A smelly pet is a common complaint we hear from pet owners. Dogs can stink for a number of reasons, and many of which may be normal. After all, have you ever met a dog who doesn’t smell a little doggie? The odor that is emitted from your dog, though, may be an underlying sign of trouble. 

The team at Highway Veterinary Hospital is here to explain the causes and conditions of a smelly dog to help you answer the question, “Why does my dog stink?”

6 Causes of a Stinky Dog

That unmistakable smell when your dog returns from a rainy walk, or when they haven’t had a bath in a few weeks, is something most owners lament. A mix of musk and oil create a bouquet of malodorous odor, not something you want to have on the couch or the bed. But there are some odors that are more than just that doggie aroma. 

Here are some common concerns for why your dog stinks.

  1. Dental disease – Periodontal disease, an inflammation of the gums and tooth decay, are often the culprit behind bad pet smells. If you can’t deal with the stink of your pet’s big yawn, there could be dental disease causing that stench. Look for other signs, such as loose teeth, discoloration, redness, and bleeding of the gums.
  2. Skin problems – Allergies called by environmental allergens can cause inflammation of the skin, which can create an odor. Atopy is likely if your dog has been scratching excessively, or biting at the skin and paws. This can lead to dryness, scaling, scabbing, and other problems that cause the skin to stink.
  3. Gas – Flatulence in dogs is a real concern, even though it is the cause of many jokes. If your pet has digestive troubles due to their diet or a food allergy, they may be gassy.
  4. Ear infection – Ear infections are a cause for concern because they can lead to pain for your pet and permanent damage to the ear. There are several kinds of bacteria and yeast that create odor in your pet’s ear. A buildup of ear wax and debris can make for a petri dish of bacteria. Allergies and hormones can also cause an imbalance in the ear, leading to infection.
  5. Anal sacs – Not exactly the topic of conversation over dinner, an impacted anal sac can cause your dog to smell. These sacs, located on each side of the rectum, are responsible for odor that marks the pet’s territory and communicates with other dogs. When they become impacted, it can lead to discomfort, that telltale “boot scoot” across the ground, and, yes, stink.
  6. Something they’ve rolled in – One of the most obvious of reasons your pet stinks is that they have rolled in something they shouldn’t have, like a dead animal, feces, murky water, and other environmental stench. Nothing more than a good shampoo will get rid of whatever gross things they’ve enjoyed. 

Certain older or ill pets will sometimes have an odor to them because they don’t self-groom as often. Always consult your veterinarian if your pet has an odor because it could be the signal of ill health, infection, or disease.

Does Your Dog Stink?

If your dog has an otherworldly odor that isn’t your basic doggie smell, please contact us. We can help figure out the mysterious stench and, if needed, offer the right treatment for whatever underlying cause is occurring.