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How to Get Rid of Wet Dog Smell: 7 Easy Steps

Written by: Chelsea Mortensen

Last Updated on May 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

wet Irish Setter dog

How to Get Rid of Wet Dog Smell: 7 Easy Steps

Dogs make great companions, but they aren’t always our nose’s best friends. That’s especially true when they get wet. Wetness can liberate some bacteria and oils in your dog’s coat, leaving your pooch smelling ripe. And long-term dampness can be a breeding ground for bacteria that only worsen the scent. But the good news is that wet dog smell can usually be minimized and avoided by taking the proper steps.

Here are seven key steps to getting rid of that wet dog smell:

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The 7 Steps to Get Rid of Wet Dog Smells

1. Bathe Thoroughly and Frequently

Wet dog smell starts in the coat and skin, so keeping your dog’s coat clean is important. When you bathe your dog frequently, you prevent oil and bacteria from building up. The caveat is that you need to do a good job—just a dip in water will only make the problem worse. Make sure to clean your dog’s skin and fur all over regularly to avoid bacterial buildup, especially in places that tend to be damp.

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2. Use a Scent Neutralizer if Needed

It isn’t always necessary to use special neutralizers when bathing, but if your dog is especially stinky, they can help. You can buy commercial scent-neutralizing shampoos that will help your dog, but one of the easiest alternatives is to use baking soda. Baking soda breaks down acids and neutralizes odors, so it’s easy to add it to your dog’s bath time for a little extra help.


3. Bring Extra Towels

Once your dog gets wet, the faster he dries, the less likely it is to bring strong smells. Most dogs hold a lot of water in their fur, so spending some time toweling off—and using more than one towel—can help you get your dog from sopping wet to barely damp in minutes, making it less likely that your dog will smell.

dog ready for bath
Image Credit: Boryana Manzurova, Shutterstock

4. Consider a Hair Dryer

Another option is to use a hair dryer to clean your dog. Dryer safety is important—keep the temperature low and don’t get too close to your dog’s skin. Overall, a low-temperature dryer and good monitoring will help your dog dry out faster with no risk to your dog. Keep an eye on your dog’s comfort throughout the process. Many dogs will need time to adjust to the noisy air, but over time it will be easier for you and your dog.


5. Head Outdoors for Extra Drying

If the weather is good, heading outside is a great way to get your dog dry and keep the smell out of your house in the meantime. Take your dog on a walk someplace without mud or water that could get them dirty again and enjoy the fresh air and sun with him. In addition to being a great way to keep your dog dry, it’s great exercise and social time too!

wet red golden retriever dog outdoors
Image Credit: Ron Jungwirth, Pixabay

6. Wash Any Stinky Toys and Bedding

Sometimes the smell from your dog leeches into the rest of the house. If that happens, some cleaning will get rid of the smell and make it easier for your dog to stay clean too. Soft toys and bedding are frequent culprits. They should be washed and dried regularly to get rid of bad odors and help your house smell fresh and clean. Most soft toys and bedding can be cleaned in the washing machine, but always check care labels to learn the best way to keep them safe.


7. Clean the Smell Out of Your Home

Once you’ve cleaned your dog and their soft bedding, you might still notice it lingering in your home. That means more thorough cleaning is needed. Enzymatic cleaners are a great option because they break down bacteria and organic compounds easily without using harsh chemicals or damaging most surfaces. They can usually be used on carpets, hard floors, furniture, and other surfaces to get rid of difficult smells.

floor cleaning with spray cleaner and sponge
Image Credit: Lucy Lulu, Shutterstock

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Last Thoughts

Wet dog smells aren’t entirely avoidable, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with stinky dog smells forever. Keeping your dog clean and dry is a big task, but it’s important for his health and your sanity. These tips can help you find a way to minimize smells and maximize enjoyment for you and your dog.


Featured Image Credit: Ortrun_Lenz, Pixabay

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