Often, dogs that are being fed a diet that is low in fatty acids and high in starches – such as with grain and cereal based dry foods – will have overly dry skin. This can be remedied with a change in diet to one that has more fatty acids, or, with your veterinarian’s approval, fatty acid supplements. If your dog has dry skin, you will need to avoid shampoos and stick with gentler grooming methods. A thorough but soft brushing followed with rubbing some diatomaceous earth or plain, unscented baby powder into your dog’s fur can help clean the hair while neutralizing the smell. Skin allergies are a different matter, and will require some product experimenting along with your veterinarian’s advice.
To clean the ears, a cotton pad or cotton ball can be soaked in a gentle ear cleanser for dogs, or normal hydrogen peroxide, and then used to clean the inner ear of any excess wax. This can be done with your dog’s monthly bath, but you may need to do it more often if your dog has hanging, floppy ears. If your dog is one that has a lot of inner ear hair – non-shedding breeds like Poodles are a good example of hairy eared dogs – you will have to get into the habit of removing some of the hair, or having a groomer do it for you, so that wax does not build up and bacteria and mites do not make their homes in the ear hair.
If your dog has bad breath – and we’re not talking dog breath, but bad breath here – take your dog to the veterinarian right away. An infected tooth or cavity can spread to the other teeth. It is better to have one tooth removed now than to wait for it to become a mouth-wide emergency. If it is just simple dog breath you are looking to cure, that can be easily remedied with daily brushing and tooth healthy chew toys.
Sweet smelling shampoos are nice, but the fragrances used in them may be irritating to your dog, and they don’t last very long besides. A simple and gentle shampoo designed for dogs, used once a month, is the best choice. Unless your dog is the type that loves to roll around in mud and garbage and dead animals – and believe us when we say that there are a lot of dogs that will roll on dead animals – you should not do a thorough bath more than once a month. In between, you can use light perfumes or powders that are designed for dogs, brushing the coat a few times a week to get out any debris and excess hair, keeping the nails and spaces between the toes and foot pads clean, and water only showers, making sure to dry your dog so that the wet hair does not gather up more dirt and bacteria.
So there you have it. Dogs will always have a distinct smell – isn’t that one of the reasons we love them, anyway? – but it doesn’t have to be a bad smell.
Image: Kenta Morigami / via Flickr
Any type of arachnid excluding ticks
The exiting of excrement from the body; bowel movements.
The end of the gastrointestinal tract; the opening at the end of the tract.
A localized infection, usually a lesion filled with pus. Can be large or small in size.