There’s Some Serious Chemistry Behind That Funky Wet-Dog Smell

Wet dogs

I am quite sure that most dog owners notice that funky smell every time their dog is wet.  Today I am going to share some of the things that cause the infamous foul wet-dog smell.

Microscopic molecules travel through the air and as we breathe in, these molecules get in contact with our olfactory sensory neurons, which are located deep inside our nose.  This part of our nose signals our brain and enables us to identify different kind of smell; Pizza! Fried chicken!

Volatile organic acids which are produced by bacteria from fats, that are broken down from sweat; make the unpleasant odor in canines, according to Dr. David Williams, from the University of Cambridge Veterinary School.

The popular Staphylococcus bacteria are found in the skin of most dogs.   These bacteria don’t produce any smell but it also contains yeasts, which is really smelly.

So why is the smell so funky when dogs are wet?  Dogs smell bad when they are wet because of the evaporation process, which increase the amount of volatile organic acids in their skin.  The water are absorbed on the canine’s hair and as it evaporate, it intensifies the number of molecules in the air that we smell.

Did you know that dogs can identify that funky wet-dog smell?  Well, the answer is yes.  Dogs can also smell the unpleasant odor they have when they’re wet.  In fact, they will sniff other dogs that are wet in a different way compared to others who are dry.

Now that you what causes your beloved pooch to stink so bad when they’re wet — you can stop putting the blame on them, because it’s really not their fault.  I think it’s just a part of nature.  Just like us humans, we do stink too when we sweat a lot.  The only difference is that we are not furry like our canine friends, which is an advantage to us.  Plus, we use a lot of products that help us smell good either we get wet by our own sweat or get wet with water.

The next you see your dog wet and you smell that funky scent, don’t just sit and sniff him. Instead, get a towel and dry your pooch. I’m sure you will get a lot of love and it will get rid of the foul odor as well.

Image via Pirate Scott at

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