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It's summertime and traveling with dogs in cars is likely happening more frequently; so is that smell of wet dog. The wet dog smell isn't one that most people enjoy, so rather than avoid car travel with your dog, try these ideas and techniques for preventing and treating wet dog smell.
Get to the Root of the Problem
That wet dog smell is caused by bacteria that thrives in moisture. Drying your dog with a dryer is the most effective way to get the fur dry down to the skin and reduce bacteria growth. Towel dry before getting in the car and then use a dryer as soon as you get home.
Brush your dog before he jumps in the water. Brushing will reduce the hair that accumulates when traveling with dogs in the car. Additionally, those few strokes will prepare your dog's skin and coat to react better to getting wet and drying quickly. PetMD advises to use a brush that works best with your breed and is gentle on your dog's skin.
Super Seat Cover
One way to easily get rid of the wet dog smell in your car is to use a giant old sheet to cover the back seat of your car. You can tie the ends to the backs of the front seats and keep all the wetness and odor contained on the sheet. When you get home, just pull out the sheet and place it in the laundry!
Must Haves for Traveling with Dogs in Car
It's a good idea to keep a small container in your car trunk for unexpected wet dog incidents. Place these items in a container with a lid: two towels, baking soda, and white vinegar. Dry your dog with one of the towels and then put a mixture of 50:50 vinegar and water on his coat and dry some more, working the vinegar (note that vinegar may be slightly irritating to some dog's skin, so testing a small patch on your dog's skin to assess for reaction before use on his entire coat/skin is important) into his skin. This will help kill bacteria and the smell of vinegar will fade in a few minutes. Drive with the windows down to dry your dog and your seats. Finally, when you get home, sprinkle some baking soda on your seats and carpets to absorb moisture and odor, and vacuum as soon as possible. OR, you can leave a small box of baking soda open in your car overnight to absorb odor.
Pamper and Prevent
By bathing your dog every ten to fourteen days you can actually help prevent natural oil buildup that can make a wet dog smell worse. If you notice your pup's skin gets irritated by bathing or from irritants outside, use an all-natural dog shampoo and consider switching to a dog food that is formulated for skin health.
When All Else Fails, Try Charcoal
Crumbled charcoal works well at absorbing odors. If you have a dark interior, let the crumbled charcoal sit in the car overnight and then vacuum up with a wet/dry vacuum in the morning. You can also put a few pieces of charcoal in an empty coffee canister, and poke a few holes in the lid to allow the moisture to make its way to the charcoal. This will help reduce the mess of having charcoal in your car.
Wet dog smell doesn't have to take over your car if you try these easy methods to prevent and treat the odor. So, get out there and have a blast with your pal!
Chrissie Klinger is an educator, writer, and mother of two children, three dogs, and three cats. She enjoys living an active and eco-friendly lifestyle.