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Did you know that over 60.2 million households in the US own a pet dog?
This number might give you the impression that keeping man’s best friend is an easy job, while it isn’t. One of the biggest challenges many dog owners face is the bad odour. If anything, many people consider the different kinds of pungent smells that come from dogs as normal, but they aren’t.
Yes, a smelly dog is a clear indication of underlying problems. This is why it’s crucial to realize the kind of smell your dog has and what it means. Here are different reasons why your dog smells.
1. Ear Infection
Your dog’s ears may be the source of that strong, sickening odour. It’s important to note that there is a myriad of reasons why your dog’s ears are smelling.
If the smell is overpowering, there’s a high chance the ears have an infection, meaning that the dog needs to visit the vet. A light, yeasty smell means that your dog needs his or her ears cleaned.
Also, smelly ears get caused by continual moisture (from swimming, perhaps) and excessive hair inside or on top of the ear canal.
2. Lack of Grooming
It’s no brainer that a dirty doggie is a stinky doggie. If you’re too busy to wash your dog regularly, schedule a visit to your nearest pet resort spa. There, you should get all the essential services like grooming, blueberry facial, and cuts.
If taking your dog to the spa is seems too much, at least brush your dog between baths to get rid of dead skin cells, dried saliva, dirt, and anything else that might be hiding its fur.
This will go a long way in helping to reduce the unpleasant smells. You should even wash your dog with an enzyme-based shampoo.
Also, ensure that your dog’s beddings, as well as his/ her fleecy ropes and chewy toys remain clean.
3. Skin Issues
There are many health problems that can cause your dog to smell. They include hormonal imbalances, fungus, parasites, allergies, localized inflammation, etc.
One of the most common smelly-skin causing diseases is canine seborrhea. This disease causes a musty, cheese-like stinky smell because of the buildup of yeast and sebum on your dog’s skin.
While there is no cure for canine seborrhea, the condition can get managed by a certified vet. When your dog catches one of these diseases, the subsequent discomfort forces it to scratch and lick its skin excessively.
This eventually leads to secondary infections that further aggravate the foul smell.
Also, if your dog’s skin has overlapping folds, they are likely the source of the bad odour. These fold normally retain micro-organism and moisture leading to the accumulation of infection-causing bacteria.
To get rid of skin folds, consistently clean your dog to keep them odour-free and dry.
Otherwise, if your dog’s skin appears red or irritated around the folds, there’s a high chance he or she already has an infection.
So consult your vet for the next best cause of action. Don’t attempt to wash or brush them as this may lead to increased irritation.
4. Anal Glands
The smell of a dog’s anal glands isn’t for the faint-hearted. Many describe it as a ‘fishy odour’. As you may know, anal glands are the small secretory glands found on both sides of your dog’s anus.
The anal glands or sacs normally empty their contents through 2 openings when the anus gets stretching during the passing of stool.
Anal sacs vary depending on the dog’s breed. Obviously, a Pomeranian should have smaller anal sacs than a St. Bernard, but all healthy anal sacs have sizes ranging from a kidney bean to a pea.
Now unhealthy anal sacks are either impacted or too fool.
When the glands continuously fail to empty their contents during stool passing, the liquid becomes extremely thick and plugs the anal sacs’ openings.
Impacted glands normally bring about discomfort and can even get infected leading to an abscess. At this point, your dog will be smelling awful.
To have your dog’s anal glands cured, visit your vet.
5. Bad Breath
Many a time, bad breath indicates that your dog has odour-producing bacteria in his or her mouth. Nevertheless, if your dog suffers from persistent bad breath, the problem might be far worse.
Persistent bad breath can get caused by an abnormality in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, internal organs, and the respiratory system.
Additionally, diseases like liver disease, kidney disease, and diabetes can make your dog have bad breath.
In other words, bad breath in dogs comes down to heavy tartar build-up, poor dental health, and periodontal diseases. A certified vet should know what to do about your dog’s persistent bad breath.
6. Gas Attacks
Occasional gurgling, flatulence, and burping are normal in dogs. However, excessive gas is a clear indication that your dog has health issues.
Also, if the gas he or she is releasing has a foul, putrid smell, things aren’t normal. Schedule a visit to your vet especially if your dog releases this bad odour daily.
The solution of dog gas problems may be as serious as treating inflammatory bowel disease or as minor as a change in diet.
Remember, dogs like bulldogs, boxers, and pugs tend to have extreme gas problems because of their facial structures. Their squished-up noses make them take in too much air as they eat leading to a lot of gas in their digestive systems.
Ask your vet how best you can help such dogs consume less air. Giving them probiotics or raising their eating bowls may help.
7. Urinary Tract Infection
Does your pup smell a lot like urine? Most probably she or he has a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection).
UTIs occur when pathogenic bacteria start to grow in the bladder area. This causes discomfort when urinating or blood in the urine. If anything UTIs are more common in female dogs than in male ones.
One of the most common symptoms of a UTI is an increased urination frequency. In this case, you may notice that your dog asks to go outside or to the bathroom more often.
He or she might also have excretion accidents in the house. Ensure to visit your vet in you experience any abnormal urine-like smell. He or she will prescribe the required medicine.
8. Yeast Infections
Yeast has a seriously pungent, unique, and musty smell. Many people compare this smell to mouldy bread, corn chips, or cheese popcorn.
Yeast has always been a problem for many dogs and it can cause more than just that disgusting odour. In extreme cases, dog yeast infections can lead to skin disease.
Some of the common signs of yeast infection (dermatitis) include:
- Redness and itching
- Crusty, scaly, or flaky skin
- Thickened skin
- Recurrent or chronic ear infections
- Darkly pigmented skin
- Stinky paws
- Smelly ears
Yeast can get treated via oral, tropic, or a combination of both treatments. If the overgrowth is mostly in your dog’s ears, clean them every day until the problem get resolved. This is one way to quickly relieve the problem.
Still, yeast overgrowth is mostly caused by diet issues. Switch your dog to a raw diet or a better quality diet to fix the problem.
Interestingly, yeast bacteria feed on carbohydrates, so reducing these in your dog’s diet is likely to reduce yeast overgrowth.
Scientifically known as atopic dermatitis, atopy is an allergy to something in the dog’s environment. This can be anything from dust mites, grass, moulds, pollen, etc.
Dogs with atopy normally have extremely itchy skin, with the worst areas being the tummy, paws, ears, and armpits. Other common symptoms of atopy include:
- Ear infections
- Chewing themselves
- Weepy eyes
- Scooting on their bottom
- Rubbing on the floor or furniture
- Bacterial skin infections
Due to the extremely itchy skin, an atopy-affected dog will constantly scratch, bite, lick their skin making it sore, red, and open to infection.
The best treatment for atopy includes a skin supplement and medication to stop the itchiness, as well as a special diet. Other than those, you can also take your dog to the vet for medical and immunotherapy treatment.
10. Wet Dog
It’s no brainer that your dog will have an awful smell when it’s wet. But do you know why it happens?
According to science, the ‘wet dog’ smell emanates from tiny microorganisms like bacteria and yeast living on your dog’s fur.
These normally organisms excrete smelly volatile compounds and so when the dog gets wet, water liberates and displaces the volatile molecules.
That’s how they make their way to your nose. Luckily, drying your dog will quickly get rid of the wet smell.
The Vet is Your Best Bet
For the more serious causes of a smelly dog, ensure to visit your vet first before conducting a DIY treatment. This will help you to rule out any serious disease that may severely affect your dog.
Other than that, cleaning and grooming your dog thoroughly should help it to stay away from the various infections that bring about an awful smell.