There’s that old saying- “It smells like a dog”- you know what I am talking about right? After all dogs perspire from their paws, hair follicles, noses and even ears! When you start to notice that pungent, musky smell that means it’s time for Fido to get a bath!
For a newly freed mill dog the smell is on a whole different level, and it can last beyond that first bath…. Imagine that dog is several years old and has never had a bath. Then consider it has lived its whole life in a cage, the same cage that it is forced to relieve itself in, over and over again. Next remember that it has not seen a vet, and it very likely has infections in its ears and mouth. Nor has it been groomed, so its fur is matted, and within those mats are fecal matter and urine stained fur.
There are other things beyond just hygiene and grooming that contribute to the horrible odor attributed to mill dogs. Poor diet, frequent anal gland expression from fear, and stress hormones all play a part in the mix of malodorous lingering haze.
The Puppy Mill Rescue Team is made up of dozens of rescues with experience in rehabilitating puppy mill dogs. Within those rescues are the foster families that live day to day with these dogs, who put the time, work, and love into each one from their freedom ride until adoption. We asked these foster families about this subject and thought we would share what has worked for them.
- Natures Miracle Shampoo
- Dawn Dish Soap
- Norwex Pet Mitt
- White Vinegar (use a warm wash cloth with diluted white vinegar to wipe down the dog, once it dries you will no longer smell the vinegar)
- Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
- And of course, a professional spa day!
These are just suggestions, they are not intended to be a substitute for profession medical advice. All newly adopted mill dogs should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Remember, all rescue dogs have some baggage to unpack when they find their new homes. That baggage tells a story of where they have been, but together you can dictate where they are going!