Some days dogs smell fine, like when they’re back from the groomer or when they’re puppies (puppy breath!). Other days, you may find yourself wondering, “did the neighbors just light a huge pile of tires on fire?” So why do dogs smell? The cause of the stink could be sweat, infection, bacteria, disease, or your dog’s butt, in all its glory. Let’s get into the gnarly details, plus find out what you can do to alleviate some of the smells.
Why does my dog’s fur smell?
The top reasons for smelly dog fur include:
- Skin irritation
While dogs don’t sweat and produce body odor like us stinky humans, they do emit a light perspiration from their hair follicles. With regular bathing and grooming, this natural eau du chien can be kept at bay. But if the smell seems out of hand, it may signify an unwanted visitor in the form of bacteria or fungus.
According to petMD, other abnormal conditions that cause dog smells are skin infections or irritations. Wrinkly breeds with overlapping skin folds, like bulldogs and shar-peis, are particularly susceptible.
It’s even possible that your dog could be over-producing stinky oils as a response to too many baths! To get off the never-ending fragrance carousel, keep baths to once a month with a simple, gentle shampoo.
Why does my dog smell like corn chips?
Did someone open a delicious salty snack, or are your dog’s paws near your face?
Dogs perspire mostly from their feet, so the natural and common odor of a corn-based snack food arises when perspiration mixes with the bacteria on even the cleanest paws. But why corn chips? The bacteria, called Protea or Pseudomonas, give off a yeasty smell, according to The Dodo. If it’s making you hungry too often, you can keep the smell at a manageable level by trimming your dog’s nails and scrubbing their paws.
And if the smell has taken a turn from appetizing to overwhelming, it might be time to check in with a vet in case of infection.
Why does my dog’s breath smell?
Has your dog yawning in your face ever caused you to feel like someone just opened the Ark of the Covenant?
It may be a sign of periodontal disease (poor oral hygiene). In I Heart Dogs’ “Ask A Vet,” Dr. Kathryn Primm, VMD says, “Dental infection odors do not typically wax and wane. They will be persistent smells that come from the mouth. Each time your dog swallows when he has dental disease, he could be showering his internal organs with bacteria and periodontal disease is very painful.”
In rare cases, it could be a symptom of something more serious, like kidney disease or oral tumors, Dr. Patty Khuly, VMD of VetStreet notes. The best prevention method here is to brush your dog’s teeth (or give your dog some dental chews), and check with a vet if the problem persists.
Why do my dog’s ears smell?
There are so many parts of dogs that can be stinky. Dogs’ ears produce a yeast that can become quite pungent if left unchecked. Regular cleaning can keep that musty ear odor to a minimum. PetMD recommends a gentle ear cleaner or hydrogen peroxide along with your dog’s monthly bath. Some breeds may need their ear hair trimmed (just like some breeds of humans…) to prevent wax buildup and mites.
Or maybe a cow is licking your dog’s ears?
Why does my dog smell like fish?
The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of anal sacs.
The anal glands produce a fishy-smelling secretion, and are one of the most common causes of doggy stench. If the glands are not expressed naturally when your dog does his business, they can become impacted and stinkier than ever. Fun, right? Dr. Janet Tobiassen Crosby, VMD also tells us that dogs can secrete this substance when scared or over-excited. The best remedy in this situation is to make sure your dog has help “expressing himself” if he’s not doing it on his own.
Yes, sometimes it’s just gas. Dr. Patty Khuly, VMD says, “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.”
So, go see a vet if it’s becoming a real situation. Otherwise, sometimes it’s nice to have someone around to blame farts on.