All dogs have a smell. Breeds with particularly oily skin, like Labradors, more so than others. But if the smell is becoming overpowering you might need some help, and we’ve outlined some tips and tricks below to keep that doggy aroma pleasant.

First though, what causes the smell at all? Well, dogs have got oily skin by nature, and bacteria can feed on that oil, giving off an odor in the process. In addition, your dog has glands in its ears and bum that can be particularly smelly if left untreated. Like humans, dogs let off wind, and their teeth and gums can get smelly too. Then there’s the obvious: dogs love to play outdoors and if your furry friend is stinking out the house, are you sure they haven’t rolled in something?

Make bath time a priority

Sit your dog in the bath and use the shower head to wet your dog in warm water. Then, liberally apply doggy shampoo to the head and coat – avoiding the eyes and ears and nose – before rinsing off with the warm water.

You can follow this up with conditioner if you like, though it’s not strictly necessary (if you do, simply follow the same steps as above).

Your dog is going to want to get rid off any excess water, and that’s no problem. When it’s finished shaking out its coat, dry it with a towel, or even use the hairdryer if you can get away with it. Keeping your dog dry after a bath is a priority – that damp smell is half the problem, and besides, aromas tend to latch on to wet fur in the blink of an eye.

Change your dog’s diet

If your dog is breaking wind like there’s no tomorrow then it’s time to change what it’s eating. Opt for foods free of lactose and don’t be afraid to throw a few “human” foods into the mix. Things like rice are good for your dog’s tummy, as are lean meats, liver and even peanut butter.

On the other hand, don’t your dog pick up scraps off the dinner table because to eliminate the wind, you want to keep meal-time as consistent as possible. Choose a few key foods and stick to them, then monitor the results.

Give your dog a lesson in proper hygiene

Just like humans, dogs need to be washed thoroughly, and that includes their teeth and ears.

Invest in a doggy toothbrush (making sure you get one appropriate for the size of your pet) and buy doggy toothpaste to go along with it (your Colgate isn’t going to go down well).

Lift up your dog’s gums and get to work with the brush. In the event your dog resists, use toothpaste applied to the tip of your finger instead, and slowly train your dog to get used to the routine as you work your way to the brush.

The ears are next, a common source of unpleasant odor. Get an ear cleaning kit from your vet. Once you’ve got your dog in front of you, pick up the flap of the ear and put some of the solution inside your dog’s ear canal. Your dog will shake its head to get rid of the excess wax, and once he or she is done, you can clean up the rest using a cotton swab.

Other top tips include brushing your dog regularly and washing its bedding. In the case of the latter, don’t use strongly-scented detergents as your dog will be disturbed by the smell (they’ve got a sense of smell that far exceeds our own). In terms of regularity, it’s a good idea to brush your dog daily and wash its bedding weekly.

So there you have it – some practical ways to eliminate unpleasant doggy smells around your house. Of course, if the smell doesn’t go away and you’re worried, get your dog looked at by a vet – it never hurts to source a professional second opinion.