Dog deodorizers have become an increasingly popular option for pet lovers—um, Queen Elizabeth even spritzed one on her corgis. These fragrant sprays, meant to be used between washings to freshen a dog’s coat, come in a host of aromas, from citrus to floral. But we were curious to know what veterinarians have to say about them. And if some of you are thinking, “let pets be pets, not PeeWee beauty contestants!” we get that the idea of dog perfume can be mildly objectionable. But we choose to see this trend as a cultural reflection of how much we love our dogs, and how close we want them in our homes and beds. “The idea of dog perfume can be off-putting if the scent is overpowering or doesn’t blend well with a dog’s fur,” says veterinarian Dr. Dwight Alleyne. “On the other hand, a lightly scented perfume could be seen as a positive thing for pets.” Because what’s better than burying your face in the fluffy, sweet-smelling fur of someone you love? Read on to find out what to look for in a dog perfume—plus, eight recommendations for the best dog perfumes currently on the market.
The 8 Best Dog Perfumes (and Vets' Advice on Using It, Woof)
Including ingredients to avoid
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Meet the Experts
- Dr. Dwight Alleyne is a Georgia-based veterinarian with 16 years of experience. Alleyne graduated from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and is currently enrolled in University of Missouri’s Master of Public Health program, with plans to expand his veterinary experience into epidemiology.
- Dr. Vernard Hodges is the co-founder, resident vet and advisor for Dirty Dog Beauty Club and co-star of Critter Fixers on Nat Geo TV.
- Dr. Terrence Ferguson is the co-founder, resident vet and advisor for Dirty Dog Beauty Club and co-star of Critter Fixers on Nat Geo TV.
What is Dog Perfume?
According to Dr. Alleyne, “Dog perfume is a scented solution, usually in a spray, used to mask undesirable odors.” Dr. Terrence Ferguson adds that some formulas not only cover the dog’s coat but actually neutralize odors.
How Does Dog Perfume Work?
“Dog perfume works by enhancing or adding to a dog’s natural aroma through varying scents,” says Dr. Alleyne. “These products bind to their hair follicles to provide a long-lasting effect.” Most pet owners use dog perfumes to keep a clean, freshly-groomed scent on a dog between baths.
Is it Safe to Put Perfume on a Dog?
“Perfume can be safe to put on a dog as long as you keep it away from their ears, eyes and mouth area,” says Dr. Vernard Hodges. “You should avoid the paws and pads, too.” The vet also cautions against scents that have harsh ingredients and certain essential oils such as pine, citrus, eucalyptus and tea tree oil.
What Should I Consider When Shopping for Dog Perfume?
Pet owners who prefer clean cosmetics on themselves might have a head start here, as you should use similar metrics when sorting through what to use on your pet. “Look for perfumes that have natural ingredients and are free of alcohol, parabens and sulfates,” says Dr. Hodges, while Dr. Alleyne also cautions against formulas with essential oils or large amounts of alcohol.
Best Dog Perfumes At-A-Glance
“Love this spray,” writes one user, who says “when leaving [the] dog park, I spray my dogs and it leaves them smelling fresh. I share [this] with anyone who has a dog.” Its chamomile flower extract has mood-enhancing qualities, while the linalool has a floral, yet subtly spicy scent. Glycerin in the formula rounds out the benefits, since it’s a natural moisture-retaining humectant (which is especially beneficial to wire-hair animals).
Best Amazon Choice
An aerosol spray that comes in fruit, botanical and powdery floral scents, a quick spritz of this alcohol-free formula replicates that fresh-from-the-groomer aura. One five-star reviewer who uses this on their “big stinky basset hound” says the spray is “light and unoffensive,” and “it definitely smells like she just came back from the groomer.” They add, “It lasts for days before I have to spray her again. We used to have to bathe her every weekend and it was really drying out her belly. She could probably go a month without needing a bath now, I am honestly in shock at how well this product works.”
If you already trust Burt’s Bees for dependable, USA-made products made using natural ingredients, you’ll love their pet spray, too. It’s pH-balanced so it doesn’t irritate Fido’s skin, and its slightly sweet milk and honey fragrance is mild but effective. According to one happy reviewer, “A few spritzes really [does] go a long way.”
Best Wet-Dry Formula
This spray’s active ingredients—including silk, oat and soy proteins—moisturize fur, while deodorizing ingredients such as chamomile and papaya extracts neutralize odors. It can be applied to both dry and wet fur. “My standard poodle gets regular baths and groomings, but sometimes after daycare he smells like a wet dog,” says one reviewer. “I give him a liberal spray and he is good to go. It does have a more ‘masculine’ smell, but it’s not too strong. He and I both have sensitive skin, and it’s not irritating as it only touches his hair.”
Aloe Vera and coconut oil are the key moisturizing elements in this coconut-scented spray. It contains no sulfates, parabens or silicones, and is recommended for short- and long-haired dogs. “I’m always looking for ways to refresh my pup’s hair! He is a pomapoo and has curly long hair so when he goes outside, he smells like… outside lol,” shares one five-star reviewer. “He also sleeps in our bed most nights and we’ve been looking for something that’s safe for dogs that also smells good. This coat refresh is so quick to use and smells like coconuts, though the scent isn’t too overpowering, and it absorbs in fairly quickly so the pup isn’t wet. Also, the mist sprays evenly, unlike some sprayers that just spray a small area.”
Most Relaxing Scent
Dog by Dr. Lisa
“It is incredible, it really helps to soothe our 11-month-old staffy when he comes into watch TV with us in the evenings,” says one user. “It helps him recognize that it is rest time and it is just not possible to play all day & night!” That would be the lavender, bergamot, frankincense andchamomile in this plant-based formula. We like that it comes in an aluminum bottle, which is cool because it’s recyclable and looks fancy enough to be gifted.
Best Bedding Perfume
Dirty Dog Beauty Club
We appreciate that the light sage breeze of this scent smells clean, not overly perfumy, and that it’s made of organic, non-irritating ingredients. Sage oil acts as a disinfectant and the coconut oil in the formula is moisturizing. Best of all, its light herbal aroma quickly refreshes your dog’s bed or pillow.