Pet dogs: controlling a strong musty smell through diet, bathing, and other ideas

How to remove smelly pet odors from your dog with organic and vegetarian foods, proper grooming, treatments for atopy, and other healthy alternative medications.


Dogs make wonderful friends. 

Not only are they fun and playful, but they can be warm and affectionate, too.  It’s comforting when they sleep at your heel or put their heads in your lap.  The only problem is, sometimes you don’t want them getting that close to you.  Sometimes, they smell too strong.

Almost all dog owners know what this means.  There’s a very distinct canine odor, and it’s musty and it stinks.  Luckily, there is also something we can do about it.  In most cases, a dog’s odor is the result of one of three things:  diet, disease, or grooming.  In this article, I’ll discusses what you can do about them.

Diet is by far the most common culprit.  Modern-day kibble is almost pure junk food.  It’s filled with additives and preservatives, and the ingredients used are commonly so unhealthy, they’re deemed unsanitary for human consumption.  Is it any surprise then that our canine companions have some noticeable, odoriferous side-effects?

The answer to this problem is to get your dog off of kibble and on to something good for him or her.  Not only will the smell go away, but your dog will also experience fewer ailments and greater energy.  The question is -- what sort of diet do you want to give your dog?

There are three healthy alternatives.  The first is to feed your dog a plant-based diet.  This sounds weird, I know.  Dogs are carnivores and we expect them to eat meat.  Still, the evidence seems to be in favor of making your dog a vegetarian.  Numerous studies have shown that your dog will live a longer, healthier life, as well as a less smelly one.  One dramatic example is Bramble, a 27-year-old vegan collie.  She also happens to be the oldest living dog in the world.  If you feel uncomfortable about such a dramatic change in your pet’s diet, do some research and find out for yourself whether or not vegetarianism is right for your dog.

Another alternative is to simply purchase organic kibble.  Unlike highly processed kibble, organic kibble uses prime ingredients that even humans would be better off eating.  Furthermore, there are no additives or preservatives, one of the prime causes of foul pet odor.  The evidence also shows dogs fed on an organic diet living longer than your average dog, though not quite as long as those on a plant-based diet.

The final choice is a raw food diet.  This is by far the healthiest option, but also the most time-consuming.  You must design your pet’s entire diet, considering if he or she is getting the proper amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbohydrates.  Then, every day, you must prepare it on your own.  To design a diet, either consult your veterinarian or purchase a breed-specific book on raw foods.

Diet, however, is not the only odor culprit.  Another common cause is a skin condition known as atopy.  Atopy is the inflammation of your pet’s skin due to allergic reactions.  The inflamed skin produces an excessive amount of sebum or scalp oil.  This oil not only smells foul on its own but is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that produce their own distinct odors.

You can easily tell if this is the culprit by regularly petting your canine.  If your pet’s hair is normally oily, then chances are the odor is coming from atopy.  To cure this condition, you should examine what you put on your pet.  Are you washing him or her with an additive saturated shampoo?  Maybe your dog is allergic to those additives.  Are you using flea medication?  Maybe your dog is allergic to that, too.

Luckily, there are alternatives.  It’s easy to find a shampoo with no additives, just a do little research on the Internet.  It’s also possible to de-flea your dog without using medication.  Just regularly vacuum your home, use a flea comb to look for parasites, and wash your dog using a no-additives shampoo.  It’s a little more work, but it’s better for your dog . . . and your nose.

Finally, the smell may simply be the result of poor grooming.  Be sure to regularly comb your pet, at least once every couple of days.  This will remove debris from his or her coat (which could smell bad, considering what dogs roll around in), and it will also stimulate hair follicles which, in turn, give your pet a healthy shine.  Also, washing your dog is helps a lot in the battle against foul smells, though the need varies from individual to individual.  (And it can definitely be overdone, drying out your pet’s skin and causing atopy.)  It’s best to experiment and figure out how often your pet needs to be washed.  Let him or her go a couple of weeks without shampooing, and check out how it smells.  If it smells alright, then you know you can go a while without bathing your pet.

In addition to these three common sources, there are many smaller ones that can also be culpable.  If after improving your pet’s diet, avoiding atopy, and grooming properly, he or she still has a strong odor, you may want to consult your veterinarian to find out what can be done.