typically resulting from an infection, bacteria, gas, or a disease. However, many of these issues can be solved with regular vet visits, consistent bathing and grooming, and a healthy diet!

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