Why Does My Dog Stink Even After a Bath? Dog Odour 101

Photo of author


Author: Jacob Kay

Dogs are wonderful companions that bring joy and love to our lives. They are loyal, playful, and cuddly. They are also very good at making us laugh with their silly antics and expressions. However, sometimes they can also make us gag with their unpleasant smell.

why does a dog stink even after a bath?

Have you ever hugged your dog 🐶 after a bath and wondered why he still smells 👃 like a wet sock? Have you ever wondered what causes that stinky smell that makes you want to hold your nose? If you have, you are not alone.

Many dog owners face this problem and are frustrated by the persistent odour that lingers on their furry friends. They are always curious to know — ‘Why does my dog stink even after a bath?’ Let us explore some of the common causes of dog odour and how to prevent it.

Why Does My Dog Stink Even After a Bath?

Dogs, being domesticated have their natural smell and no matter how hard you try, you can’t get rid of that. If you want your dog to be completely odour-free then you are not comfortable with dogs 🐕 as this is impossible.

However, the stink should not be overwhelming and strong enough that your whole house 🏡 smells like your dog. Even after bathing 🛁 your dog if he stinks then he might be having problems or an infection related to any of these parts of the body.

Tooth or Gum Disease

The primary sign of tooth 🦷 infection is bad breath and he may be suffering from periodontal disease. As the disease progresses, your dog may show signs of oral pain. Periodontal disease is caused by a build-up of bacteria. They excrete a kind of acid that eats away tooth enamel.[1]

Over 80% of dogs over the age of three have active dental disease.“, confirms Lorraine Hiscox and Jan Bellows at VCA Hospitals.

If you notice a bad smell coming from your dog’s mouth, you should ask your veterinarian 👩‍⚕️ for possible reasons behind it. Under normal circumstances, your dog’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by a veterinarian.

Ear Infections

If you notice your canine irresistibly scratching his ears 👂 and rubbing them against the floor then probably he might be having an ear infection. Ear infections cause inflammation of the inner ear, leading to the production of pungent odours.

dog scratching

Cleaning the ears with water during baths may increase the risk of infection as it offers moisture for the microbes to multiply themselves.[2] Use an ear-cleaning solution to clean your dog’s ears when you notice a mild smell. If the smell still persists, it’s time for a vet 👩‍⚕️ visit.

Skin Problems

After giving a nice bath 🛁 to your dog, you reach out to smell the fresh fragrance but get a stinky fishy smell. Moreover, the coat does not seem shiny and healthy like that a few weeks ago. This can be a sign of some underlying skin infection.

Most of all skin infections are caused by yeast. This happens when your canine’s skin is dried off which creates an imbalance in proportions. It can also caused by allergens or even if their skin is washed off too frequently.

Even after bathing, if you notice rough fur and a fishy smell from it, you may ask your vet to diagnose any possible skin allergy or infection before giving it space to spread all over the body.

While regular baths help reduce odor, bathing too often can cause skin issues. So many dog owners wonder how often should you bathe a dog?

Anal Sac Problems

You must have observed dogs sniffing each other at the bottom. Well, dogs have two anal sacs below their back that secrete a pungent smell and this odour marks a dog out from others. However, if there is any problem related to the anal sacs then your dog will have a fishy smell.

dog sniffing itself

The anal glands create the odour even when they are healthy, but we may not smell it. When your dog poops 💩, they naturally express their anal sacs, by emptying them. Changes in stool consistency or gastrointestinal problems may interfere with the normal process of expressing the anal sacs, which can cause your dog’s anal glands to be impacted.

You may need to watch out for problems relating anal sacs by checking your dog’s stool. If the impacted anal glands are not cured on time then the infection can spread to the intestines and stomach.

If your dog resists bath time, see our tips on how to bath a dog that hates water?

Simple Steps to Stop the Smell

The best way to prevent dog odour is to keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy and clean. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Brush your dog regularly. Brushing your dog helps remove dirt, dead skin cells, loose hair, and dander from their coat. Brushing also stimulates blood circulation 🩸 and distributes natural oils that keep the skin and coat moisturized and shiny.
  • Use mild shampoos. When bathing your dog, use a mild shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs. Avoid using human shampoos 🧴 or harsh chemicals that can dry out or irritate the skin and coat. Rinse thoroughly and dry your dog well after bathing.
  • Clean the ears and teeth. The ears and teeth are common sources of dog odour. Clean your dog’s ears 👂 with a gentle ear cleaner and cotton balls once a week or as recommended by your vet. Brush your dog’s teeth 🦷 with a soft toothbrush and dog toothpaste at least twice a week or as recommended by your vet.
  • Feed a balanced diet. The diet that you feed your dog can have a big impact on their smell. Feed your dog a high-quality diet 🍽️ that meets their nutritional needs and avoids any ingredients that they are allergic or sensitive to. Also, avoid human food that can possibly cause digestive problems or bad breath.

After bathing your dog, be sure to thoroughly dry them with a high-quality dog drying towel. Some of the best dog drying towel UK are designed with extra absorbent microfiber to quickly soak up moisture

When to See a Vet for a Dog That Stinks?

Even after following the basic routine to prevent the dog odour if the dog stinks then you might consult a veterinarian 👩‍⚕️ to find out the underlying cause and treat it as soon as possible. This would not only stop the infection from spreading further but also relieve the dog from pain and allergens caused by the infections.

when to see a vet for a dog that stinks

You may need to ask a vet if you notice signs of:

  • Excessive scratching, licking or chewing
  • Redness or inflammation of the skin
  • Hair loss or bald patches
  • Discharge or bleeding from the ears or mouth
  • Changes in appetite or behaviour

Having one of the best dog drying bag to thoroughly dry your dog after baths can also help reduce odor. It is always a good option to see a vet if the odour persists even after so many home trials to prevent the smell.

Tip: Gently lift and wrap your dog in a towel when bathing or drying them. Learn how to lift a dog with a towel to avoid straining their back.


Why does my dog smell even after washing?

External irritants, allergens, burns, or bacterial/viral/parasitic/fungal infections can all be present. If your dog still smells after a bath, is excessively scratching or licking, has a lot of scaling, or is rubbing his/herself on the carpet, take them to a vet as soon as possible.

How do I get my dog to stop stinking?

You should bathe your dog regularly, brush your dog 2-5 times a week and pat your dog’s fur with baking soda or cornstarch for a quick dry bath. Also, you should feed your dog high-quality dog food and wash your dog’s bedding regularly.

What can I feed my dog to smell better?

Diet is one factor that affects your dog’s smell. So if you want to naturally improve your dog’s smell, avoid feeding them low-quality food. Instead, add more raw meat and dog-friendly fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet. Some fresh herbs like parsley will also help to neutralize your dog’s smell.

Can I put perfume on my dog?

After a long walk or in between grooming are good times to use perfume. However, never use human perfume! In conclusion, dog perfumes are safe to use on our pets as long as they are used sparingly and do not contain any harsh chemicals or ingredients.

What should a healthy dog smell like?

They produce oil, an important part of healthy skin and hair, which also has its scent marker. Along with the glands in their ears, which produce a light yeasty smell, these are all normal body odours and can be kept to a pleasant minimum with regular bathing and grooming.

Why Does My Dog Stink Even After a Bath? — An Overview

Dog odour can be a nuisance for both you and your dog. It can affect your relationship with your dog, your comfort in your home, and your social life. It can also indicate a serious health problem that needs veterinary attention.

However, by following the tips and remedies, you can keep your dog smelling fresh and clean. You can also improve your dog’s overall health and well-being by keeping their coat and skin healthy and clean, checking for parasites, cleaning their ears and teeth and feeding them a balanced diet.

Remember to consult a veterinarian if your dog has any signs of a serious health problem that may cause dog odour. Your dog deserves to be healthy and happy. After all, they are not just pets, they are family! 🐾🐶

While a bath is important for reducing dog odor, some dogs get so excited afterwards that owners wonder – why do dogs go crazy after a bath? This energetic reaction is harmless in most cases.


  1. Cunha, E., Tavares, L., & Oliveira, M. (2022). Revisiting periodontal disease in dogs: How to manage this new old problem? by NIH.
  2. Tang, S. W., Prem, A., Tjokrosurjo, J., Sary, M., Van Bel, M. A., Hoffmann, A. R., Kavanagh, M. J., Wu, G., Van Eden, M. E., & Krumbeck, J. A. (2020). The canine skin and ear microbiome by ScienceDirect.
Photo of author
Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

Leave a Comment

Affiliate Disclaimer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to