Why Does My Dog Stink?

A dog is nice, but always the stench! It is not uncommon for dog owners to hear such or similar statements and not know how to deal with them. They are often unaware of the causes of their dog’s vapors and possible remedies. Some dog owners themselves no longer notice the scent emitted by their four-legged friend, with whom they are constantly together.

A dog just smells like a dog, he’s dogging, and that’s what many dog ​​owners think. And that’s true in many cases. A dog doesn’t smell when its fur is wet or it has just rolled in a mud puddle. However, whether a dog only “smells benevolent” or stinks and sends everyone fleeing with its odors is often very subjective. In individual cases, an overly penetrating odor can also be an indication of an illness.

When the dog bathes in the water and mud

Every wet dog smells, whether it’s jumped in a lake or caught in a downpour. In this case, there is nothing to do, because after drying the stench is gone. The stench is a little more persistent in summer when dogs go swimming several times a day for a long time. The wetness of the fur in combination with the warm outside temperature stimulates the production of sebum. The dog’s sebaceous glands lie on the surface of the hairy skin and secrete an oily secretion. This forms a natural protective film and regulates the skin’s moisture content. Overproduction can develop a very rancid odor after a while. Additional bathing and shampooing are of no use in this case but only boost sebum production.

Some dogs not only love water but also mud holes or meadows treated with liquid manure, which are great for rolling around in. However, be warned against reaching for the shower gel after every excursion. Shampooing can destroy the dog’s sensitive sebum layer, which protects the dog from dehydration, dehydration, and pathogens. A shower with clear water is usually sufficient. If it has to be a shampoo, then you should use special dog shampoos. There are also dry shampoos that can help temporarily.

With “normal dirt” you can usually rely on the natural self-cleaning properties of dog skin and dog fur: As soon as the dirt has dried, the dog simply shakes it off. Regular (daily) coming out of the undercoat helps to protect long-haired dog breeds and breeds with a very dense undercoat from too much inherent scent.

Stinks in anxiety states

Strong but harmless is a pungent odor that dogs can release in fearful situations. It comes from the anal sacs in the anus area. Their secretion is usually mixed in with the defecation. However, it also serves to mark one’s territory and is released in the event of conflicts between dogs in the presence of the “enemy”. The same can happen if the dog is startled and squeezes the anal sacs – for example, because you suddenly have to brake sharply in the car.

Bad breath in dogs

Odors from the mouth or the skin can have harmless causes: like a person who has just eaten garlic, dogs also release scent molecules through the air they breathe or through their skin after eating certain foods. Food leftovers on the dog’s lips can also be to blame. These get stuck there, start to ferment, and eventually start to stink. The lips must therefore be checked regularly. Especially in breeds that tend to develop deep lip folds (e.g. Cocker Spaniels ), lip eczema often occurs.

If there is a constant unpleasant odor from the mouth, inflammation of the gums and tartar can be behind it. The tartar must be removed by the vet, otherwise, the gums can be pushed back until the teeth fall out. Have your dog’s teeth checked regularly so that plaque is removed in good time and the gums do not become inflamed. Dental problems are also caused by the wrong food. Too much candy also attacks dog teeth. Not every dog ​​tolerates brushing their teeth. In this case, you can offer him special enzyme-containing chewing strips or bones regularly. (see also: dental health in dogs )

Mainly small dog breeds and toy breeds have to struggle with dental problems. Breeding has led to a disproportion between tooth and mouth size in these breeds so the self-cleaning powers are no longer optimal. Therefore, brushing your teeth is essential to maintain dental health.

Bad breath can also be caused by purulent tonsillitis. In this case, the vet will prescribe antibiotics.

Bad breath in dogs could also be an indication of developing diseases – from stomach problems to liver and kidney diseases to diabetes. Bacteria and fungi in the damaged skin can also cause skin odor and require veterinary attention.

Smelling discharge from ears

Ear infections with discharge spread a bad odor. If you notice skin reddening and an unfamiliar smell in the dog’s ear, if he scratches his ear from time to time, you should have the veterinarian clarify the reason as soon as possible, as some ear diseases can easily become chronic. Ear mite infestation (Otodectes cyanosis) is characterized by very dark, dry earwax. The mite, on the other hand, is light in color. The more time the mite has to colonize and damage the ear, the more difficult treatment becomes.

Bloating in dogs

Around the anus two anal glands should be expressed regularly, the dog usually does this on its own. If this is not done, the vapors from the anal glands can smell unpleasant. Intestinal parasites and worms can be responsible for foul-smelling feces and gas. Endoparasites such as coccidia cause particularly slimy feces. In this case, medication can help. In most cases, however, it is due to the diet: low-quality food, excessive demands on the gastrointestinal tract due to excessive amounts of food or too many treats can promote flatulence.

Some dogs are particularly susceptible to bacterial fermentation processes in the gut. A special diet is required for them. Feed allergies – for example to certain proteins in food – or diseases that lead to flatulence and diarrhea are less common. Only the vet can help here.

Hygiene controls prevent bad smells

Older dogs naturally smell stronger – without any illnesses. Old dog fur also smells stronger when it is dry, ears smell of burnt tallow, for example, and bad breath is a daily occurrence. However, if a younger dog smells bad all the time, it should be investigated as it could be due to an illness.

In any case, cleanliness and hygiene control prevent bad smells and help your dog stay healthy for a long time. Your nose will surely tell you when you need to take your dog to the vet!

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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