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Why Does My Dog Smell Bad?

February 22, 2022

Why Does My Dog Smell Bad?

It is usual for dogs to smell foul when they spend time outdoors. And this usually means that they just need a bath. According to Ashley Borgeois, DVM, DACVD, from Animal Dermatology Clinic Portland, dogs tend to pick up their smell from their environment. For example, if dogs stay on yards, they will smell like grass, or if they are from rural areas, they most likely pick up the scent of hay. Small dogs whose owners often cuddle will smell like perfume. Most of these unfavorable "scents" can be fixed with a simple bath or trip to the dog salon.

However, if you notice that your dog smells quite bad for some time, then this might be caused by more serious underlying problems. In this article, we'll know why our dogs smell bad and what we can do about it. 

Your dog is suffering from skin allergy.

Dogs produce oil from their skin to keep their coat healthy and shiny. However, sometimes this oil can also be a breeding ground of bacteria. If dogs scratch their skin frequently or if they bite themselves to soothe the itch, it will irritate. This irritation can lead into more serious infection that causes the bad odor.

Too much eye tearing can be bad for your dog.

Most dogs produce tears or fluid discharge in the inner corners of their eyes. However, this moist part of the eye can cause bacteria to flourish and lead to health problems such as conjunctivitis. Always clean your dog's eye area and remove the dirt, oil, and gunk buildup to prevent this from happening.

Your dog has gas.

Most dogs experience flatulence and can pass off-gas in the living room at any moment. While this is a bit funny, your farting dog could mean something to rethink about their diet. To help you futher, ask your vet about the right diet options for your pet. 

Your dog has food allergies.

Sometimes, skin allergies are connected to food allergies. If your dog is allergic to a certain food, this may cause an over secretion of oil in its skin and produce a bad smell. A bad diet with high carbohydrates and processed ingredients will most likely have a bad effect on dogs. Switch to a protein-rich diet instead to keep your dog in optimal health.

Your dog suffers from ear infection.

Healthy dogs usually do not get ear infections as dogs have an innate defense to fight bacteria. However, if a dog is unhealthy, its natural defenses suffer and may cause an allergy and hormonal imbalances. When yeast and bacteria increase, this causes a bad smell.

Your dog's bad breath could mean something else.

Just like humans, if dogs don't get their teeth cleaned from time to time, they can experience some dental problems that lead to bad breath. I suggest brushing your dog's teeth once a week to prevent bacterial build-up. If your dog's teeth gets infected, it could lead to sores, tooth loss, eating problems, or more serious infections.

So, how do I prevent my dog from smelling bad?

If you suspect that your dog has prolonged bad odor, immediately bring him to the vet. Too often, dog owners prolong their waiting time before they go to the vet, but this does not make your dog's condition better. So I suggest that we dog parents trust our guts. When something is wrong, ask for help ASAP. Do not use home remedies such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, borax or coal tar as it could make your dog's condition worse. 

Prevention is better than cure. To make sure our dogs are healthy and happy, here are a few tips:

  • Bathe your dog once a week with a mild dog shampoo. So not over bathe your dog as it may cause skin dryness, itching, and irritation. If your dog has sensitive skin, consider using a dog medicated shampoo, which can help treat its odor problem.
  • Brush your dog's teeth regularly with a specialized dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Some dental chews can also help keeping your dog's teeth clean.
  • Keep your dog's face and tear area clean at all times. You don't want dirt, gunk, and oils building up his tear ducts, as it could potentially lead to problems if not cleaned properly.
  • Keep your dog's ears clean by using a cotton ball and mild cleaning solution recommended by your vet. Be careful not to get their ears wet while bathing too!
  • Feed a healthy diet and avoid processed food and high-carbs. You can ask your vet for more healthy recommendations.

If your dog still stinks after you've done all precautionary measures, remember to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.