Smelly Dog: Why Does My Dog Smell So Bad?

It’s no surprise that over 48,000,000 households own a dog. Not only are they great companions, but owning a pet has been linked to lowered blood pressure when you take your furry friend for regular walks.

However, we want to know that our furry friends entered the room because they’re carrying their squeaky toys, not because of the way they smell. In fact, smelly pets are nothing new, as any of the 76.8 million dog owners in the US can tell you!

There are many potential causes of poor dog hygiene or odor, but luckily, they’re simple enough to fix. Let’s talk about some causes and solutions to help your smelly dog clean up!

1. Dry Skin

Just like humans, excessively dry skin can contribute to excessive oil production. When that happens, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and a trap for odors.

In many cases, using the right dog shampoo with lipids and other healthy ingredients can help prevent their skin from drying out. Also, using the right temperature for the water can help prevent this. Water that’s too hot may dry out the skin even more.

If you find that their skin is oily, dry, or itchy, especially after a bath, then it may be time to change their shampoo. This could also be a seasonal issue, especially during the winter! For example, if they spend their time outside in the dry air and come back inside where it’s nice and warm, dry skin may be a problem for them.

2. Dental Problems

If you’ve determined that their mouth is the source of their odor, then don’t worry. Dog dental problems are very common, and they can be easily treated. Dog dental sticks can go a long way for smaller cases, but for extreme cases, you may want to consult your vet.

However, just because they’re common doesn’t mean they can’t be serious. A simple fix now could potentially save some serious issues down the line, including rotting teeth or other ailments. These could be expensive to fix and quite agonizing for your pup.

Also, if the dental problems persist and the odor gets more pungent over time, then this may be a sign of late-stage diabetes or other serious health conditions. Talk to your vet if that’s a concern you have.

3. Medical Concerns

Sometimes, bacterial infections can cause serious odors. For a general “bad dog smell”, this is unlikely to be the case. However, a pungent odor could be a sign of a skin infection.

Ear infections, skin infections, and digestive issues could be causes of bad smells from your dog. In this case, try to look for signs like:

  • Signs of discomfort or pain
  • Excessive itching
  • Progressively worsening odor
  • Changes in skin color or coat
  • Intense shedding
  • Redness or swelling

If you notice any of these signs, it wouldn’t hurt to give your vet a call and ask for their recommendation. You may need to send pictures or bring them in right away, depending on the severity of the issue.

Don’t worry about the cost. If left to persist, costs may get significantly worse, whereas a prescription now may only cost a few dollars to treat a small infection.

4. Diet

Sometimes, dogs stink because of flatulence. If that’s the case, you may not even realize it, especially if it’s frequent enough. If you recently changed their food and you found an unpleasant odor as a result, then this is a good sign that their diet is influencing the odor.

If the dog is having digestive issues, especially with diarrhea, they may be carrying excess poop along with them. This is an easy enough thing to check, although cleaning it isn’t always a favorite task. Grab a rubber glove and some pet-friendly wipes and have a look!

Also, if left outside for a while unsupervised, they may be eating things they’re not supposed to eat. This could affect their breath as well as any unpleasant digestive odors.

5. Play Habits

Lastly, some dogs simply love to roll in stink stuff they find. If you go into the woods with your dog a lot, this could be anything. Animal carcasses, your neighbor’s compost, muddy swamps, or really anything.

If you have an adventurous pup that likes to get into dirty things, then the cause could be as simple as that. Monitor their behavior and keep a close eye on the way they play outside to see if that’s the case.

How to Help Your Smelly Dog

Now that you know some of the common causes of bad dog odor, let’s talk about treatment. If you are concerned that a bacterial infection might be the culprit, try to schedule an appointment with your vet right away!

Try to avoid using at-home treatments, especially if you haven’t determined the problem yet. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide in the ears, borax, vinegar, or bleach. Instead, try getting them professional help.

There are plenty of great dog grooming places that can help take good care of your pup, using the right products for their fur and skin type. A fresh, deep, professional clean should help remove the smell long-term, barring any medical concerns.

Keep Those Puppies Clean

Now that you know how to identify the problem and help your smelly dog, find the right treatment for your furry friend’s needs. Many of us think of our pets like our children, and no parent wants to believe their little one can be so mischievous, but it’s best to keep an eye on them and look for habits of there’s that may cause these issues.

Get your puppy clean today and stay up to date with our latest tips for more helpful information!