Best Odor Control Dog Shampoos to Remove Bad Pet Smells

Last Updated: May 14, 2023

This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

Despite their cute faces and lovable personalities, dog's aren't exactly known for having the greatest natural smell. 

They have a distinct odor that can be downright offensive. This pungent smell can quickly spread throughout your home and leave a lasting impression on your clothes and furniture. 

So what are you supposed to do to get rid of it?
dog taking a bath with shampoo foam on his coat to remove smelly odors

The important thing to remember is that dogs are dirty creatures. They love to get into trash, roll around in the mud, and get rid of any artificial scents they have on their fur. Even the most well-trained dog will get into some smelly trouble from time to time. 

While you can't get rid of their natural smelly habits, you can do your part to keep it under control.

Dog shampoos are specifically designed to work with the biological makeup of your dog. They're formulated to soothe the skin, control bacteria, and neutralize odors. When you're browsing the grooming aisle of your local pet store, you'll find a wide range of products that consist of unique ingredients and scents.

The key to finding the right one for your pooch is to identify the source of the problem. Here are a few great shampoos to get you started.

7 of the Best Scented Dog Shampoos for Smelly Pups

1. Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs with Shea Butter, Aloe Vera & Chamomile

Particular Paws Oatmeal Dog & Cat Shampoo,

This shampoo from Particular Paws is gentle enough to keep your pup comfortable but strong enough to get rid of even the most stubborn odor. It's made from all-natural ingredients. 

There are no chemicals that could harm the skin or hurt the eyes. Instead, it has soothing alternatives that are safe. It uses shea butter, aloe vera, and chamomile. Not only do these ingredients leave a lasting pleasant smell, but they're also very safe on the skin.

It's formulated to soothe the skin and restore hair health from the root. Instead of stripping all the natural oils away, it can help retain and regulate it.

2. Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Shampoo, Conditioner & Pet Odor Eliminator

Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care Aromatherapy Shampoo & Conditioner

[easyazon_link identifier="B06XVCKYSF" locale="US" tag="dailyshamp-20"]This product[/easyazon_link] is designed to freshen up your dog's coat between washes. It has an oily consistency and is not meant to be washed out. The no-rinse formula is easier on your dog and is effective for neutralizing odors. 

One of the main ingredients is lavender oil, which is known to get rid of many types of bacteria. It also contains chamomile for aroma. It's completely pH balanced for your dog's skin and is made entirely out of natural ingredients that are biodegradable.

As an added perk, the blend of ingredients can be used for aromatherapy to keep your pup calm.

3. Nature's Miracle Supreme Odor Control

Nature's Miracle Supreme Odor Control Natural Oatmeal Shampoo & Conditioner - Honey Sage Scent

From Nature's Miracle is this product that acts as both a shampoo and conditioner. It's a natural formula that uses oatmeal and cocoa to cut through oil. 

When it comes to odor control, the shampoo is very effective. It's designed to neutralize odors and deodorize the fur with a pleasant honey sage scent. There are no harmful parabens or dyes.

It's also easy on the skin. If your dog is using a topical flea or tick product, the shampoo won't wash it away.

4. Fresh N Clean Scented Shampoo, Classic Fresh Scent

Fresh N Clean Scented Shampoo, Classic Fresh Scent

This shampoo is a gentle cleanser that will soothe the skin while getting rid of any excess oil and grime. 

It contains a number of ingredients that can also help your dog's coat reach its full potential. Wheat proteins strengthen the fur while antistatic agents ensure that your dog can be brushed comfortably afterward.

These ingredients can also tackle existing tangles or mats. It will soften the hairs so that you can loosen fur issues and return your pup's coat to normal.

5. Magic Coat Reduces Odor Shampoo

Magic Coat Reduces Odor Shampoo

[easyazon_link identifier="B0146VZPLW" locale="US" tag="dailyshamp-20"]This option[/easyazon_link] can be used on any type of fur. It's formulated to provide a deep clean that reaches all the way to their skin regardless of hair length. 

The ingredients work up into a rich lather that's designed to neutralize odors and leave your dog smelling fresh. For this particular product, the scent is oatmeal and papaya.

The cleaning agents are safe on the skin and may help to provide additional nourishment. For the best results, it's recommended that you brush your dog to get rid of stray hair.

6. Nourish 16-Ounce Shampoo/Conditioner

Nourish 16-Ounce Shampoo/Conditioner,

From Nourish is [easyazon_link identifier="B00SJ45L0I" locale="US" tag="dailyshamp-20"]this odor-eliminating shampoo[/easyazon_link]. It deodorizes the fur while leaving your pup's skin healthy. There are no parabens or unnecessary dyes. 

You won't find any alcohol that could affect your pup's pH balance either. It has high-quality ingredients like macadamia oil for nourishment. Provitamin B5 is also added.

Its purpose is to regulate oil on the skin to prevent buildup in the future. The scent of this shampoo is provided by a natural orange extract.

7. Fresh Wave Odor Removing Dog Shampoo

Fresh Wave Odor Removing Dog Shampoo

If you're looking for a tough shampoo that's capable of getting rid of particularly strong odors like skunk spray, consider [easyazon_link identifier="B0757ZMY94" locale="US" tag="dailyshamp-20"]this product from Fresh Wave.[/easyazon_link] 

It's a powerful product that uses natural ingredients to get the job done. There's no harsh chemicals or fragrances that only mask the offending odor. It will address the problem at its source and leave a pleasant smell behind.

For further peace of mind, the shampoo is non-toxic and meets the EPA's safer product standards

2 Alternative Options to Clean your Dog's Coat and Remove Pet Odor Without Bathing!

1. Waterless Dry Dog Shampoo No Rinse Foam Mousse (Mango & Pomegranate Scent)

Dry Dog Shampoo, Waterless, No Rinse Foam Mousse - Best for Bathless Cleaning of Coat and Removing Pet Odor - Mango & Pomegranate Scent

This rinse-free product from Paw's Choice is great if you're in a rush or don't have access to running water. It's a foam that can be spread throughout your dog's body. 

The ingredients work to remove the odor by getting rid of the bacteria causing it. The foam is natural and doesn't contain harsh chemicals. Instead, it's designed to condition the skin and coat. 

It has a coconut cleaning base and utilizes mango and pomegranate to leave a pleasant smell behind.

2. Lillian Ruff Waterless Dog Shampoo Spray to Deodorize Pet Odor and Freshen Coat

Lillian Ruff Waterless Dog Shampoo - No Rinse Quick Dry Dog Shampoo Spray - Tear Free Lavender Coconut Scent to Deodorize Pet Odor and Freshen Coat - Safe on Dry Itchy Skin - Made in USA

Keep your pup smelling good between washes with [easyazon_link identifier="B07BB53269" locale="US" tag="dailyshamp-20"]this spray from Lillian Ruff[/easyazon_link]. It doesn't have to be rinsed out to be effective. 

Simply spray the mixture onto your dog's body and work it into the fur with a brush. The natural lavender and coconut oil will take care of bacteria. Aloe vera is also included in the mix to moisturize your dog's skin.

It's safe on dry or irritated skin and is formulated to be tear-free.

Common Causes of Odor

There are a number of reasons why a dog may smell. While many owners just learn to live with the issue, you can help to decrease the strength and severity of the smells by simply addressing the root cause.

Dirt and Grime

One of the most obvious reasons why your dog might smell is that they just got done rolling around in something they shouldn't have been. Dogs are inquisitive creatures that use their sense of smell to navigate the world.

Once they pick up a scent that they're not used to, they'll follow it to investigate. Then, they'll roll in it.

While this behavior may seem odd to us humans, it's a natural canine instinct. They often do this to mask their scent. Many owners find their canine companions rolling around dirt, garbage, water, animal droppings, and even decomposing plants or animals.

dirty smelling dog drawing

The latter two scenarios are perhaps the worst of all. It can stick to their fur and make their way to the skin. The longer it stays, the worse it'll smell.

The best way to avoid this issue is to simply keep an eye out on your dog. Rolling around in smelly objects is something that's usually done when the dog is left to their own devices.

Even if they do find something to sniff while you're near, you can distract them and put a stop to it immediately.

Anal Glands and Gas

Your dog's smell may also originate from their own bodies. Gas and flatulence are quite common with dogs. Most of the time, it's not a problem. However, drastic changes in diet or a dog food formula with inferior ingredients can worsen the problem.

To address gas issues, you need put your dog on a high-quality diet that's balanced and nutritious. If you're switching foods, do so slowly so that it doesn't upset their stomach.

Anal gland problems are also the result of a poor diet. Often times, issues occur because of a lack of fiber or poor digestion. The glands can fill up and excrete an oily substance. This may be accompanied by irritation or infection.

When this secretion happens, it spreads to the surrounding fur and leaves a rancid smell anywhere the dog goes.

If this is the case for your dog, it's a good idea to take them to a vet. They'll be able to get rid of the excess fluid and recommend diet changes that could prevent future problems.

Excess Oil on the Skin

Your pup's sebaceous glands produce oil that's meant to nourish the skin. However, skin conditions and excessive sweating can cause too much oil buildup. The oil will get into your dog's fur and linger until it's taken care of.

It can also lead to bacterial infections. Interestingly enough, this is also the cause for that distinct wet dog smell.

The oil and water don't mix well, resulting in an unpleasant odor. This issue is one of the most common causes for dog smells and is more prevalent in pups with longer fur. The answer to this problem is to simply keep up with your dog's hygiene and groom them regularly.

Medical Issues

There are a number of medical problems that may be causing your dog to smell. Kidney problems are known to result in foul odors. If the smell is coming from your dog's mouth, it's most likely a dental issue like periodontal disease or infection.

Infections don't react well with your pup's saliva, resulting in a very strong smell.

Another cause could be an ear infection. This happens when water gets into the ear and isn't removed in time. Your dog could develop a yeast infection that's hiding in plain sight.

To address medical issues, take your pup to the vet. Kidney or dental problems should be taken care of as soon as possible to avoid lasting complications.

How Do Shampoos Help?

Simply put, shampoos can wash away the offending odor and leave your dog feeling fresh. While that may seem simple enough, shampoos are formulated to work with the issues that dogs face. Many contain ingredients that are capable of killing and removing bacteria from the skin.

Washing with shampoo is more effective than washing with water alone. The mixture can cut through oil and grease without any problems.

It's important to use a dog-specific product. Human shampoo is not designed for your dog's unique skin. They have different pH balances than we do. A human shampoo product can throw their balance off and dry out the skin.

This would result in increased oil production, causing the smell to get much worse. With a dog shampoo, you don't have to worry about this. It'll keep things healthy and may regulate the sebaceous glands over time.

What Makes a Good Shampoo for Dogs?

Not all dog shampoos are made the same. To ensure that a product is safe and effective, here are some things to look out for.

Natural Fragrance

When it comes to your precious pup, natural is always better. Natural fragrances are preferred over chemical alternatives. Not only are they safer, but they tend to last much longer. They'll stick to your dog's skin and coat for a lasting aroma.

Some of the best natural fragrances include aloe vera, vanilla, citrus, chamomile, and oatmeal. Some of these ingredients can also provide additional benefits. For example, oatmeal is known for soothing the skin and alleviating irritation.

Cleaning Agents

To be effective, a shampoo product needs to be able to get rid of excess oil in the fur. The product needs to have a heavy-duty cleaner that's capable of getting the job done. One of the best options is salicylic acid.

Other natural alternatives like oatmeal are also available. To ensure that you're getting a quality shampoo, stick with products that can produce a rich lather.

Skin-Soothing Properties

As mentioned earlier, shampoos should maintain the pH balance of your dog's skin. On average, dog's have a balance between 2.2 and 7.5. You'll want to avoid products that are too harsh or acidic.

Avoid products with a lot of alcohol and stick with shampoos that are designed to moisturize the skin to avoid irritation.

Additional Benefits

If your dog is suffering from a flea infestation, go with a shampoo that can take care of that problem. Many dog owners will use flea shampoos even if there's not an obvious sign of issues as a safety precaution.

Many flea shampoos have all of the same positive characteristics as standard shampoo with the added ingredients to kill off fleas.

There are a number of shampoos designed to tackle specific ailments. You can get antiseptic shampoos to address hot spots, hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin, and medicated shampoo to take care of severe fungal problems.

Over to You

The right shampoo can make a huge difference. Just make sure to give your dog a thorough cleaning on a regular basis. Doing so will keep offending odors at bay.


Related Posts

About the author 


Steve is a writer with over 10 years of experience in dog training and nutritiion.

His goal is to educate dog owners about the ins and outs of canine behavior as well as keeping up with the latest scientific research in the field.