Are You Nose Blind to Your Dog's Stink?
Whether it's smelly breath (the worst) or a smelly coat, no one wants to be around a rancid smelling pooch. A friend of ours recently brought her dog to visit and I literally had to hold my breath. Then, eventually, breathing from my mouth because her dog (who, lovingly, sat in front of me waiting to pet him) had sh*t breath so bad it could have knocked an elephant on its behind, I asked in earnest, "Can you not smell that?" She turned to look at me,"Smell what?" she replied, clueless. Ugh. She had become nose blind to her dog's stink.
Oftentimes, when we're around something smelly for a long time, our noses become "blind" to the smell. Whether it's the smell of lavender or garlic, a litter box or a damp dog, even though we can't smell it, it doesn't mean everyone around us can't smell it. Though Corsos for the most part don't smell, some of them can begin to get a yeasty smell - especially the dilutes (formentino, blue brindle) - and, since many can develop skin issues, keeping them clean is super important. In this blog post, we'll share some tips that have worked for us to keep our dogs fresh and clean.
Start them young: We bathe our dogs from puppy on up. By four weeks of age, any puppy in our care has had at least one bath. After four weeks, they are bathed weekly a) so they don't smell horrendous (puppies in whelping boxes are notoriously smelly no matter how frequently you clean their box) and b) so they learn that water and baths are fun. Our pups are popped in our oversized, stainless steel, farmhouse sink where we run warm water over them and allow it to fill in around their feet. They frequently lean down and start drinking the bath water so we make sure we're using something that is non-toxic and safe for puppies to cleanse them. One of our favorites is Richard's Organics (we use their flea and tick spray and powder as well - they're products smell like a spa visit) and Burt's Bees puppy wash. We shampoo them twice, then rinse them thoroughly. When rinsing, we run the water over the heads so that they get used to having water near their ears and eyes and noses. We make sure there's a towel on the floor or counter (wherever we're drying them, depending on their size) to absorb water from their feet and bodies, as well as two dry towels for body drying - one for the first overall dry and a second to make sure they're extra dry. Afterward, we let them run around the kitchen to play and continue drying off.
Bathe them regularly: Our big dogs get bathed (not as frequently as our puppies) regularly. We try not to bathe them more than once a month because we don't want to strip their bodies of the natural oils they produce to keep their skin and coats supple and healthy but, Cassius, for example, a formentino, requires more frequent bathing than our brindles because he'll start to smell. His coat is thinner and his skin is oilier than our other dogs he'll start to smell "greasy." Since he's been bathed since he was a baby, all I have to do is ask him if he wants to take a bath and he'll happily run to the bathroom, hop in the tub, and sit down. Depending on what is going on with his skin, I've used special horse shampoo that was recommended by my equine vet, I've used CBD shampoo to balance his greasy/flaky coat, and I've used Richards oatmeal shampoo for him as well. For his bath, Cassius gets lukewarm water as hot or very warm water can cause more dryness. I use the shower head to rinse him, he gets shampooed twice and then rinsed thoroughly. Cassius lets me blow dry his coat after he's been towel dried which I tend to do so he doesn't have moisture in his armpits or groin that can fester and turn in to yeast. He loves his bath time and then he's allowed on the couch and in our bed as a treat.
Clean their bedding: While he's getting bathed, I throw his bedding into the washing machine (I use dye-free, fragrance-free laundry detergent to wash his things since he has sensitive skin).
Lots of people have asked us why we don't bathe our dogs at the Pet Smart or the Pet Value (our Pet Value stores recently closed) when they have those awesome grooming stations. For us, it's a matter of safety. Cassius is not a social dog and I would hate to cause a scene when he bellows, T-Rex style, at an innocent bystander dog just there to get a bath. And, second, because we have a breeding program, we do not our dogs to dog parks or other areas where Parvo and other dog-related illnesses and communicable diseases are spread. So, unfortunately, as much as I would love to be able to take advantage of those amazing set ups, we cannot run the risk of putting our dogs into a situation where we could possibly bring something home to our pack. *sad face*
What dog washing techniques have you mastered? What has worked best for your dog? Please feel free to share or drop a comment as we're always interested in sharing tips, education, and best practices with our canine community!