Troubleshooting the Dog: 5 Unhealthy Reasons Your Dog May Stink

The Troubleshooter is collaborative advice from CKC's team of canine enthusiasts, professionals, and trainers. For severe behavioral and/or health issues, consult a local veterinarian, professional trainer or animal behaviorist. 

Dear Troubleshooter,

I’m really not sure what to do anymore and I’m hoping you can help me. I have three dogs: Copper, Sam, and Bella. I bathe them all regularly since they love to play outside and get pretty smelly after a short while. The problem is that the bath doesn’t cure Sam’s stench. He continues to put off this foul odor even after I’ve bathed him. I’ve tried several different shampoos. I’ve even wondered if he’s finding something dead to roll in right after bath time just to punish me, so I kept him inside for a while and, sure enough, the smell was still there. It seems like the smell is just attached to him. Please help!

Stumped Stinker

Dear Stumped Stinker,

The good news is that Sam probably isn’t dirtying himself back up just to spite you. The bad news is that Sam’s persistent odor may mean that it’s time to take a trip to the vet. While dogs won’t ever smell like homemade apple pie, a smelly dog can indicate one of the following health problems:

1. Ear infection

If your Sam’s stink is coming from his ears, it could be a sign of ear infection. Any dog can suffer from ear infection, but dogs with long, floppy, or hairy ears are especially susceptible. The condition often comes from bacteria or yeast, and it can cause him a great deal of pain.

2. Dental issues

Is the stench coming from Sam’s breath? A foul, decaying odor that radiates from his mouth may come from infected gums or tooth decay. Without proper cleaning, tartar buildup can accumulate around the gum line, and the bacteria in the tartar can cause bad breath and a host of other unwanted health issues.

3. Flatulence

Gas is typically a dietary or intestinal problem. If Sam seems a little more gassy than usual, a slow transition to a new dog food might solve the problem. While some flatulence is normal, if it becomes a regular occurrence you may want to visit your local veterinarian.

4. Anal glands

Dogs have anal glands located on both sides of the anus, which secrete a pheromone after each bowel movement. The secretion has such a powerful stink that if it gets on your dog’s hiney, you’ll smell him coming from a mile away.

5. Skin infection

Skin odor can be a sign of a skin infection or allergy. Dogs with a skin allergy tend to scratch themselves frequently, which irritates the skin and may result in a yeast or bacterial infection. In response to the skin irritation, your dog’s body may begin generating too much oil, and the buildup of oil on your dog’s skin and fur can also create a foul odor.


The Troubleshooter

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