How To Handle A Stinky Shiba Inu (Complete Guide)


shiba inu being dried off after a bath

While Shiba Inus are overly clean and cat-like when it comes to personal hygiene they can still develop an odor. While a bath helps bathing too frequently does damage a Shiba’s coat.

Shiba Inus are generally an “odor free” breed due to their high standards of personal hygiene. A regular bath every 3 to 6 months helps remove loose fur and keeps their skin clean. If you notice your Shiba still has an odor after bathing you need to start looking at the environment around them.

Here are all the specifics, tips, and tricks I learned about helping keep my own Shiba Inu happy, healthy, clean, and odor free.

Why Your Shiba Inu May Stink

Shiba Inus are known for being exceptionally clean and “cat-like” when it comes to their coat, paws, and even smell. Shibas, unlike other dog breeds, rarely get that “dirty” or “musky” dog smell.

Shiba Inus spend so much time and attention keeping themselves clean that most owners only give them a bath once or twice a year. Typically during peak shedding seasonOpens in a new tab., twice a year, or when they are excessively dirty, like covered in mud, where it’s too much for them to clean on their own.

  • Making the times your Shiba Inu does smell stand out. While they are clean freaks there are times they won’t be able to help themselves, like:
  • Bad breathOpens in a new tab.
  • Ear infections
  • Food allergies (can show as a skin condition or odor)Opens in a new tab.
  • Rolled around in pee
  • Skin condition (due to yeast or bacteria)
  • Swam in dirty water
  • They got sprayed by a skunk

Having a routine bathing schedule helps eliminate most odor and excess shedding issues most Shiba Inu owners run into.

Common Bathing Questions

Are scented shampoo bad for dogs?

Pet soaps and shampoos that advertise having “scents” or “fragrances” are best avoided. Fragrances, especially if listed as an ingredient, are used to mask and hide many harmful chemicals that would damage your dog’s skin and fur. Avoid dog shampoo products that list the following as ingredients:

  • Artificial colors
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fragrance
  • Paraben (butylparaben, methylparaben, or propylparaben)
  • Phthalates

Can I bathe my dog with Epsom salt?

Epsom salt baths are generally safe for most pets, baring open wounds or specific skin conditions, consult a veterinarian first. Epsom salt baths help relieve aches and pains related to sore pads and muscles. Unlike other bathing products, Epsom salt does very little to help remedy any odor your dog may have.

It’s best to keep your pet from ingesting Epsom salt or bath water while using Epsom salt. Epsom salt can cause digestion issues and has a natural laxative effect. Do your best to keep it out of their ears and eyes.

Can I Febreze my dog?

Febreze is designed to be used on cloths and fabrics, not for direct use on people or pets. Febreze has a number of harsh chemicals that are highly toxic for animals to directly ingests or breath in. It’s best to safely secured your pet in another room until the product has dried.

Can I put coconut oil on my dog?

Virgin coconut oil, in moderation, is safe for dogs to eat or have applied to their skin or fur; however, it’s not a soap or shampoo alternative. Coconut products are also high in natural fats, which can lead to weight gain. Allergies are rare, but check with your vet before using coconut products.

Can I put essential oils on my dog?

Essential oils are not safe for use directly on or near dogs. Many essential oils are highly toxic for pets causing allergic reactions, mood changes, and respiratory problems. It’s best to contact your veterinarian before using essential oils or diffusers in your home. Some know toxic essential oils for dogs are:

  • Cinnamon oil
  • Citrus oil
  • Pennyroyal oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Pine oil
  • Sweet Birch oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Wintergreen oil
  • Ylang Ylang

Can I spray cologne or perfume on my dog?

Colognes and perfumes are mixed, tested, and ph balanced for human skin. While that balance works well for us it’s harmful for your dog’s skin and coat, easily causing an allergic reaction. Perfumes and colognes also have a strong scent or fragrance that is extremely intense and stressful for pets.

Can I use baby wipes to clean my dog?

Baby wipes are chemically balanced to safely and effectively clean specifically human skin. Your dog’s skin is sensitive to cleaning chemicals, leading to dry skin and allergic reactions. If you want to quickly wipe your dog off purchase pet specific wipes to keep them safe and healthy.

Can I use human shampoo on my dog?

It’s best do avoid using shampoos designed for people on your dog. While a dog’s skin is thicker its more sensitive when it comes to the different chemicals, fragrances, and ingredients found in our soap products. Pet specific shampoos avoid damaging their skin and fur, where ours would.

Does baking soda get rid of dog smell?

Baking soda is a great way to quickly neutralize any odor your dog has. It is safe to give dogs a quick “dry bath” using a small amount of baking soda. Lightly dust it over your pet’s back, avoiding their head, and gently rub it into their fur. Once done, thoroughly brush out their coatOpens in a new tab..

Is lavender bad for dogs?

Lavender contains a small amount of linalool, which is toxic to both dogs and cats if ingested in large quantities. Lavender, when used in moderation, can help sooth a pet’s stress and anxiety. While mild exposure isn’t a problem excessive exposer to lavender can cause vomiting and a lack of appetite.

Should I give my dog a bath or a shower?

The vast majority of pets prefer baths over showers for one core reason, noise. Showers, compared to baths, are overly noisy and stressful for pets due to their stronger sense of hearing. That excess noise causes most dogs to start barking and panicking to escape.

What To Do If Your Pet Still Smells After Bathing

Surprisingly enough it’s possible to “over bathe” your pet. This happens by giving your Shiba Inu a bath too frequently, striping the natural oils from their skin and coat. That excess lose of natural oils tells their bodies to over produce to compensate, leading to unnatural build ups of dirt, grime, and odor-inducing bacteria.

But frequent baths aren’t the only possible reason your four-legged friend still reeks. Some other potential causes are:

  • Diseased teeth
  • Fungal growth
  • Infected anal glands
  • Skin infections
  • Tumor infections

Each one requires a different approach, so it’s best to contact your vet if your Shiba’s “smell” sticks around after a bath or two.

Thankfully the cause isn’t always something serious, it could easily be something minor that you can quickly help them out with. Some simple ways you can remedy “post bath odors” are:

  • Cleaning their bedding monthly
  • Giving them a dry bath (if they had a wet bath in the last few weeks)
  • Having a good oral care routine
  • Regularly brushing them weekly

Each one is quick, simple, and keeps both you and your Shiba Inu happy and healthy. If you are looking for more guidance on grooming your Shiba InuOpens in a new tab. take a look at another one of my articles: One Stop Shop For Shiba Inu Grooming (Schedules IncludedOpens in a new tab.).

Colby Adkins

I am a proud Shiba Inu owner who is just looking to share any tips, tricks, or advice I have to help others.

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