So, Whines got me hooked on a furry mush, and I've been playing a little college-age dog character who's been working in fast food for a while. One of his personal issues is that he doesn't much like his job, wants to be a real chef, but bailed on the culinary school he was attending, and now he works at a "taco shack" type place.
So...here's some assumptions I have about an anthro critter society. Natural smells are okay, within reason. So a healthy critter could go a week between baths or more, if he took care of some very basic grooming, and that an anthro dog would smell fairly doggy. Something that's sick and smells abnormally unpleasant might be a different case. Two, that anthro characters have strong senses of smell--maybe not as good as a real animal's, but better than human.
One thing that marks someone as being physically attractive tends to be an absense of working-class characteristics. So...in the Victorian era, attractive people had elaborate dresses that were difficult to put on, gentlemen had light builds, not heavily muscled, and smooth hands would have been a mark of gentility. Now, someone that can take the time to take care of their body tends to be attractive--so good muscle definition, trim figures.
Extending that to my character, who chronically smells like a Taco Bell kitchen and doesn't like it--if you had a job that marked you as a lower-class person--assembly line work, fast food, sanitation--those smells would cling to you. Presumably, you wouldn't want them on you, if you were trying to present yourself well--you wouldn't want to go to a formal party smelling like industrial pine-sol--but animals that get too-regular baths get skin problems, dry fur, and so on.
So...with my two assumptions above (I think they're pretty reasonable), would bathing carry a negative status class? Would someone whose job was so low-key physically as to let them wear their natural smell seem more attractive than someone who felt they had to get the work-day smell out of their coats? Would some sort of racially appropriate conditioner seem trashy?
The biggest assumption I'm making here is that an anthro character that smelled "bad" (a very human concept) would care. Certainly, our german shepherd doesn't mind smelling like she rolled in poo, because she does. But anthro characters are half-human, and probably have a sense for class, for status, for presenting themselves and their social standing. Dogs are heirarchical and status-concerned, most social carnivores establish pecking orders.
Anyway, that's all, just thinking about whether my character would feel better about taking a shower after a day slinging tacos, or whether that would make him feel worse. Would a shower make a dog feel dirty?