Why does my dog stink after being outside?

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So we’ve all experienced being around a smelly dog and it’s not a pleasant experience. Most of the time the smell of our own dogs doesn’t faze us; either because we are used to them or because we keep them and their beds and blankets clean.

However many of us will be able to relate to a time when you return from a big walk in the fresh air only to discover your dog stinks! In this article, I’ll explore the reasons why your dog smells after exploring the great outdoors as well as how to reduce, remove and prevent the stench.

Why does my dog smell after being outside?

1. Smells stick to dogs’ hairs.

One of the main reasons your dog will smell after a walk is because of their body’s being covered in hair. Hair holds smells more than skin does so during your walk they’re gathering and holding onto a range of scents. The combination of which can be very unpleasant. 

2. Dogs have natural odours.

Naturally, dogs produce secretions with the primary function of producing a scent that other dogs will recognise and mark their territory. Whilst out and about dogs produce their scent around other dogs so the smell will be more prominent when you return home. 

3. Don’t get bathed often.

If we went through what your dog goes through during an average walk we’d probably jump straight in the shower when we get home and wash out clothes. From rolling in the grass, roaming through a bush and running through muddy puddles. 

4. Smells cling to hair and clothes, not skin.

As mentioned above, when you get in from your walk you take your coat off and if your trousers were wet then you would change those. Dogs don’t have this luxury. The scents of the great outdoors will cling to clothes and hair rather than your skin. So once you’ve removed a layer of clothing you’ve removed most, if not all, of the smell. Unless dogs have been wearing their coats they can’t do this.

5. Maybe your dog smells anyway.

From bad breath caused by dental problems to foul-smelling flatulence caused by an intolerance to an item in their diet; our adorable furry friends can produce quite the unpleasant aroma. It may be that your dog smells anyway but in contrast to the fresh air from outside these stenches are more noticeable. 

Why does my dog smell when they’re wet?

The smell of a wet dog isn’t a pleasant one but was is it that causes our furry friends to smell quite so bad when wet?

The main cause is tiny microorganisms, such as yeast and bacteria, that live beneath the fur and on their skin. These microorganisms produce waste in the form of chemical compounds. When your dog’s fur gets wet it causes these microorganisms to be displaced and the smells from them will reach you quicker.

Also, dogs naturally have oils in their coats and when this reacts with water it creates a foul-smelling odour.

Read More: Yellow Dog Poo After Chicken and Rice

How to stop dogs from smelling when outside

  • Dog coats. One of the easiest ways to toggle the post-walk smell is by investing in a dog coat that can be removed when you return home. There are so many options when it comes to dog coats- from budget to more expensive options.

    But the main thing is that the coat will act as a barrier between your dog’s fur and the smells of the great outdoors. Additionally, the cost will stop your dog from getting wet which will prevent nasty wet dog smells when the water reacts with the microorganisms in your dog’s fur.
  • Effective washes. Before you rush to wash your dog just remember that most vets will recommend that you give your dog a bath once every few weeks. Dry, itchy and flaky skin are the nasty side effects of being bathed too often.

    When you do wash your dog ensure you use high-quality dog shampoo and conditioner and rinse fur well after scrubbing. Avoid the wet dog smell by drying your dog thoroughly with a towel or a quiet dryer. 
  • Don’t take them out in the rain. This is easier said than done if you only have a short window in your day to walk your dog, but if possible try to avoid walking your dog in the rain. As explained above, the reaction of water and your dog’s natural oils will create foul odours so if you can hold out until the rain has stopped and the ground has dried out then you’ll avoid the foul wet dog smell on your return.
  • Keep their hair short. This is especially important if your dog is of a breed whose hair grows continuously. Regular trips to the dog groomers for trim will keep the post-walk smells at bay because there will be less hair for the smells to cling to.

    Additionally, regular trips to the dog groomers will mean frequent and thorough washing and drying of your dog’s fur which will further minimise any foul smells. 
  • Clean their coats/harnesses. If you have been out for a big walk on a rainy day it may be worth checking their coat and/or harness in the washing machine for a quick spin. Just like with our own outer layers, clothes and fabric harness hoarder smells and benefits from a wash to prevent the problem from escalating. 

In conclusion, as much as we love our furry friends their smells after a walk can be rather… unpleasant. Understanding that their hairs hold onto smells and that their natural oils react badly with water will help us to start to prevent the stench. From using and washing their dog coats, to deep and thorough washing and drying of their fur; these steps should help to reduce the post-walk smells and allow you to enjoy every step of a walk with your best furry friend. 

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2 thoughts on “Why does my dog stink after being outside?”

  1. Pingback: Why do Dogs Stink After Being Outside: Sniff Out the Truth – Pet Zesty

  2. Robert Jones

    I agree, but both my dogs reek after a very short time in the sun. And they are dry, not wet.

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