The first thing to keep in mind is that a lot of our dogs’ smells and health challenges originate from their gut. There are dogs that come in for training on certain kibble dog foods that cause the dog to have such a distinct smell about them that we don’t have to look at their paperwork to recognize the brand of dog food they are on. YUCK! If your dog stinks like his food it is probably time to detox your dog and change foods. It is important for your dog’s overall health and wellness, and many times for their behavioral issues, to invest in a high quality pet food or raw diet. Not only will you save money in the long run avoiding vet visits, but you will also be able to avoid having to overuse flea treatments. A strong healthy gut is a major step in providing your dog defenses against disease and pests. Try a drop of two of a high quality essential oil, such as peppermint, lemon or other citrus, in your dog’s drinking water.
While we don’t advocate over bathing our dogs, if your dog stinks, or even has some skin lesions or hot spots, chances are good they need to a bath. Choice of shampoo is important. Avoid shampoos with harsh ingredients that you cannot pronounce and alternatively look for shampoos that are herbal and natural based. Years ago, with our own allergy ridden dog Petey, we were advised against using oatmeal based soap, in spite of the fact that they are marketed as being good for itchy, dry skin. The reason? Oatmeal is grain based and if you have a dog that is truly allergic to grains, oatmeal could contribute to the itch. Our current favorite by far is Young Living’s Animal Scents Shampoo, which is essential oil based and smells great. Just make sure with generalized baths to avoid getting shampoo into eyes and ears, gently dry out ears and webbing of paws and underside where legs attach to the body, to discourage yeast growth.
Dr. Karen Becker of Mercola (healthy pets.mercola.com) recently published some ideas on homemade rinses that reminded us of prior research with Holistic and Dermatology vets when struggling with our own dogs, Petey and Luke. These can all be applied to the dogs’ coat, from the neck down, protecting their ears and eyes and left to dry without rising or toweling off. Vinegar is a disinfectant and can be mixed 1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water. If your dog is super stinky and a shampoo on its own isn’t cutting the smell, you can add in lemon that has been boiled down in water, cooled then applied. Keep in mind that lemon left on hair or fur and out in the sun can naturally lighten the hair color…yup, just like we did as kids in pursuit of beach blonde summer steaks in our own hair. A spritzer of Young Living’s Essential Oils, such as Purification, Thieves or Lemon can be made by mixing a few drops of one of the oils with water then sprayed on your dog. Tea bags, such as peppermint, chamomile, lavender or Tulsi, can be brewed, cooled then massaged into your dog’s coat and left to dry to help with itchy skin. These rinses can be used for all over relief or even just spot treatments to cleanse and soothe itchy, stinky paws or trouble spots.