One of the most frustrating things about washing your dog can be the wet dog smell they’re left with afterward. The shampoo you use can make a big difference in how your dog smells after a bath. That’s why you want the best smelling dog shampoo you can find.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Smelling Dog Shampoo:
- Colloidal Oatmeal Dog Shampoo with Pure Lavender Essential Oils – Our Top Pick
- Cloud Star Buddy Wash Lavender & Mint 2-in-1 Dog Shampoo + Conditioner
- MinkSheen Pet Shampoo 4 in 1 Concentrate
- Rocco & Roxie Dog Shampoos for All Dogs
- Natural Oatmeal Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner
There are dozens of dog shampoos out there with hundreds of reviews on each. How can you know which one is the longest-lasting and best smelling shampoo to combat your dog’s odor?
We’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the top smelling dog shampoos you can buy. Bath time might be better with these lovely scents!
Best Smelling Dog Shampoo: Quick Recommendations
Colloidal Oatmeal Dog Shampoo with Pure Lavender Essential Oils
|VIEW ON AMAZON →READ REVIEWS →
Cloud Star Buddy Wash Lavender & Mint 2-in-1 Dog Shampoo + Conditioner
|VIEW ON AMAZON →READ REVIEWS →
MinkSheen Pet Shampoo 4 in 1 Concentrate
|VIEW ON AMAZON →READ REVIEWS →
Rocco & Roxie Dog Shampoos for All Dogs
|VIEW ON AMAZON →READ REVIEWS →
Natural Oatmeal Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner
|VIEW ON AMAZON →READ REVIEWS →
Benefits of Using a Good Smelling Pet Shampoo
While some dogs need hypoallergenic or unscented shampoo, other dogs benefit from great smelling pet shampoo.
Here are a few potential benefits of keeping your dog smelling his best.
- Pest control – Some scents, like lemongrass or rosemary, can help repel fleas and ticks after a bath. Shampoo alone shouldn’t be your only method of pest control. However, if you live in an area prone to fleas, every bit of protection helps.
- Calming scents – Lavender, for example, has calming properties that can help your dog relax during the bath. Since most dogs hate baths, a little extra help keeping a dog calm is a nice bonus.
- Better bathing experience for you – Bathing your dog can be a chore. Using shampoos with a nice scent is better than having to lather up your dog with something that smells awful.
- Your dog smells better afterward – While some shampoo scents don’t last, some can linger for as long as a few weeks. That means your dog can smell better longer.
Tips for Managing Dog Odor Between Baths
Washing your dog too often can dry out their skin. In a perfect world, you shouldn’t wash your dog more than once a month. Dogs can get stinky fast, though, so here are some tips to help your dog smell fresh between baths.
Maintain Your Dog’s Teeth
Some of the worst doggie odors can come from their mouths. Did you know that most dogs show evidence of periodontal disease by age 3? Apart from bad breath, poor dental health can lead to pain, lost teeth, or even death.
Here are some tips for maintaining your dog’s dental health:
- Brush their teeth daily
- Give them dental treats
- Make sure they have chew toys
- Give them bones
- Take them to the vet for a dental cleaning under anesthesia (anesthesia-free dental cleanings don’t get under the gumline, a crucial part of a cleaning)
Clean Their Ears Weekly
Some dogs are prone to ear infections. If your dog has ever had an ear infection, you know how much they can stink.
All dogs should have their ears cleaned with a dog ear cleaner at least once a week. It’s also good to clean out their ears after baths or swimming. Water trapped in the ear canal is a common cause of ear infections.
If your dog’s ears seem smelly, it’s time for a trip to the vet. Different types of ear infections need different treatments. Only a vet can decide what medication is best for your dog.
Use Baby Wipes Often
To help prevent smells from accumulating on your dog, wipe down your dog with unscented baby wipes daily. This can help remove dirt and bacteria before they get out of control.
Baby wipes are especially crucial for dogs who drool and those who have wrinkles. Wrinkles must be kept clean to avoid infection. Drool can become quite stinky – and sticky – and should be wiped off often.
Using baby wipes on your dog’s feet when they come inside can keep both your dog and your home clean.
When using baby wipes on your dog, make sure to focus on all the nooks and crannies. They tend to collect the most debris and smell.
Things to Look for in Good Smelling Dog Shampoos
How do you know what to look for when searching for the best dog shampoos for odor that lasts? After all, a good smelling pet shampoo is worthless if it dries out your dog’s skin or causes an allergic reaction.
Here are a few things to look for when picking your shampoo:
- Cruelty-free – Do you want to support a company that rubs shampoo into rabbits’ eyes to test its safety? Probably not. Stick with cruelty-free products.
- Natural ingredients – As much as possible, try to avoid sulfates, parabens, and ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
- Specialties – Some dog shampoos help repel pests. Some are good for dry skin. Others may help reduce shedding. Decide what special features you may want in a dog shampoo.
Longest Lasting Best Smelling Dog Shampoo
Not only does this shampoo smell great, but it’s great for your dog’s skin, too. With colloidal oatmeal and jojoba oil, it’s soothing on the skin. The lavender scent is naturally soothing.
- Lavender scent
- Tear-free and hypoallergenic
- Paraben- and sulfate-free
User Reviews: Most customers rave about how much this shampoo improved their dog’s skin and coat. The scent lasts up to a week or longer. There were occasional reports of allergic reactions or worsened dry skin. However, the biggest complaint was about the small size of the bottle.
Bottom Line: The price per ounce is on the high side, but this is one of the highest-rated shampoos out there. There is always a chance of an allergic reaction, but most dogs had less itching and shinier coats. If you like the smell of lavender, this should be your first choice for keeping your dog smelling great!
With natural ingredients you can pronounce, this is one of the best natural shampoos out there. It’s gentle enough for frequent use and made in the USA. The 2-in-1 formula leaves coats soft and shiny. Conditioning spray (sold separately) helps the scent last between baths.
- 2-in-1 shampoo plus conditioner
- Lavender and mint scent
- Not tested on animals
- Made in the USA
User Reviews: Almost everybody loves this shampoo for their dogs. They report healthy skin and soft coats. The scent doesn’t last forever on its own, but the spray you can buy separately helps a lot. Almost all the negative reviews were due to shipping problems.
Bottom Line: Many people have been using this pet shampoo on their dogs for years. It’s gentle enough to use often and leaves coats soft and shiny. The scent is mild but pleasant. For best results, also spring for the conditioning spray to use between baths.
With mink oil as a natural conditioner, this shampoo claims to leave dogs with a “show coat.” It’s gentle enough to use on puppies. When diluted, a 16 oz bottle can make up to a gallon of shampoo.
- Concentrated to last longer
- Shampoo, conditioner, and odor control
- Makes up to a gallon when diluted
- Mink oil is a natural conditioner
User Reviews: Reviews are mixed on the scent (with some calling it “medicinal”). However, most people say this helps their dog’s skin, leaves fur shiny, and helps repel insects.
Bottom Line: You might love or hate the smell. You should take a chance on this shampoo, though, if you want your dog to be super shiny and soft. With citronella oil as one of the ingredients, it also helps repel bugs better than most shampoos.
This hypoallergenic shampoo is gentle on sensitive skin and moisturizes dry skin. The natural ingredients smell great and help improve your dog’s skin and coat. The geranium helps strengthen hair follicles for improved fur quality.
- No dyes or artificial colors
- No alcohols, sulfates, or parabens
- Contains Moroccan argan oil, chamomile, and geranium
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
User Reviews: Most people report that their dogs scratch less and have less dander after being bathed in this shampoo. The scent is mild and not offensive. Some dogs do have allergic reactions to this shampoo.
Bottom Line: There is a chance that your dog could have an allergic reaction to this shampoo. However, it’s more likely that your dog’s itching will lessen, and they will have less dander. They do have a 100% guarantee if you are hesitant about trying this shampoo on your dog.
If you’re looking for a natural dog shampoo at an affordable price, you can stop your search here. With a vegan, organic formula that also has aloe vera and oatmeal, it’s a gentle choice for any dog. It’s tear-free and made in the USA.
- Vegan and organic
- Soap- and paraben-free
- Includes oatmeal and aloe vera to soothe skin
- Made in the USA
User Reviews: Most people like this shampoo. It’s gentle on their dog’s skin, has a mild scent, and leaves them soft and shiny. Some dogs did have allergic reactions to this product.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for an affordable natural shampoo for sensitive skin, this is a good place to start. It works well for most dogs, though there is a chance your dog could have an allergic reaction.
Why Can’t I Use Human Shampoo?
If you love the scent of your own shampoo, it may be tempting to use that on your dog. The problem is that dogs and people have different skin pH levels. That means that human shampoo is much too drying for a dog’s skin.
Unless your dog has an allergic reaction, using your shampoo in an emergency won’t harm him. However, dry skin can be itchy and uncomfortable. Dry skin can also lead to increased shedding.
Additionally, some dog shampoos have other properties like pest control or light conditioning.
That’s why you should invest in good smelling dog shampoo instead of using one made for humans.
How to Give Your Dog a Bath: A Groomer’s Tips
Giving your dog a bath can either be a good bonding experience or a total nightmare. Some dogs will never like getting a bath, but there are some things you can do to make things easier. Here are some tips on how to give your dog a bath.
Nothing is more stressful than realizing you left something important in the other room after you’ve started washing your dog. Make sure you have everything handy before you get your dog wet. Some things you may need include:
- Shampoo (obviously)
- Conditioner (optional)
- Nail clippers (nails are softer and easier to cut when wet)
- Toothbrush and doggie toothpaste (toothbrushing is important but can be messy)
- Cotton balls (placed in ears, they can help prevent water from getting in)
- Ear cleaner (clean ears after the bath to remove water from ear canals)
- Saline solution (for rinsing your dog’s eyes after washing their face)
- Towels (for drying your dog, yourself, the floor, and maybe more)
- Treats (tasty treats after the bath can help your dog tolerate the bath better)
If you have a dog with long hair, brush and comb them before the bath. If your dog has any tangles or mats, water will make them worse. Never wash a matted dog.
Brushing your dog in between baths also helps spread their natural oils and reduce odor.
Rinse, Rinse, and Repeat
One big cause of itching in dogs is shampoo that didn’t get rinsed out. It’s easy to miss spots, so make sure you rinse every nook and cranny. When you think you’ve rinsed your dog enough, rinse for another minute or two to be sure.
Reward Your Dog During and After the Bath
If your dog hates bath time, give them small treats throughout the bath to reward their patience. Always give your dog a big, special treat after the bath so they can associate the bath with good things. (As an example, I only give my dog ice cream after baths and vet visits.)
If you want more tips on washing your dog at home, check out this article: 7 Tips on How to Wash a Large Dog at Home.
Best Dog Shampoo for Smelly Dogs FAQs
Can’t I Just Use Johnson’s Baby Shampoo or Dawn Dish Soap?
While you can use these products in an emergency, they aren’t good to use on your dog regularly.
Johnson’s Baby Shampoo is the gentlest human shampoo you will find. However, it is still too harsh for dogs’ sensitive skin.
Dawn Dish Soap is good at suffocating fleas or degreasing dogs who are greasier than usual. However, Dawn is strong enough to remove oil from wildlife. That means it will also strip the natural oil from your dog’s skin and cause dryness.
How Do I Pick the Best Smelling Shampoo for My Dog?
Every human prefers different scents. Also, some dogs will have allergic reactions to some shampoos. We’ve done our best to give you top picks, but you still may need to do some trial and error.
What Causes That Wet Dog Smell?
Dogs have natural oils in their coats. Oil and water don’t mix, so the combination can smell gross to a lot of people. Brushing your dog regularly can help spread those natural oils, so they don’t accumulate too much.
Wrapping Up Our Top Smelling Dog Shampoos
Since everybody likes and hates different scents, we can’t definitively tell you what the best dog shampoo for odor is. Hopefully, you can find one in this article that you and your pup love. It may take a little trial and error, but there is a great smelling dog shampoo out there for you!
Tell us: What’s your favorite shampoo for keeping your dog smelling great? Did we miss one? Help out fellow dog lovers and let us know in the comments below!
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Jennifer Nelson is a passionate dog lover and pet care professional based in Denver, Colorado. With over 12 years of experience as a pet groomer, Jennifer has a wealth of knowledge and expertise when it comes to the health and well-being of dogs.
She is an accomplished pet care professional and writer who truly embodies the spirit of a dog lover. Her passion, expertise, and commitment to the dog community make her a valuable resource for anyone looking to learn more about the care and wellbeing of these wonderful animals.
Jennifer’s writing style is warm, engaging, and informative, and her articles are always well-researched and backed by her extensive professional experience. Her goal is to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on all aspects of dog care, from feeding and grooming to exercise and health.