Why Do Wet Dogs Stink?

Super Smiley, blog dog here. I’m a dog, and we dogs think we smell pretty good! But it’s true, when dogs get wet, we are kind of pungent and some of us more than others.

So, I’ll put on my Super Science thinking cap for a lesson in why wet dogs stink.

There are substances on a dog’s skin – oils, bacteria, organic acids and tiny microorganisms like yeast – that live there in perfect balance like they are supposed to. When they get wet, however, they become more volatile and “dissolve” into the water that’s on our wet skin and in our wet coat. As this water dries, it is really evaporating, and this evaporating “vapor” picks up the now volatile oil, yeast, organic acids and bacteria that’s usually “stuck” close to our skin. As this volatile mix of oil, yeast and bacteria rises into the air as the evaporating water it’s floating in wafts about, it stinks. So see, it’s really not even us that stinks, it’s all that other stuff evaporating into the air!

Wow, Super Smiley! You just gave us the simplest mutt version of a physics lesson ever! Good Boy!

Megan here now with some ideas on what to do with the “wet dog stink.”

  1. Dry them thoroughly! This will stop the volatile “cocktail” from floating to your nose. First, towel dry them as completely as you can, and then, blow-dry them. However, some dogs are terrified of blow dryers. So, if you must blow-dry them, there are some quiet blow dryers on the market for the more sensitive dogs.
  2. Try to keep him from rolling while he’s still wet. A wet coat may pick up smells more easily as he rolls.
  3. Bathe your dog every few weeks, and always rinse off all of the shampoo. If he’s bathed too often, or if shampoo residue is left on his skin, this could lead to skin dryness and other problems.
  4. Wash his bedding regularly, and clean his living environment by spritzing it with a mixture of 2 parts water to one part vinegar. Carpets and upholstery can be deodorized by sprinkling baking soda and then vacuuming it up.
  5. Just know that some dog breeds like the hounds have more skin oils than other dogs, and will be prone to “stink” more.   Now that you know why wet dogs stink, hopefully these tips will help even the most pungent among us.

The bottom line is: We love them, and a little dog smell never hurt anybody.

Until Next Time,
Woof and Super Smiles from
Super Smiley and Megan Blake, The Pet Lifestyle Coach®

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