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Dog Shampoos for Severe Odor

| Updated September 26, 2017

If your dog has a severe odor, the right type of shampoo may be helpful in removing the foul smell. There are a variety of dog shampoos on the market and some may work better than others in keeping your dog smelling fresh and clean. However, sometimes even the best products may fail because there are several skin or medical conditions may cause foul odor in dogs. Only after these conditions have cleared up, will your dog be able to smell good again.


If your dog's smell cannot be attributed to anything explainable, such as rolling in a pile of manure or encountering a skunk, your best bet is to have your dog seen by a veterinarian. There are several medical conditions known for causing abhorrent smells. Skin infections, diseased teeth and gums, ear infections and anal gland problems are a list of problems that may cause a dog to smell bad, according to Eric Barchas, a Los Angeles veterinarian.

Medicated Shampoos

If your dog is found to have a bacterial skin infection, yeast infection or excessively oily skin, these conditions may cause a foul smell, and your veterinarian may prescribe a medicated shampoo to treat and remove the odor. These medicated antibacterial shampoos often contain benzoyl peroxide, chlorhexidine, ethyl lactate and imidazole as active ingredients. Common brands prescribed are ChlorhexiDerm, Etiderm, Nizoral, Malaseb and Dermazole.

De-Skunk Shampoos

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If your dog was sprayed by a skunk, the odor may be overwhelming. You can make a homemade shampoo by mixing 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 tsp of dish soap. Wear gloves and apply the mixture on the dog's coat, being careful to avoid the dog's eyes. Let it remain on the dog for about 10 to 15 minutes and rinse it off. As an alternative, you can purchase a shampoo called Skunk-Off.

Deodorizing Shampoos

If your dog rolled into a pile of manure, or if you simply dislike that typical lingering doggie odor, you may want to invest in deodorizing shampoos that help neutralize bad odors, leaving dogs smelling clean and fresh. Look for formulations promising to work against the most stubborn odors and that actually neutralize the odor rather than masking it.