20 answers

Two Year Old Smells like a Wet Dog!

My two year old son has TONS of hair, and gets a bath about every other day (he has sensitive, dry skin.) But every time I wash his hair it smells like a wet dog until it dries! It's so gross. I haven't tried a ton of different shampoos, because of the cost, but I've tried L'Oreal kids, J&J baby shampoo, and some no-name brand. The only think that seems to help is when I use my shampoo and conditioner, which of course stings his eyes.

I think it might have something to do with the water, we have somewhat hard water, and no water softener. Any one know what I can do about this until he gets bigger and doesn't need tear-free shampoo anymore?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for the suggestions. My son has the most gorgeous hair I've ever seen on a boy, so I just can't bring myself to buzz it (I'm not a fan of the look, any way.) I'll try some of the other suggestions though, and at least I know that LOTS of other little boys are smelly too. I guess that's just something that they never really outgrow! :)

Featured Answers

Hello,
I am a hair dresser and have had little kids come in that have that same problem. I would try a tea tree shampoo that might help with the smell cause it is a deep cleanser. It is however not for children so be careful around the eyes. Hope that helps a little if not let me know I will try and research some different products that might help.
L.

I think it's the shampoos . . . . we've had similar experiences with the shampoos you mentioned. I've gone back to good ol' Johnson's baby shampoo. The kids that are a little older are using the grown up shampoos now - I'm not buying any more of those kiddie kinds!

More Answers

LOL! this sounds very familiar, my boys also smell like "wet dogs" even when they are clean. I mentioned this to my sis-in-law and she said her son also smells that way when he gets wet. Also, have you noticed they smell funny after they have been playing outside? I just have to use conditioner on them after I wash their hair, maybe it "seals" in the hormones or whatever makes them smell that way. I have no advice for you, I just wanted you to know that little boys just smell like wet dogs, and you are not alone. Oh well, Love 'em anyway, right?

A.-my boys both have this too! For my 3 1/2 year old, I started using Pantene and it helped with the smell. I have also tried the sunvisor too-it helped keep the water out.

Someone had mentioned them smelling after being outside-yup! That would be my boys too! Good luck!

We use Paul Mitchell baby shampoo and love it. It works wonderful but is it tear free. I have used it on all my kids and everyone always comments on how shiny and beautiful their hair is.
Good luck.

I have two boys, age 9 and 7 now, but they still smell at times like all kinds of grossness. I have added tea tree oil drops to whatever shampoo I had. Just a few for the bottle, and it smells so good. Helps detour insects too, but definitely helps them smell clean. I think it does say to watch the eyes, so start teaching him to close them and lean his head back. Hope it helps. Eventually we did switch because the smell-good products are loading with perfumes that my kids were allergic to. Try Aveeno or Paul Mitchell for kids.

M.

get him one of those cheap plastic sunvisors that you wear in the summer time to put on when your ready to wash his hair. It will protect his eyes from the water and soap when you rinse it thus you will be able to use a better shampoo and conditioner on him.

T. fultz

My guess would be that his thick hair holds on to odors and stuff. You may want to give him more of a buzz haircut, especially through the summer, so that there isn't as much hair to wash, etc.

I have the same problem. All three of my kids smell like wet dogs when their hair is wet. I have even washed their heads three times to get rid of the smell. I have been teaching my kids to lie down in the tub so I can use adult shampoo and conditioner on them. Sorry i couldn't help. But maybe they are supposed to smell this way????

Little girls also smell like wet dogs when they wash the hair unless you get them a little more expensive of a shampoo and conditioner. I think that some shampoos smell great when you open the cap and smell them in the store, but when you use them they rinse out and smell nothing or like wet dog. You can also use a detangler with a pleasant scent. For our little girls we used the strawberry scented, but I assume there are other scents out there. If the little boy don't want to smell like flowers and berries than go to the mens section and buy a similar product (spray conditioner) that "dad" uses (mine uses a Aussie brand), to control his tresses and it smells great.

Shampoos are full of nasty stuff and Tear free shampoos have a chemical that reduces eye sensitivity, so it's one more layer in the chemical soup. Having high sensitivity kids myself, I've tired a lot of things - Yucca root for one - it has hatural saponin and could make a great nature learning experience. Check out Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods for some more natural possiblities. Another area to look at is diet, what goes into our bodies affects our personal scent. Omega Three fatty acids from flax or fish oil can help the dry skin from the inside out and are good for the development of the nervous system. Chlorophyll (I like the liquid, organic, regular flavor) is an internal deodorizer, mix a tablespoon or two in cold water or juice and have your kids drink it before they floss and brush at night. Double benefit - the chlorophyll will make their tongues and mouth green, if you can still see green after they brush they need to do a better job! This works wonders with older people who have smelly feet or other body odor problems. It may take a week or two to really make a difference, but once you start using it, if you stop you'll notice a difference in a few days. Just as a diet with lots of leafy greens does, it can make your poop greenish and less smelly too!

i know this was asked about 3 years ago but he probably had cradle cap, i've heard of that Johnson's baby shampoo causing cradle cap in kids

My kids use the Burt's Bees Baby shampoo, which is tear free and natural. It also smells really nice. Give that a try and see if it helps!

At the beginning of the summer, I buzz my boys hair, and "bob" my girls. I prefer the longer look also, but summer has a way of making everybody stink, and short hair seems to help. My
4 1/2 year old even asks for the buzz. I just use the longest attachment (like 1 in.) on his hair, by Fall it has grown back. I then use any adult shampoo and conditioner and I don't have a problem with the smell. The sunviser thing works great to help, or just have him lay down in the tub. Start by filling it up to just under his ears(when he is laying down) so he doesn't get scared and work from there to the amount that you like him to bath in. Good luck and welcome to summer time!

Hello,
I am a hair dresser and have had little kids come in that have that same problem. I would try a tea tree shampoo that might help with the smell cause it is a deep cleanser. It is however not for children so be careful around the eyes. Hope that helps a little if not let me know I will try and research some different products that might help.
L.

I know this is going to sound a little crazy but have you taken your son to the dentist before? I was a nanny for Triplets and one of them had a smell very similar to what you are saying...he had a bath every night and we noticed it about 15 months and he had it until he was 2 1/2 or so when they took him to the dentist..once he had his teeth cleaned the first time it was gone! Hope that might help a little.

My daughter is the same way. I have no tear free advice but I have found Head and shoulders shampoo/conditioner has put a stop to the wet dog smell.

My hairdresser says you only have to wash hair every 2 or 3 days. My mother-in-law's house has hard water as well. And one of my childhood friends had hard water too. I don't know any solutions for the hard water --- because I don't think the water softener helps much. For mothers day my family gave me hair perfume. That might help with the smell. Also, try scented oils in the bath water.

Check his scalp. If it has scaley patches (sort of looks like dandruff or cradle cap) he could have a skin infection. My son had it when he was about that age, and it turned out to be a staph infection. Yea, gross huh. Doc. said it's not that uncommon. He needed a prescription to clear it up though.

Good luck,
J.

This is just a thought because I haven't actually tried it for this specific purpose, but I am wondering if adding some baking soda to the shampoo might help. It is a natural water softener and deodorizer. I actually use it with my own shampoo to help remove styling pruduct build-up, and it makes my hair very soft and clean. I usually pour around a teaspoon of it in the palm of my hand, then pour out my regular amount of shampoo on top of it. I mix it btween my palms, then shampoo as usual. If you're interested in trying it, you might start with about half that amount since he doesn't have an adult-sized head. Hope you find a solution!

Both of my boys smell like wet dogs when I get their hair wet before I wash it. Shampoo generally gets rid of the smell, though. I don't know how much you use, but i usually use too much, so their hair is really slimy with it. I can't seem to remember not to use so much! I just didn't want to have to rinse it so many times. I wonder what would happen if you used more?
Oh, we use Suave Kids. We had Orange Mango scent (mmmmm!) and now we have Cherry (smells pretty good, and really strong).

I think it's the shampoos . . . . we've had similar experiences with the shampoos you mentioned. I've gone back to good ol' Johnson's baby shampoo. The kids that are a little older are using the grown up shampoos now - I'm not buying any more of those kiddie kinds!

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