Home Care Smelly Labs: Causes and Remedies

Smelly Labs: Causes and Remedies

by Allison Marie
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Are you wondering why your Labrador smells? Check out this article to learn about the causes of a smelly lab and ideas for a home remedy for smelly Lab.

Why Does My Labrador Smell?

Labradors are naturally smelly dogs. They often develop a “wet dog smell” quite quickly, especially since they love to swim and have a thick double-coat.

Some other reasons why your Labrador could be smelly include:

  • Being damp for a long time
  • Allergies (food, fleas, shampoos, etc.)
  • Metabolic disorders, such as a thyroid disorder
  • Gland abnormalities that make your dog produce more natural oils
  • Dry skin (can be from excessive bathing or diets that have too few fatty acids)
  • Infections of the skin, ear, eye, etc.
  • Skin conditions (should be diagnosed by a vet and treated with prescribed medicine)

You may be surprised to see that excessive bathing could be the reason your dog smells. You will be also shocked to know that dogs do not need many baths, even if they smell!

Most dogs should only get a bath every other month or if they get very dirty. Otherwise, their skin will become too dry and irritated. 

You could use baby wipes or dog-safe wet wipes to wipe off excess dirt if your dog rolled in something rather unpleasant. 

However, you may not be able to live with a stinky Labrador. Luckily, you can try other ways to keep the smell at bay between baths by trying a home remedy for smelly Lab.

Home Remedies to Fix Smelly Labradors

Brush Them Regularly

One of the simplest home remedies for stinky Labradors is to simply brush them regularly. Try to brush them for 10-15 minutes every 1-2 days.

Labradors shed a lot, so dead hair could be the cause of their smell. Plus, it can keep your house from being covered in fur.

Dry Bath

If your dog recently took a bath but smells very strongly, then you can opt for a dry bath. All you need is some cornstarch or baking soda and your dog.

Very lightly sprinkle then pat the baking soda or cornstarch onto your dog’s fur (do not cake it onto your dog’s fur). Both products can help neutralize any nasty odors, so this is a cheap and easy way to reduce any odor.

Pet Deodorizer

You can buy a pet-friendly pet deodorizer, but you can also make one yourself! Make sure to always double-check the ingredients first to know what is safe for your dog.

Here is a quick recipe for a pet deodorizer that will also condition your Labrador’s fur! (You cannot use this on cats)

Grab an empty spray bottle then fill it with 2 cups of distilled water. Next, add 15 drops of orange essential oil, 15 drops of lavender essential oil, 1 tablespoon of fractioned coconut oil, and glycerin.

Close the spray bottle then shake well to mix. It lasts for 9 months and if the solution separates, just shake it before using it again. 

Spritz the deodorizer onto your Lab’s fur, brush it through, then let dry. You should never spray this on their face.

You should always ask your vet about what essential oils are okay with dogs because some can be toxic for them. You should always dilute essential oils because you cannot put essential oils directly onto your dog.

Another bonus that this pet deodorizer is that it could soothe your Lab’s skin as well. The coconut oil and glycerin will nourish the fur and skin when you comb it through. 

Homemade Shampoo

You can switch out your dog’s regular shampoo for baking soda. It is an excellent way to neutralize excessive odor.

Here is how to make baking soda shampoo for dogs and how to use it:

  • Mix 1 ½ cups warm water with 1 tbsp. baking soda.
  • Place this on your dog (except on or near their face) and let it soak for a minute.
  • Massage it into their fur and let it soak for a minute.
  • Rinse it out VERY well with water until there is no more residue. You may use a rubber brush to get rid of excess dead hair as well.

If you want to give your dog a quick rinse, you can try this baking soda rinse instead:

  • In a gallon of warm water, mix 2 tbsp. baking soda.
  • Pour the water over your dog, avoiding their head.

The baking soda rinse is an excellent way to deodorize them after you use regular dog shampoo on them.

Some people say that you can also follow up the baking soda rinse with an apple cider vinegar rinse so they are extra smell-free, making sure to avoid the head area. You can mix 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar with each cup of water.

The baking soda works as a base while the vinegar is acidic, which can help restore your dog’s pH balance of their skin. Plus, vinegar can also be a flea deterrent. 

Stinky Breath

If your Lab has stinky breath, you should start brushing their teeth regularly. However, that may not be enough, so you can brush their teeth and try out this home remedy too!

Some healthy snacks like apple slices and carrots can help keep their breath fresh and prevent plaque build-up.

You could also add a small pinch of parsley to their food (1 tsp. of parsley per 20 pounds of your dog’s weight). It is an excellent way to freshen up their breath.

However, you should ALWAYS choose the curly leaf kind of parsley. Spring parsley is toxic to dogs and should be avoided at all costs.

A bit of coconut oil can also fight smelly dog breath. You can add a few drops to their toothbrush before you brush their teeth or add a small amount to their food.

All in All

Labradors are great dogs, but they can smell quite strong if you are not careful. Luckily, you can try out a home remedy for smelly Lab listed above to keep your Labrador smelling fresh!

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