Why Does My Dog... Smell So Bad?

wet dog
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Got a dog who’s conditioned you to think that his adorable presence is worth living with despite his foul odors? If your pet smells nasty –– on occasion or full-time –– then you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

The trouble is that it's not enough to know you’ve got a stinker on your hands. It's in everyone's best interest to do something about the putrid problem, but that’s not doable unless you know what’s causing the stench.

To help you get to the bottom of your dog's funky smell, here are some common canine stench scenarios and causes.

Is it his skin?

If your pet’s skin smells reminiscent of rotting fruit or something freshly dug up from deep underground, it’s more than likely related to skin disease. Whether it happens year-round or seasonally, pets with skin conditions, like allergic skin disease and parasite infestations, and the secondary bacterial and yeast infections that can accompany them, can give off a serious stink.

Is it his ears?

Veterinarians file most smelly ear conditions under skin disease — it's usually tied to allergic skin disease, but it can sometimes be attributed to things as bad as ear canal cancers — but simple ear smell is in a category of its own. I swear my hands will stink of ears all day if I don’t double-glove before working on them.

Is he gassy?

Many chronic gas-passers are merely exhibiting a mild intolerance to one or more ingredients in their diets. However, specific gastrointestinal conditions could be in play, so the seriously flatulent should see a veterinarian.

Is it his anal glands?

These two glands secrete some foul-smelling stuff. Lots of dogs who suffer from anal sac issues are prone to leak the liquid onto their fur, ensuring that the powerful stench follows them everywhere.

Is he a wildlife devotee?

Dogs who like to stop, drop and roll at the sight and smell of a rotting carcass or animal feces will stink long past their date with the great outdoors.

Is it his breath?

Bad breath is almost always secondary to periodontal disease. But some pets may have bad breath that arises from oral tumors or foreign bodies, stomach gases or the effects of kidney disease –– not necessarily just from bad teeth.

Is it a wet dog smell?

Does your dog spend hours in the pool? It’s not an uncommon proclivity, especially with Labs and other waterlogged breeds. The problem is that it also causes a wet dog smell that tends to linger.

Whatever the case and cause, there’s usually a solution. This may include daily bathing, a diet change, anal gland expression, frequent dental cleanings under anesthesia and even surgery for severely afflicted ears. Just rest assured that if there’s a whiff, there’s a way.

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