here stinky stinky
January 11, 2008 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Why does my dog smell nice for a long time after a PetsMart bath, but stinks the next day after I give her a bath?

Any thoughts? Petsmart bath lasts like 3 weeks (possibly some exaggeration here). Note that this isn't just my poor dog-bathing skills, I've talked to other people and this happens with them as well.
posted by striker to Pets & Animals (25 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Professional grade shampoo/conditioning rinse > off the shelf stuff.

My mom, a former hairdresser, grooms her dogs and my dog on the side. All her supplies come from a professional groomers catalog. When my dog bathes at her house, he smells clean longer.

I've watched my dog get groomed at PetSmart, they spritz them up on doggy cologne, too.
posted by jerseygirl at 5:06 PM on January 11, 2008

What does your dog sleep on? If it's a doggie bed/pillow, it might be time to wash that too. (Especially if he/she's yaked on it as dogs often do)
posted by bondgirl53001 at 5:10 PM on January 11, 2008

seconding the doggy cologne anecdote.

my golden retriever smells lovely for weeks after PetSmart.
when he's washed at home, though...ew.
posted by gursky at 5:14 PM on January 11, 2008

Do the groomer empty the anal glands? That can cut way down on stinky dog smell.
posted by procrastination at 5:15 PM on January 11, 2008

Try buying shampoo from your vet instead of from the pet store.
posted by dobbs at 5:33 PM on January 11, 2008

seconding the anal glands. Also, petsmart may be brushing the dogs teeth a little more diligently.
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:38 PM on January 11, 2008

ALL groomers automatically express the anal gland during bathing, you just don't know about it. When I was 14 I worked in a dog grooming shop. I didn't know about the anal gland either until the first time I had to do it. Let's just call that "The Most Disgusting First Day in History."
posted by miss lynnster at 5:56 PM on January 11, 2008 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: We've tried the good shampoo, but not the cologne. I'm guessing the anal glands thing may be the right direction.
posted by striker at 6:03 PM on January 11, 2008

petedge carries professional supplies
posted by meeshell at 6:20 PM on January 11, 2008

to clean anal glands w.o fingers - pumpkin.
posted by k8t at 6:27 PM on January 11, 2008

Do the professionals clean out the inside of the ears, too? My dog's ears get smelly.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:30 PM on January 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

According to our former vet at the well-respected Berkeley Dog and Cat Hospital, the more often the anal glands are cleaned (my vet called it "expressing the anal glands"), the more often you'll need it done.
posted by pmbuko at 6:41 PM on January 11, 2008

I can't get my dog to eat pumpkin, unfortunately.

If your dogs ears are smelly, there may be a bit of an infection inside. That's generally what causes ear smell. My dog gets ear infections super easily and I regularly use this stuff to clean inside of them.

As for expressing the gland... the squeamish might not want to read on, but here's whatcha do... should be prepared for the anal gland secretions to appear and smell quite disgusting. If you feel this is a task you are willing to perform, here are some basic directions. Please be advised, that you should only perform this procedure on your own dogs and never someone else's.

1. Prepare a warm moist washcloth.

2. Locate your dog's anal glands by raising his tail and using your other hand to feel for two lumps at approximately five and seven o'clock on either side of his anal opening.

3. Holding the cloth over his anal opening to prevent an unpleasant squirt, begin applying firm but gentle pressure to the sacs. This should cause some of the fluid to be expelled through the rectal opening, thereby emptying the glands. Wipe your dog's behind clean, and the job should be finished. If you notice blood or pus in your dog's anal gland secretions, it is likely a sign of infection, and you should contact your vet for an appointment and treatment.
Okay... now here's where I give you MY personal tip of the day on HOW NOT TO express a dog's anal gland. Whatever you do, DO NOT FORGET TO FOLLOW THE FIRST SEVEN WORDS OF STEP THREE. 14 year old me made that mistake, and then had to scrub down the walls of an entire washroom that was covered with specks of projectile expressed green gland goo.

(Yeah, the when I called it The Most Disgusting First Day Ever I wasn't really exaggerating.)
posted by miss lynnster at 6:54 PM on January 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've done a fair share of dog washin' in my day.

I do the anal glands, and clean the ears with Oti-Cleanse or some other product. Then, I usually wash the dog twice. I think that's important - one go-round to wash the dirt off, and another to get off some of the oil on the coat. I usually finish off with a conditioning rinse.

Another big difference is that I don't just use shampoo straight from the bottle. I dilute it to about 1 part per 5 parts water, and pour the solution all over the dog, rather than smearing full-strength shampoo randomly into parts of his coat. This ensures that the whole coat is getting washed evenly. And I make sure that the dog is soaking wet before I apply the shampoo.

I also scrub the paws. Have you ever noticed your dog scuffing the ground with his back paws after he pees or poops? He's using the stinky oil from his pads (it smells like Fritos!) to mark his place.

I also brush, brush, brush the dog before the bath, and then brush, brush, brush him again when he's still wet after the bath. This gets a lot of stinky hair off.

Of course, that's what I do when someone is paying me money to wash their dog. I just feed my dogs a high-quality dog food, (Innova) and that takes care of most of the smell. My own guys get baths about twice a year!
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 7:30 PM on January 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

My dog's ears get smelly

Your dog may be allergic to something you feed him. Ears and feet are generally the first places allergies express themselves on a dog, at least according to my vet.
posted by dobbs at 9:05 PM on January 11, 2008

... so does the same thing apply to cats as well? I should tip the groomer more. Bleah.
posted by Space Kitty at 9:46 PM on January 11, 2008

I don't think it's the anal glands.

I have multiple has an anal gland problem (narrow canal) and the others do not. The vet advised gland expression for the one and cautioned against expressing the others. It's not something you really need to do and to be honest, the other ones (who do not have their glands expressed) don't get as stinky as the one that does. Anal glands are self regulating. Expressing them improperly or too often can cause problems.

I wash my dog at a do-it-yourself grooming salon. The hoses are high pressure, I use a rubber comb to work the shampoo into his coat. The conditioner is very perfumed (which is kind of gross so I don't use it.) The forced air dryers blow out any loose fur. I think all of these things help get the dog cleaner than you could do at home...
posted by red_lotus at 10:39 PM on January 11, 2008

I think it has something to do with drying the dog. Wet dog is the nastiest smell ever. But at "doggie salons" they dry them, which may dry the oils that lend themselves to stinkyness. Perhaps you can try a high grade shampoo and then thoroughly dry them with a towel and hot air afterward? --just a suggestion.
posted by greta simone at 11:39 PM on January 11, 2008

I have a hunch that a good dry off is a big part of it as well, I towel dried my fella - but I would give him a fan heater to lie in front of if he wanted it, or send him outside to lie in the sun, season permitting. (I would have used a hairdryer on him, but the only one in the house was much too loud to use on a nice doggie.)

I never expressed his anything, and he always smelled lovely to me - until he found something to roll in, of course.
posted by The Monkey at 6:36 AM on January 12, 2008

Healthy dogs do not smell, for one thing, if your dog needs a bath every four weeks because of odor, there is something wrong with either your dog (ears, mouth, GI, skin) or the food you're feeding him. Unless he's a Lab.

Second, it's likely a combination of the shampoo/cologne (most ones you get in a pet store are not comparable to a professional product only available through groomers supply stores), and method the groomer uses (I'm a former groomer, and my sister is currently a groomer): most groomers give at least two shampoos, depending on the breed, they will also use a rinse, they also cage dry and/or blow dry the dog, brush it out thoroughly, and do not allow it to go roll around.
posted by biscotti at 7:12 AM on January 12, 2008

Please be advised, that you should only perform this procedure on your own dogs and never someone else's.

Yeah that will definitely get you perma-banned from the dog park, I guess.
posted by jerseygirl at 7:39 AM on January 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Do the professionals clean out the inside of the ears, too?

Yep, Oti-Clear on a cotton pad and a gentle clean. Oh, and depending on the sort of ears they have/what kind of dog they are, they either pluck or trim the hair out of their ears. If they pluck, they use a 'numbing' powder beforehand to make it less agitating for the dog. Floppy eared dogs that grow a lot of hair in their ears are ripe for ear infections if moisture gets in there.
posted by jerseygirl at 7:41 AM on January 12, 2008

This question totally amazes me. I bathe my greyhound like twice a year too. I've asked close friends if she smells (figuring I might not notice it) and they've always said no.

I can understand if you have a dog that regularly swims in ponds or rolls around in poop, and obviously long-hair dogs require frequent brushing, but my understanding was that most dogs should not naturally get smelly.
posted by nev at 10:05 AM on January 12, 2008

Labs do seem to be particularly smelly. Especially so in old age. You are not wrong, striker-- there's a distinct lack of doggy-smell after professional grooming versus just removing the stinkier small by bathing at home. I've never understood it either. I do wonder if it's the anal gland expression after reading answers here. I'd always assumed it was the quality of the shampoo or a deodorizer, before.
posted by Tehanu at 10:25 PM on January 12, 2008

I agree with the others, my dogs smell better for longer after being professionally groomed.

I also now completely understand why my babies absolutely HATE to go to the groomer. If I had to worry about my bum being probed each and every time I went to get my hair done, my hair would be long, shaggy and very gray because I simply would NOT go.

I'm sure the extended fresh scent has to do with the way they are bathed though, and not the glands. It's the smell all over that's different, not a localized area. I just wish I knew how they did it and what they did it with.
posted by magnoliasouth at 11:59 PM on January 13, 2008

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