Let’s face it…

wet-dogDogs Love To Get Wet

But while they may enjoy the feeling of water, it comes with a consequence…


While I have met some dog owners who are fond of that wet-dog smell, most people find the scent off-putting if not completely unbearable. After all, not many people would be fond of the musty, sickly-sweet, and sulfurous emanations arising from humanity’s best friend.

Many may wonder what causes this offending outburst of olfactory oppression. Not surprisingly, the answer is microbes. Millions of these tiny creatures live in dog hair although most of the time, they are slow growing and do not give off much of a scent.

But, with the introduction of water, many bacterial species become just as happy as wet Fido or damp Fluffy. The microbes grow, multiply, eat and of course, rid themselves of waste. However, as there is no microbial toilet available, these unwanted – and usually smelly – molecules are jettisoned into the fur. As the dog dries, many of these chemicals evaporate into the air and eventually reach our nostrils.

Yet, even though we know WHY dogs smell, there is still the question of WHAT exactly is making you…well…

Hold Thy Nose!

To find that out, the great team over at Compound Interest took on the task of identifying the chemicals causing the cringe and crinkling. The result is the following infographic with everything you need to know about that smell.

You can find a larger version of this image and more information here: The Chemistry Behind the Smell of Wet Dogs As you can see, many of the chemicals have a rather reasonable aroma in isolation. But merge them together and you end up with a concoction certain to cause cerebral craze.

Thankfully, there is an easy answer to this conundrum to alleviate all concern. It’s simple and most of the time even enjoyable…at least for the dogs…



So…have you ever had to deal with the wet dog smell? If so, how do you find the aroma? Is it pleasing or putrid? Can you stand it for long or do you have a bath waiting in the wings?

Let me know your thoughts!