Help me destinkify my dog!
January 6, 2009 9:32 PM   Subscribe

Is there a good way to freshen up a dog between baths without actually getting him wet?

My dog is getting a bit elderly and arthritic. He's also slightly smelly right now. He can't make it into the bathtub anymore, and that's where I used to give him baths during the cold months.

What are some good deodorizers/dry shampoo type products that I could use to make him smell a little better (and not make his hair greasy or tangly) for the time being? Bonus points for something that doesn't come in a spray bottle since he is inexplicably terrified of the noise they make.

I know they make some waterless shampoos, but I googled around and looked on the major pet store websites and I can't really tell which one would be best to use on him.

He is a long-haired heinz-57 style mutt, if that helps. I would say his coat is most similar to a collie's in texture, except the hair on his legs is really short and coarse. He is also fairly big and has a lot of hair, which means it would be great if I could find a product that comes in a fairly generous sized container.

He'll get a proper bath outside when the weather warms up, I promise! I'm just trying to make this easy on the poor old guy while the weather is nasty around here.
posted by howrobotsaremade to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about products to use, but might it help to rub the dog down with a wet washcloth and then comb him? I've also seen people who combated the smell of flea treatments with lavender essential oils-- maybe you could comb some of that on.
posted by big open mouth at 10:05 PM on January 6, 2009

Use the same thing I use when a shower is inconvenient -- Carpet Fresh and a scalp massage with the shop-vac.
posted by csw at 10:18 PM on January 6, 2009

Baking soda works well, as long as his skin isn't excessively dry and he's okay with being vacuumed afterwards. Rub well into his entire coat (best done as close to the skin as possible), brush well, vacuum out the excess. Don't forget to clean out his ears after with a cotton ball and the solvent of your choice.

Worked well on our VERY long-haired golden retriever during -20C weather.
posted by variella at 10:30 PM on January 6, 2009

I feel that putting scented oils/sprays on a dog is similar to dousing your hair with perfume. Please consider sticking to unscented deodorizers.

I know feeding them certain oils can help with their smell. You could also look into cat bathing wipes, waterless dog bath foam, and a waterless bath pet brush.
posted by Sufi at 10:31 PM on January 6, 2009

These wipes are great and good for sensitive skin, too.
posted by judith at 11:12 PM on January 6, 2009

go to your local reputable pet supplier and ask them to recommend a waterless shampoo. we bought a brand called "top performance" that smells like green tea & mint. it works great.
posted by gnutron at 11:31 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I also sometimes just give little Marie a sponge bath with warm water. She loves it. I don't soak her to the skin, but I don't think she needs it. With just warm water I can feel the difference in her coat. Since it is not drying out their skin, you can do it more often as well. (I would use a wetter sponge for between the toes)

Super easy and surprisingly effective.

(in the summer I use cold water on a sponge to cool off her belly, it's a great treat for them)
posted by Vaike at 12:17 AM on January 7, 2009

Not sure of what the weather is like where you're at, but if the dog spends most of his time indoors, clipping might be a good option. It's not a beautiful solution, but at least he'll have less fur to get stinky, and what's left will be easier to clean.
posted by Orrorin at 2:10 AM on January 7, 2009

Thanks everyone! I'll be looking into some of these options today. Mister (my dog) says thank you too!

He's mostly stinky from getting rained and snowed on when he's outside. I dry him off with one of those super absorbent towels when he comes in but he still smells like wet dog pretty powerfully. My other dog has a shorter coat and she doesn't really get that smelly too quickly.

He might actually enjoy baking soda and being vacuumed. Especially if I gave him a little doggie massage while I brushed it in. It would be cheap to try it at least. His skin isn't overly dry.

The only pet supply stores we really have within driving distance are Petco and Petsmart, maybe I'll take a trip over there this morning and pick up a couple of backup things to try.

I do keep his hind legs and butt clipped down pretty close because he's got a different kind of hair there that gets matted pretty quickly. I don't want to clip him too much though, because he's still able to go for walks most days and the windchill has been really low here recently.

He's just getting to be an old guy now (we think he's about 14) and so I try not to hassle him with things as much as possible if I can. I think this winter has been pretty hard on him because the winter has been really nasty.
posted by howrobotsaremade at 6:29 AM on January 7, 2009

Seconding the Earthbath wipes. My dog is a nexus of stink (lab owners know what I'm talking about) and those wipes are what keeps us from hosing the poor guy down daily.
posted by jamaro at 8:26 AM on January 7, 2009

Nthing the wipes. We picked some up at our local pet store. Our newly adopted dog can't be bathed yet (too soon after her spay), and they've helped with the smell and general ickiness until we can get her a real bath.
posted by geeky at 9:54 AM on January 7, 2009

I would also try to brush him frequently.

If his ears are floppy rather than pointy, you also might want to check that he isn't having any ear problems...because infected ears are stinky!
posted by radioamy at 1:24 PM on January 7, 2009

I rubbed baking soda through his fur today, brushed him out and then swept up the excess. It really cut down on the wet dog odor a bunch! I also ordered some of the Earthbath wipes for in case he gets muddy. Thanks a bunch, he was kind of starting to stink up the house but now he doesn't really smell like anything anymore.
posted by howrobotsaremade at 5:34 PM on January 7, 2009

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