Why Do Dog Toys Smell? (Fully Explained!)


Dog toys become one of your dog’s simple pleasures in a matter of seconds. Some toys come with a scent whereas some build up a scent overtime. Is it okay for dog toys to smell? Why do they smell in the first place?

Dog toys smell for one of two reasons. The toy has come with a distinct smell that’s designed to be enjoyable for your dog. Other toys develop a rather unpleasant smell after your dog uses the toy for a while. Both are normal and common.

Here we explain everything you need to know about why dog toys smell. Why some toys come with a scent, how long the scents last, why dog toys become smelly and what to do about it.

Everything dog toys and smell – what fun!

Let’s jump right in 🙂

Why Do Some Dog Toys Come With a Scent?

Not all scents you find in a dog’s toy are bad. Some come straight from the manufacturer and become a favorite of your doggo. Manufacturers design these toys to benefit your pet’s development. For instance, you can get a toy bone that smells and tastes like bacon.

The scent plays a crucial role in teaching your dog about different scents. In addition, it’s a toy they can play with, use for teething, and enjoy the flavor as they go about their day. But, one issue with the scent that comes with dog toys is its source.

Toys made in the US are safer when it comes to scents for your dog. The manufacturers use natural and safe materials to give the toys the scent that your dog will enjoy. Ensure you learn more about the makers of the dog toy before purchasing some with a scent.

How Long Does a Toy Scent Last?

In terms of the scent, the duration it lasts depends on the dog toy. Some dog toys tend to have scents that last up to 6 months. After this time, you notice the yummy smell is gone and can even have a dog smell which isn’t very pleasant.

As for other toys like stuffed animals, the scent can last up to 2 years. The prolonged fragrance is quite beneficial to your pup as they can enjoy it longer.

Some toys come with the option of a scent chip that you replace for continuous scent. This makes it so your doggo continues to enjoy the lovely scent for longer.

Why Does My Dog’s Toy Stink After Multiple Uses?

Some toys that your dog likes can become a nightmare for you without proper care. These toys start to stink after multiple uses, and the smell keeps getting worse.

Bad smells in dog toys are a result of constant use, especially by chewing. The item gets covered in bacteria, saliva, food particles, and anything else that might be in a dog’s mouth. It’s not the toy that causes the bad smell, but rather the frequent use by your dog without cleaning it.

Usually, dogs’ mouths are a hub of bad smells that can rub off on chew toys. The saliva, food particles, and bacteria from their mouth tend to build upon the toy. As time goes by, additional use causes the smells to get from bad to worse.

In addition, if your dog has issues like bad breath or infections in their mouth, this can cause powerfully bad smells on their toys.

You might notice the toy smells worse than before, which is quite off putting and potentially concerning. The change in scent can signify you need to get your dog checked by a vet to get to the bottom of the bad breath or heal the infection.

Is It Bad for a Dog To Play With a Smelly Toy?

It depends on the smell. Some dog toys do come with scents meant to stimulate your dog. The scents teach them cognitive and other skills that are useful in their lives. Your dog can even grow to love the dog bone that smells like bacon.

However, not all toy smells are good. Some toys come without any scents. They smell new and fresh the moment you take off the wrapper or remove them from the box. But, after multiple uses, you start to notice some rather unpleasant smells on them.

Such scents tend to get worse as time goes on. The toys have an accumulation of bacteria, saliva, food particles, and other items.

There’s a fine line to determine when a toy becomes too smelly for your dog to continue playing with.

It’s normal for a dog’s toy to smell. It’s in their mouth most of the time and they probably haven’t been brushing their teeth every morning and night like you’ve asked. So it’s not abnormal for their toy to have a smelly scent.

But there’s a line where it goes from being kind of stinky to out-right-disgusting.

If their toy gets to this point it’s important to do something. 

If it’s a toy they absolutely love and you don’t want to throw it away, give it a good wash. If they aren’t too attached to it, simply throw it away.

It would also be a good idea to take them to the vet to see if everything is okay with their dental health if a toy has gotten super smelly.

How Do You Get The Smell Out of Dog Toys?

Picture this: your dog has a favorite chew toy that they cover in saliva and bacteria all day, every day. It’s evident why such a toy starts to have a nasty smell after several uses. The scent gets worse with every use, and the only way to get rid of it is to clean your dog’s toys.

Cleanliness is crucial in every part of your life, including your dog and their toys. 

Besides, your house can become unbearable if you don’t take action to get the smell out of dog toys.

First, you’ll need to start by sorting out the toys. Your dog may have hard, soft, wooly, and other types of toys that they love to play with. Some toys are quite easy to clean like hard toys made using plastic and rubber materials. You can soak these in a bowl of warm water and liquid detergent.

Not to mention, these are toys that can go into the dishwasher and use extra hot water. The water and detergent remove the smells and kill off all germs accumulated on the toy.

Soft toys like bears and pulling ropes require more care when cleaning and drying.

These toys can be cleaned by hand using water and detergent. Or, you can place them in the washing machine with other dog items like clothes for a thorough cleaning and sanitizing.

If I Wash Away The Smell On a Toy Will My Dog Still Like It?

Sometimes when you wash one of your dog’s toys they may not want to use it again. This usually happens because the soap or detergent you used is too powerful. It doesn’t smell like what they remember which makes them uninterested in the toy.

You can definitely wash a toy and have your dog still be interested in it. But you need to use natural cleaners that don’t leave a powerful scent, if any scent.

Some dogs are more picky where they will be upset that their toy doesn’t smell like it used to. Others won’t really care about the difference and continue playing on.

It really depends on your furry friend and their attachment to their toys.

What Smells Do Dogs Really Like On Their Toys?

Dog’s really enjoy the smell of meat on their toys/chews. A common favorite is bacon or pork.

For toys that aren’t meat flavored and are simply plush or soft toys scents like; vanilla, lavender, coconut, and ginger are usually enjoyed by dogs.

It’s important that the scent isn’t super powerful though. Dog’s sense of smell is much better than ours and what you might find mild, might be too strong for their liking.

Dog’s also love the smell of… YOU!

If your dog isn’t particularly interested in a new toy you bought them, try keeping it in your dresser for a few days. Once your scent rubs off on it they might be more interested in it.

Final Thoughts

Dogs love their toys and always want to have them within reach for play time. Some dog toys come with scents straight from the manufacturer. These scents are enjoyable for your pup since they learn about different smells and also enjoy natural tastes.

However, other smells on your dog toys can be, well… nasty. These unpleasant smells mean the toy needs to be tossed or had a thorough cleaning. If the smell is SUPER bad it’s important to check if there’s something wrong with your pup’s dental health.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Are Dog Toys Safe To Eat? (What You Need To Know!)

Why Are Dog Toys So Expensive? (Simply Explained!)

Are Dog Toys From Dollar Stores Safe? (The Truth…)

Citations:

8 Scents Your Dog Can’t Resist

Alec Littlejohn

Founder and Reviewer at Pawscessories. He is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! He grew up in a family of vets and to this day he helps out around the family clinic and shares his learnings on Pawscessories. Learn more about Alec's story here

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