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    PeterDobias.com / Blog / health knowledge

    A complete guide to stinky “wet dog” problems

    By Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

    Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. His love of dogs and passion for natural healing and nutrition led him to writing, teaching and helping people create health naturally, without drugs, chemicals and processed food.

    • People often say to me, “Your dog doesn’t smell like a dog! He smells so nice!” It makes me happy, but also sad because many people clearly assume that it is normal for dogs to be smelly, stinky, yeasty, and musty and that the wet dog smell is just part of living with a dog.

      The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way and dogs can truly smell nice. Maybe you live with one!  

      Many people are embarrassed about their smelly dogs and the odour that lingers in their house or car. I certainly have experienced a few stinky cars! I also remember one very sad and distressing situation when a client came to me with a request to put her dog down because she was too smelly for a 60th birthday party they had planned.

      I did my very best to convince the owner that her dog’s problem could very easily be solved, but she insisted on euthanasia. All I could do was decline to proceed with her request, and very sadly, I later learned that she had her dog put down in another clinic.

      I am writing this article for every caring dog parent to reassure you that most dogs can smell nice and feel great without any dirty sock odour lingering around them. And while I believe most people would not put their dog down just because they smell bad, it is an annoying and stubborn issue that is easily solved in a few steps.

      Why do some dogs smell bad?
      The bad odour is usually caused by an overgrowth of Malassezia yeast and bacteria, which loves moisture. A bad odour may also be caused by bacterial overgrowth, however, these microorganisms are the result of primary underlying causes that you must address in order to help your dog.

      There are other predisposing factors that play a role:

      • Genetic predisposition and breed
      • General coat care
      • Toxin accumulation
      • Nutritional deficiencies
      • Diet
      • Hormonal diseases such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease

      Before I address the above causes, I will start a little differently today and answer the most frequently asked questions from dog parents.



      Will bathing with antibacterial and anti-fungal shampoos help? 🧴🦠


      In most cases, bathing will only give your pup temporary relief, and it can also make the condition worse. Medicated shampoos contain artificial, and potentially toxic and carcinogenic ingredients, which add a toxic burden to the body. They may also disturb the already fragile balance of skin microflora and contribute to the further growth of yeast and pathogenic bacteria.

      The good news is that most smelly dogs will improve without the use of medicated baths and shampoos.


      Is swimming the cause of smelly dogs? 🌊🏖


      If your dog tends to be smelly, swimming and water may aggravate their condition. However, under normal circumstances, a healthy dog’s coat and skin should not become smelly with swimming.


      How often should you bathe your dog? 🛁🧼


      It really depends upon how dirty your dog gets. In cities, I recommend bathing once or twice per month to wash off pollutants and chemicals from your dog’s coat. The shampoo I currently use for my dog Pax is a combination of Weleda baby soap and herbal Weleda baby shampoo with calendula. I use the soap first to wash off any dirt, rinse, and then follow up with the shampoo. It may surprise you to hear that I use human products, however, I have not seen better results from using any pet products. Pax often gets compliments on his beautiful coat.


      Does combing help? 🐕🐩


      If you have a dog with a thick undercoat, I suggest that you comb them daily to remove as much excessive hair as possible. An airy coat is less likely to smell because it retains less moisture and dries faster.

      Ideally, get your dog used to brushing when they are young. Try combing your dog if you are watching TV or hanging out with friends and family. Be patient, gentle, yet uncompromising. Your dog is not the decision-maker when it comes to brushing, their health is.


      Dog health starts from the inside out and addressing the predisposing factors I mentioned at the beginning of this article is the solution to a smelly dog.

      1. Diet 🍕🍔🌮
      2. Toxins, pollution and detox ☢️🏭🧪
      3. Essential nutrient deficiencies 🥬🦴🦃
      4. Hormonal disorders 😢

      Let’s have a look at these four factors.


      I am fully aware of the fact that some of you feed kibble-based processed food. I understand that the reasons for this choice are usually financial and convenience based, but if you want to keep your dog’s skin, coat, and body healthy, you should try to stay away from processed food.

      Diets rich in processed foods, inferior ingredients, chemical preservatives, and cheap starches, can disturb your dog’s metabolism and cause a bad odour. In medical terminology, a bad skin odour is called seborrhea, which is a sign of deeper imbalances and possible disease.

      This doesn’t mean that low-carb or grain-free kibble is much better. When you purchase a bag of kibble you have no real control over the quality or origin of the ingredients, and your dog is at a much greater risk of being exposed to chemicals and heavy metals.

      Also, kibble usually sits in a warehouse for months, or sometimes even years, before it makes its way into your dog’s bowl, which makes it rancid and harmful to your dog’s health.

      If you live with a smelly dog, I have no doubt you still love them, but you will enjoy being around them even more when they smell nice. It is my experience that dogs on a raw or cooked homemade diet are almost never smelly. If you decide to switch, you will see a quick transformation over the course of 4-6 weeks. Feeding raw food is also relatively economical considering the savings on veterinary care, and the emotional benefit of seeing your dog well and happy.

      It feels great to get compliments on how healthy your dog looks and be recognized as a caring and knowledgeable dog parent.

      Here are some important links:

      Recipe Maker

      The Recipe Maker will help you easily create an endless number of recipes.

      Raw and Cooked Diet Course – all you need to know about how to feed a natural diet to your pup.

      Toxins, Pollution, and Detoxing

      There are thousands of billions of chemical reactions taking place in the body every second! This incomprehensible number makes it clear how complex and miraculous the body is.

      Despite nature’s perfection, we humans have managed to throw a wrench into the wheel of the body’s biochemistry by introducing foreign toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and radioactive pollution.

      These substances are capable of disrupting the body’s metabolism, damaging internal organs, causing disease, and shortening lifespan. The skin is the largest organ in the body and therefore it should be no surprise that its health depends on how toxin-free the body is.

      Also, the body’s natural tendency is to detox through the skin, and we can see this in dogs and humans and their body odour.

      This is why the first step in the Smelly Dog Protocol is a detox with LiverTune, a naturally fermented herbal detox and cleanse formula.

      Essential Nutrient Deficiencies

      If you have ever done any baking, you understand that skipping an ingredient can turn a birthday cake into an inedible disaster. The body is much more complex, and any deficiency of essential nutrients such as vitaminsminerals & amino acids, and essential fatty acids (Omega-3 oil) will result in less than optimal cell and organ function as well as disease. Proper nutrition is crucial for healthy body function and for reducing unpleasant body odours.

      Intensive agriculture has undeniably disturbed the natural nutrient cycle. Food transportation over long distances and the lack of composting and returning nutrients back into the soil have led to nutrient deficiencies.

      This is a serious issue that is often at the core of the disease, and that includes unhealthy malodorous skin.

      natural nutrient cyclemodern nutrient cycle

      This is where the four essential supplements come into play to make your dog's skin and coat healthy. We call them the Fab4.

      The Fab4 are human-grade, certified organic when possible, all-natural products that are packaged in glass. Two of our products are naturally fermented, which increases their absorption, nutritional value, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.

      Here are a few more details about the Fab4:

      GreenMin is an all-natural, plant-based mineral and amino acid-rich green superfood that was formulated to replenish calcium and other important minerals, gently detox and energize your dog’s body.

      SoulFood organic multi vitamin for dogsSoulFood is a certified organic, naturally fermented multi-vitamin, which provides a full spectrum of vitamins and also supports your dog’s organs.

      FeelGood Omega is a pure, and sustainable Omega-3 (EFA) calamari oil, which is tested toxin and heavy-metal-free. Omega-3’s are important to keep your dog’s joints, nervous system, skin and coat healthy.

      GutSense is an all-natural, non-dairy pre and probiotic formulated with canine-specific strains. It supports your dog’s healthy digestion, bowel movement, and immune system function.

      If you purchase all of the Fab4 together you will receive 15% off and free standard shipping (USA & Canada only).

      Why “all-in-one” supplements aren’t the best choice

      Mixing too many supplements together negatively affects product stability as well as shelf life. For example, if live probiotics were mixed with Omega-3 oil, spirulina, minerals, and vitamins, the product would need to contain stabilizers and chemical preservatives, and even then, it would be difficult to maintain their efficacy and quality for the duration of a reasonable shelf life.

      Hormonal Disorders

      If you implement the above-mentioned steps, your dog’s condition and smelly coat should improve dramatically within three months, however there is a small possibility that you will not see the improvement you hoped for.

      If the problem persists, I strongly suggest you ask your veterinarian to test your dog for hypothyroidism and Cushing’s diseasetwo conditions that can cause a lack of response to this protocol. In rare situations, organ dysfunction or even cancer may also be at the core of the problem.

      No matter what the test results are, taking your dog through the 3-step Smelly Dog Protocol will help restore your dog’s vitality and health.

      Summary - 3 step Smelly Dog Protocol

      9 out of 10 dogs will improve dramatically just by applying the following the Smelly Dog Protocol.

      STEP 1 - Detox with LiverTune for 4 - 6 weeks.

      STEP 2 - Add the Fab4 supplements 1 week after starting the cleanse. These are your dog’s essential supplements that should be given on a daily ongoing and preventative basis. I give them to my dog too.

      STEP 3 - Sign up for a free Raw Diet Course, and explore the Recipe Maker for more info on ingredients and how much to feed your dog.

      Also be sure to comb regularly, bathe less frequently, and if the problem persists have your vet rule out underlying conditions, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease.

      Get the Smelly Dog Package (The Fab4 & LiverTune) now to save 15% off and receive free standard shipping (USA & Canada).

      Smelly Dog Package

        Other resources:

        9-Step natural treatment plan for skin yeast infections (Malassezia) in dogs

        Podcast: 9 step natural treatment plan for skin yeast infections in dogs

        Featured products related to this article

        Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. He graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1988 in the Czech Republic and obtained the Canadian Certificate of Qualification in 1995. He is currently licensed in the European Union, and his unique approach to healing and nutrition helps holistically minded dog lovers worldwide.

        Dr. Dobias strongly believes that disease prevention, natural nutrition and supplements, the right exercise and a drug free approach to medicine can add years to your dog's life.

        As a formulator of his all-natural vitamin and supplement line and co-inventor of natural, chemical free flea and tick control, FleaHex® and TickHex®, his unique healing system and products currently hold the highest independent five star customer rating. For more information click here.

        Any general recommendations that Dr. Dobias makes are not a substitute for the appropriate veterinary care and are for informational and educational purposes only.

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