The 6 Best Essential Oils for Your Stinky Dog

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Finally, Ginger, my youngest pup, got her adult coat in.

She recently turned seven, and honestly, I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

Now she has a beautiful thick coat, but quite unfortunately and expectantly, her hair is very dense.

A heavy coat in Minnesota may sound like a good thing, but the density of it causes the natural oils to get trapped against her body. The lack of airflow through her hair creates a less than desirable fragrance.

To put it bluntly, she is a stinky girl!

And being that she is allowed on the furniture, it makes it even less desirable.

Although we bathe her regularly, too many baths will result in her having irritated skin.

So, in between, I use essential oils to help keep her and our home smelling better.

Something I have noticed when talking to other pet parents suffering from stinky dogs is that they focus only on the dog and forget about their bedding and furniture.

If I bathe Ginger, but she goes and lays on her bed, she’ll be back to her old odorous self in no time.

So, it’s equally important that I keep the bedding and furniture clean and smelling good as well.

What Causes Dogs to Be Stinky?

Why dog stinky smelly skin oils fur furniture bedding how to deodorize
A stinky dog in need of de-stinkification

Dogs can be stinky for a variety of reasons.

Some breeds are more prone to being odoriferous, breeds like poodles, spaniels, pugs, bulldogs, and basset hounds[1].

Dogs who are naturally more fragrant tend to have more natural oils in their skin, a dense coat, or skin folds that trap moisture resulting in a unique smell.

They can also pick up bad smells from their environment. Swapping their bedding to cedar can help with this.

There are some reasons that dogs can become smelly that may warrant a vet visit. Things like:

  • Anal gland issues
  • Allergies
  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections

Possible Side Effects to Using Essential Oils

Lavender essential oil deodorize smelly canine companion cautions risks
Like humans, dogs can have allergies and sensitivities so keep an eye on how they react to any essential oil!

Though rare, some dogs can have sensitivities to essential oils.

These sensitivities may occur when oils are used topically or when inhaled from aromatherapy.

It is vital to pay attention to your dog for the first 24 hours after exposing your pup to essential oils to ensure there are no adverse reactions.

Common side effects seen from essential oils are:

  • Sneezing or coughing
  • GI upset
  • Skin irritation and inflammation.

Using Essential Oils On Smelly Dogs

How to use essential oils to deodorize dogs spray rub in furBefore jumping into the best essential oils for stinky dogs, it is important to point out the need to use a carrier oil or other liquid to dilute the oils.

Undiluted oils can cause severe skin irritations or even burns.

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There are a few different ways to use essential oils for stinky dogs. They are:

Deodorant Sprays

My favorite one is a Martha Stewart recipe[2].

You will need:

Spray this directly onto your dog’s fur but don’t get any in their eyes or face!


For shampoos, you can make your own using baby shampoo or dog shampoo.

For about 350 ml of shampoo, you can use 20 drops of oil.How to make your own deodorant shampoo for smelly dogs with essential oils

Again, I would limit the number of different oils used per shampoo.

Some good shampoos to add essential oils to are:

Then, bathe your dog as you would normally.

Room Sprays

I use a modified Martha Stewart recipe[3].

You will need:

  • Dark glass spray bottle
  • 1 Cup distilled water
  • 1 Cup witch hazel
  • 20-30 drops of essential oils – Can be made up of multiple oils, though I would recommend only 2-3 different oils

The Best Essential Oils for Your Stinky Dog

It should be noted that not essential oils smell like the plant they come from.

Additionally, it is a good idea to try small sample batches when mixing different oils since not all recipes smell fabulous.

OilLatin NameHow to UseUse WithPrice
LavenderLavandula angustifoliaDeodorant, Diffuser, Shampoo, Room SprayGerman Chamomile$$

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German ChamomileMatricaria recutitaDeodorant, Diffuser, Shampoo, Room SprayLavender, Sweet Marjoram$$$$

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Sweet MarjoramOriganum marjoranaDiffuser, Room SprayPeppermint, Lavender$$

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Rose OttoRosa DamanscenaDeodorant, Diffuser, ShampooGerman Chamomile, Myrrh$$$

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CedarwoodCedrus atlanticaDeodorant, Diffuser, Shampoo, Room SprayRose, Lavender$

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Carrot SeedDaucus carotaDeodorant, ShampooCedarwood, Rose$$

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What it Does

Cliganic essential oil lavender review recommendations how to use
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Lavender essential oil smells much like the lavender flower, just a lot more potent.

English lavender is the best and safest option to use on or around your dog.

Dr. Randy Kidd, DVM[4], states that French lavender (commonly found in essential oils) should be avoided as it can be toxic.

How it Works

In addition to having a pleasant smell, lavender has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Both of these can help kill bad odors caused by bacteria and microorganisms.

Also, lavender is known to aid in managing dermatitis.

How to Use Lavender

Lavender can be used in shampoos, deodorizing room sprays, dog deodorants, and diffusers.


Excessive consumption or exposure to lavender can have severe consequences, so it is important to use lavender conservatively.

Additional Benefits

  • Fights depression and anxiety
  • Insect repellent
  • Relieves itchiness
  • Helps with focus and clarity

Best Oils to Combine with Lavender:

Product Recommendation

German Chamomile

What it Does

German chamomile therapeutic grade deodorizing essential oil mix recipe
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It is said that German chamomile has a sweet, smoky smell[6].

How it Works

German chamomile has bactericidal properties, which aids in killing bacteria associated with unpleasant odors.

How to Use German Chamomile

Chamomile can be used as a shampoo, deodorant, or room spray.

Note that if you have a dog with anxiety, mixing this with lavender into a body spray can also help reduce your dog’s stress.

I use it on Sophie during storms.


Chamomile is generally safe to use with dogs, both externally and internally[5].

However, like all things, there is a rare chance some dogs may have an allergic reaction to chamomile.

Additional Benefits

  • Reduces anxiety
  • Muscle relaxer
  • Sedative

Best Oils to Combine with German Chamomile

Product Recommendation

Sweet Marjoram

What it Does

Plant therapy 100% pure sweet marjoram essential oil for stinky pets
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Sweet Marjoram has a warm spicy smell, much like the herb it comes from.

How it Works

Though Marjoram lacks the antibacterial properties of other oils, it does have a pleasant fragrance.

Additionally, Marjoram has various medicinal properties, making it a valuable oil to have on hand.

How to Use Sweet Marjoram

Sweet Marjoram should only be used as a room spray or in a diffuser.

Do not use this on your dog’s bedding or other areas your dog lays on.

Marjoram can be mixed with oils possessing antibacterial properties to add to its effectiveness.

Also, the warm spicy aroma compliments many of the floral oils.


Sweet Marjoram can cause severe GI upset, so be sure your dog does ingest any.

Additional Benefits

  • Insect repellent
  • Ear infections
  • Analgesic
  • Antiseptic

Best Oils to Combine with Sweet Marjoram

Product Recommendation

Rose Otto

What it Does

Gya labs rose otto inexpensive cheap essential oil to make dog smell better
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Rose Otto essential oils smell fabulous and have the added benefit of helping reduce anxiety and stress.

Pure rose essential oils are very expensive, so Rose Otto is the more conventional oil.

The difference between the two is that Rose Otto is steam distilled from the petals versus the much more costly method, supercritical carbon dioxide extraction9.

How it Works

Rose oil is a very potent oil, so a little will go a long way in helping to deodorize your dog and home.

Also, the rose oil has bactericidal properties which reduce bacteria growth[7]. Another benefit of rose oil is that it aids in relieving dermatitis.

How to Use Rose Otto

Rose oil can be mixed as a dog deodorizer, aromatherapy, or shampoo.

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, this is a good option for shampoos and deodorizer sprays to help relieve skin irritations or infections.


Rose oil is relatively safe, but due to a dog’s sensitive nose, less is more when using rose oil.

Additional Benefits

  • Insect repellent
  • Reduces depression and stress
  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-inflammatory

Best Oils to Combine with Rose Otto

Product Recommendation


What it Does

Nature's Oil organic cedarwood essential oil flea scent stink control
Click the image for more info

For those looking for a less floral smell, cedarwood has a fabulous, rich, woodsy oil.

Also, it blends well with several other oils to create a more complex aroma.

How it Works

Cedarwood’s rich aromatic nature helps to improve the smell of both dogs and homes.

Though it lacks as a bactericidal, it does have antiseptic qualities that are great to help disinfect.

Also, it is an excellent choice for shampoos for dogs with skin issues.

Because of cedarwood’s antiseptic qualities, it can aid in healing skin infections. Plus, cedarwood is the ideal option in helping to manage oily skin.

It can also be used to control fleas, too!

How to Use Cedarwood

Cedarwood can be used aromatically or directly on the skin.


Cedarwood is a low-risk oil, but ingestion is not recommended.

Additional Benefits

  • Promotes good skin health
  • Relieves dermatitis
  • Insect repellent

Best Oils to Combine with Cedarwood

Product Recommendation

Carrot Seed

What it Does

Edens Garden carrot seed oil recipe how to use to help smelly pet dog
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Carrot seed oil is not one of the better-known oils, but it works great to promote healthy skin.

It has a mildly sweet earthy-nutty aroma and would balance well with vibrant or floral oils.

How it Works

Carrot seed oil is most often used in skin care[8], specifically for dogs suffering from allergies or dry skin.

Because of its antiseptic nature, it is an excellent choice for dogs with skin infections or irritations.

Additionally, carrot seed oil is said to have regenerative properties that promote healing.

How to Use Carrot Seed Oil

This oil is best used in shampoos or dog deodorizing sprays rubbed into the skin.


Carrot seed oil is relatively safe, but has only been suggested for external use.

Additional Benefits

  • Promotes good skin health
  • Antiseptic properties

Best Oils to Combine with Carrot Seed Oil

Product Recommendation

Final Thoughts

Though I love trying essential oils for various issues and ailments around the home, I would say that essential oils for stinky dogs is one of the best uses.

Not only do most of the oils help to improve your dog’s smell, but many of the oils also have properties that promote healthy skin. Also, several of the oils assist in relieving pain, itchiness, inflammation, and irritated skin conditions.

Additionally, I love that many of the oils also have antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities.

These elements help to reduce the bacteria and microorganisms that cause bad smells.

Finally, I feel that using essential oils to reduce bad smells is a lot safer than most commercial air fresheners and dog deodorizers.


  8. Peiris, Shehan. Essential Oils For Your Pet. Shehan Peiris, 2015.

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