Why Does My Dog Stink After Swimming? And How to Get Rid of It

Wondering why does your dog stink after swimming like dirty feet and vomits every time they get out of the water after a swim? This stench is different from the obvious “wet dog smell” from a bath, and it is harder to get rid of.

Why Does My Dog Stink After Swimming

This stench is the work of bacteria that stick to your dog’s fur from the lake, pool, or beach they just came out of. Although most water dogs carry a water-repelling coat, they still end up soaking some of the organic matter or bacteria from the water.

Reasons Why Dogs Smell After Swimming

Lakes or pools are the best places for your pooch to splash around to let off some steam on a hot summer day.

But not long after you have to deal with a phenomenon called a “wet dog smell”, and if your canine has recently been swimming then you might be contemplating the reasons why this happens. Don’t worry, this is neither your or your dog’s fault.

Reasons Why Dogs Smell After Swimming

As we have already established, the main culprit behind the horrible odor emitting from your dog after every swim is – bacteria. But how do these bacteria even get there? And why do they stick or lock to your dog’s fur?

Also, is there a way you can remove this offensive smell? I will be answering some of these questions in this piece so you never have to worry about this again.


What causes the bacteria to form on your dog’s coat after swims?

The Sebum in your dog’s coat is the reason why your dog may be trapping all rthe bad bacteria and releasing their smell.

Basically, your dog’s follicles release a type of oil to keep their fur or coat healthy and to prevent any sort of dehydration of the skin. This oil tends to collect in the shafts, and more so with the hound breeds who have more oils on their fur.

Whenever your dog gets wet after a swim in the lake or beach, the water and the oils on your dog’s coat blend in and create a stench whrrich is really hard to get off.

How to Remove the Musty Smell From Your Dog?

The answer to this problem is having a proper bathing routine for your pooch after every swim. Once your dog is out of the water, you will have to make sure they are completely dried and then you can start with the following:

How to Remove The Musty Smell From Your Dog
  • Rub Baking Soda or Cornstarch

You can start soon after your dog is out and still a little damp by rubbing some baking soda or cornstarch on their coat.

After thoroughly massaging one of these two elements, you can go ahead and brush it off. This is going to largely tackle the bed smell before you can wash them off completely.

  • Blow Dry

If you stick to towel drying then you will soon understand how that will not be enough. In order to completely dry your pooch and kill the bacteria use a Blow Dryer.

The heat will be able to remove the locked odors and not simply the water residue. However, some of the dogs can also be wary of the blow dryers and easily develop feelings of anxiety. If so, skip this step and get to the bathing part.

  • Mild Cleansers

You must always use mild and harmless shampoos on your dog’s coat. Some of the harsh shampoos provide a very clean and dry feel, and you may be attracted to them thinking they will extensively wash away all bad stuff.

However, what they mostly do is strip away the healthy and natural oils in the whole process and make your pooch prone to skin infections. So always remember to use mild and natural cleansers.

Pro-tip: If your dog is a water-baby through-and-through, then it is beneficial for you to keep their fur short. Long coats tend to hold onto the oils and water more, and cutting them down is going to help you steer clear of most bacteria accumulation.

Water Pests and Infections to Watch-out For

The organic matter in the water also contributes to not only the bad stench on your dog’s fur but also the uncomfortable infections.

Water Pests and Infections to Watch-out For

No matter whether your pooch is a regular swimmer or an occasional one, these are some of the water pests you have to protect your dog against in order to keep them happy and healthy:

  • Blue/Green Algae: If your pooch’s most loved place to swim is a lake, then you will have to worry about this bacteria. The build-up of Algae in the freshwater lakes can release toxins that are really harmful to not only pets but also humans. They are found mostly in the summer season.
  • Leptospirosis: Warm whether areas that attract a lot of rainfall generally harbor this waterborne disease caused by the bacteria known as Leptospira. This infection can be lethal to dogs and possibly life-threatening. Although, with proper treatment at the right time, dogs can easily fight this disease.
  • Pseudomonas: This bacteria is one of the causes of the popular swimmer’s ear. If your water dog is prone to ear infections, this is something you may have taken them for to a vet’s clinic before.
  • Giardiasis: The microscopic bacteria responsible to affect the bowel movements of your dog is Giardiasis. If after a swim in the lake, your dog is found to have been releasing loose stools, then this element can be one of the causes for that.


You can easily remove this stench by taking some preventive measures, while also steering them clear of any water-borne infections they may have gotten in contact with.

Always make sure to wash your dog’s entire coat as well as ears before you declare them clean. Have a worry-free splashing!


  1. Protect Yourself and Your Pets | Harmful Algal Blooms | CDC. (n.d.). CDC. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/habs/prevention-control.html
  2. Ramanujan, K. (2014, November 4). Toxic algae blooms cause illness, death in dogs. Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2014/11/toxic-algae-blooms-cause-illness-death-dogs
  3. PetMD Editorial. (2020c, October 15). 6 Reasons Your Dog Smells Bad. PetMD. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/6-reasons-your-dog-smells-bad

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