Let’s face it, dogs aren’t the best smelling creatures on this planet. Yes, we can cover up their doggy smells by taking them to the groomer so they smell fresh like roses on a sunny spring morning, but sooner than later that lingering doggy smell will come back. While a hint of doggy smell is quite normal, it’s important to consider that healthy dogs don’t normally stink. So unless your dog rolled in a pile of cow manure or had a close encounter with a skunk, it’s important to investigate those unpleasant smells. Following are some causes of odor in dogs and some steps to make your dog smell normal again.
If the offensive smell is more noticeable after your dog licks your hands or yawns near your face, most likely it’s coming from his mouth and it can be a sign of a mouth problem. If that’s the case, don’t feel bad; you’re in good company. According to Dr. Rene Carslon, president of the AVMA, it’s estimated that about 80 percent of dogs develop periodontal disease by the age of two. If your dog’s teeth appear to have tartar and the gums are red and swollen, that’s likely the cause of that bad smell.
Best course of action: have your dog see your vet. Your dog may need a dental cleaning. Left untreated, periodontal disease may lead to bone loss and even loose teeth.
If your dog smells like he ate some rotten fish, that smell may actually not be coming from his mouth but from his rear. Dogs have special glands under their tail meant to secrete pheromones as they empty their bowels. When dogs have soft stools or develop poor muscle tone, these glands don’t secrete properly causing an uncomfortable sensation that may lead to scooting or biting the area. When the affected dogs eventually succeeds in get some secretions out, you’ll likely get a whiff of that terrible fishy smell.
Best course of action: If this scenario sounds familiar, your best bet is to see the vet to find out why those glands aren’t emptying as they should. Your vet may empty those glands and suggest dietary changes to firm up those stools.
Some dogs are more prone than others in getting skin problems due to their numerous skin folds. The shar-pei and English bulldog are examples of breeds susceptible to yeast and bacterial skin infections. When the skin, is affected by yeast and bacteria, it can develop a quite pungent and musty smell. Other than odor, skin problems cause bouts of annoying itching and this often involves the dog’s ears too. And what about that faint smell of corn chips or popcorn coming from a dog’s feet? This derives from yeast living between a dog’s toes explains Dr. Patty Khuly.
Best course of action: if your dog’s skin smells bad, have your dog see the vet to determine what’s causing the offensive smell. Your dog may need a special medicated shampoo. If his ears are infected, he may need special ear drops too.
The Bottom Line
If your dog is prone to a chronic offensive odor and you intermittently get a whiff of something offensive see your vet. Sometimes dogs develop an offensive smell also from illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and kidney disease, explains veterinarian Karen Becker. It’s best to play it safe and rule out rule out any possible health concern that’s causing the bad odor.