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Do Labradors Smell Bad? Find Reasons Why They Stink!

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Cream Labrador sniff rose

Does your Labrador seem to ‘smell bad’ no matter how many doggie baths you give them?

Welcome to the club! Labs are fantastic companions with their warm eyes and wagging tails, but their distinctive aroma can sometimes leave you wrinkling your nose.

Here’s a spoiler: it’s not just your Lab – all Labradors have a certain smell. The cause can range from their natural body oils to some underlying health issues. But don’t worry – we’ve got your back and your nose!

By the end of this article, you’ll understand why your Labrador smells so bad, and better yet, you’ll learn how to tackle this stinky dog problem head-on.

So, shall we ‘sniff out’ the solutions together?

Do Labradors Smell?

Why Does Labradors Smell So Bad

Labradors can have a distinctive smell, often described as a “doggy odor“. It is more noticeable to visitors unfamiliar with dogs. In Labs, it is often more pronounced than in other breeds.

Their thick double-layer coat, which is water-repellent, tends to retain odors longer.

With proper care managing this smell is entirely possible, ensuring your Lab remains a pleasant companion.

Proper grooming is essential in controlling your Labrador’s smell. The double-layered coat can trap water and scents if not maintained. Regular brushing and timely baths are key to keeping them smelling fresh.

While some owners find the scent of their Labs comforting, others may notice a more pronounced doggy odor. This variability underscores the importance of personalized grooming routines.

Not all smells are unwelcome, and some Labrador owners appreciate the natural scent their pets carry.

It’s crucial to distinguish between normal canine aromas and those indicating a health issue. Regular vet check-ups can help identify any underlying problems contributing to bad smells.

Labradors are adventurous, often finding themselves in muddy or wet situations that can exacerbate their natural aroma. Cleaning them after such excursions prevents lingering smells and keeps their coat in good condition.

Natural secretions from a Labrador’s body, particularly from areas not covered by fur like ears and paw pads, contribute to their overall scent. Attention to these areas during grooming can reduce unpleasant odors.

15 Reasons Why Your Labrador Smells Bad

Chocolate Labrador rolls in a dirty puddle

1) Wet Dog Smell

That unmistakable wet dog smell that greets you when your Lab returns from a rainy adventure or a joyful swim is due to their coat trapping moisture.

This trapped moisture amplifies their natural scent until they are fully dry. Ensuring your Lab is thoroughly dried after getting wet can help minimize this odor.

2) Mouth Odors

Intense or unusual odors emanating from your Lab’s mouth signal more than just bad breath.

They could be indicators of serious health issues like diabetes or even cancer.

Immediate action is necessary if these odors persist, as they can signify underlying conditions that require medical attention.

3) Skin Problems

A Labrador’s skin can become a fertile breeding ground for bacteria if it becomes too dry or itchy. This is often due to various conditions that can lead to skin infections, producing bad smells.

Prompt and appropriate treatment is crucial to prevent these infections and the resulting aromas.

4) Ear Infections

The long ear flaps characteristic of Labs can unfortunately lead to infections, which may emit a distinct, corn chip-like aroma. Regular ear checks are essential to identify and prevent these infections early on, avoiding the smelly consequences.

5) Gas Attacks

Unexpected gas from your Lab might seem like just an unpleasant part of pet ownership, but it can also indicate underlying digestive problems. If your Lab is experiencing frequent gas, it’s worth a visit to the vet to rule out any serious health issues.

6) Anal Sac Issues

Blocked anal glands in your Lab produce a very distinct and unpleasant smell, signaling a need for medical intervention. This condition is uncomfortable for your dog and requires prompt veterinary care to resolve.

In the video below you can see explains and detailed tips from Dr. Lera:

7) Environmental Factors

Active dogs like Labs can easily pick up odors from their environment. Whether it’s a roll in something smelly in the grass or a dive into a muddy puddle, these adventures can leave them carrying odors until they’re properly cleaned.

8) Illness or Infection

An unusually intense or foul smell emanating from your Lab could be a warning sign of an underlying illness or infection. Keep an eye out for other symptoms and consult with a veterinarian if the scent persists or worsens.

9) Hormonal Changes

Even after spaying or neutering, Labs can produce pheromones detectable by humans. These natural hormonal changes can contribute to their overall scent profile, adding another layer to their unique smell.

In the video below you can see some complications after spaying your dog:

10) Dietary Considerations

The food your Lab eats plays a significant role in their overall scent. Changes in diet can affect their scent, so it’s important to consult with a veterinarian to ensure their food is not only nutritious but also doesn’t contribute to bad smells.

11) Skin Fold Pyoderma

Labs with skin folds are particularly prone to infections if these areas aren’t kept dry, leading to a musty or sour odor. Regular cleaning and drying of these folds are critical to prevent infection and the associated smells.

12) Impacted Anal Glands

When a Lab’s anal glands are impacted, they can cause significant discomfort along with a bad smell. This condition often leads to a Lab scooting on the ground, a sign that a vet visit is in order.

13) Gingivitis and Dental Issues

Poor oral hygiene in Labs can lead to tartar buildup, gingivitis, and ultimately, foul breath. Regular dental care, including brushing and professional cleanings, is vital to prevent these odorous issues.

14) Environmental Allergies

Allergies can cause a Lab’s skin to produce a foul-smelling oil. Identifying and treating these allergies is crucial in managing this issue and preventing the associated bad scents.

In the video below you can see a few ways to minimize allergies at home from Karen Becker:

15) Stress or Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can manifest physically in Labs, including causing changes in their scent. Addressing the root cause of these emotional issues is important for their overall well-being and can help mitigate any related smells.

7 Tips to Make Your Lab Smell Better

1) Regular Bathing Keeps Your Lab Fresh

A clean Lab is a fresh-smelling Lab.

Labrador Retriever typically requires a bath once a month.

Use a dog-friendly shampoo to match your pet’s skin type. Ensure to rinse thoroughly to avoid shampoo residue that can cause odors. Regular bathing removes dirt and reduces smells, keeping your Labrador Retriever smelling good.

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Treat your pet to a soothing bath experience with natural ingredients like oatmeal and aloe vera. Experience the difference in their coat and skin – softer, cleaner, and fresher than ever before.

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2) Brush Your Labrador

Brushing not only removes loose fur but also spreads natural oils across the coat. This practice minimizes odors and promotes a healthy, shiny coat.

Make brushing a routine part of your Lab’s care to prevent bad smells and manage shedding effectively.

Our Pick

The Hertzko Self-Cleaning Brush is a lifesaver for pet owners with tangled and knotted fur. It works seamlessly on pets of all sizes and coat types. The comb’s uniquely crafted bristles navigate through thick fur, effectively removing mats and tangles without causing any discomfort.

The brush’s clever design includes a bristle retraction button, simplifying clean-up and prepping it for the next use in no time.

3) Take Care of Their Teeth

Bad breath doesn’t have to be a norm for your Labrador Retriever. Use a dog toothbrush and toothpaste for daily brushing. Dental treats help too. This care reduces tartar, combats foul breath, and prevents dental diseases. A fresh breath is a sign of good oral hygiene.

4) Ear Care Is Crucial

Ear infections can lead to smelly issues. Keep your Lab’s ears clean and dry. Not all dogs need frequent ear cleanings, so consult your vet. Proper ear care prevents odor-causing infections and keeps your Lab’s ears healthy.

5) Grooming Is Key

Routine grooming goes beyond a shiny coat. It includes bathing, ear and nail care, and even dental hygiene. Regular visits to a professional groomer can help manage your Lab’s smell. They can address issues like anal sac odors. Grooming is essential for your Lab’s overall well-being and scent.

6) Embrace a Healthy Diet

Your Lab’s diet affects their smell.

High-quality dog food leads to a healthier, better-smelling pet. Consult your vet for dietary recommendations.

Including raw meats, dog-friendly fruits, and certain herbs can improve your Lab’s scent. Control portion sizes to prevent overfeeding.

7) Keep Their Bedding Clean

A clean sleeping area is essential. Regularly wash and disinfect your Lab’s bedding to prevent scents. This practice also minimizes the risk of infections and skin issues.

Clean bedding supports a clean, fresh-smelling Lab. Consider investing in a high-quality bed specifically designed for Labradors to ensure optimal comfort and support for your furry friend.

How to Get Rid of Labrador Smell in Your Home

Grooming Essentials

Grooming goes beyond aesthetics, it’s crucial for odor control. Engage in regular grooming and remove dead hair to minimize Labrador body scent.

A clean vacuum is pivotal, preventing the spread of odors as you clean. Tackle this task with the right tools and a gentle approach to protect your dog’s coat while keeping your home fresh.

Refresh Your Air

Air fresheners and filters can transform the scent of your space. Opt for natural charcoal purifiers or automatic air fresheners to keep the air clean. These solutions absorb and neutralize pet odors, making your home more inviting.

The Power of Cleaning Agents

Utilize diluted white vinegar and baking soda for a deep clean. These natural cleaners effectively neutralize odors that have penetrated fabrics and carpets.

Safe and effective, they’re a go-to for pet owners aiming for a fresh-smelling home.

Commercial Solutions

When choosing commercial scent removers, prioritize dog-safe options. Products designed to neutralize or mask odors can be highly effective, provided they’re non-toxic and safe for areas frequented by your Labrador.

Deep Clean Regularly

Invest time in deep cleaning to combat dog scents. Wash your dog’s bedding, replace air filters, and open windows to air out your home.

An air purifier, alongside essential oil diffusers or scented candles, can further aid in maintaining a pleasant scent indoors.


In wrapping up, it’s clear that while Labs can have a distinct smell, it often boils down to manageable causes like grooming, diet, or health issues.

Happy, healthy Lab is a fresher-smelling companion. Regular care and occasional vet checks can make a world of difference. Now, we’d love to hear from you!

Share your tips or stories about keeping your Labrador smelling great in the comments below. Let’s help each other keep our furry friends as delightful to the nose as they are to the heart!

Daniel Rowe
Daniel Rowe
Daniel is an experienced writer who specializes in canine topics. He has gained firsthand knowledge from years of research and engagement with dogs. This has given him deep expertise in breed profiles, behavior insights, and more. Fellow dog enthusiasts recognize Daniel for his authoritative content. He is dedicated to sharing reliable and trustworthy information. He is committed to enriching the lives of dog lovers through his writing.
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