Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Bad Odor

Is your dog stinky?

The average dog shouldn't be any stinkier than the average person!

Why does our dog love to lay down in stinky stuff?In fact, I'd say much less so! (And I'm not even taking bad cologne choices into consideration.)

Of course, a bad cologne choice, at least according to our human standards, can make your dog quite stinky. A good roll in a deer poop or dead fish will certainly do the trick. So would an encounter with a skunk.

When the source of the bad odor is obvious, all you have to worry about is destinkifying your dog.

I am quite sure that a dog covered in something nasty won't escape your attention. But what if your dog is stinky without an apparent cause?

Bad odor can be a sign of a health issue!

1. Bad breath (halitosis) is most commonly caused by dental disease.


Do not take that lightly. Dental disease can cause a lot of pain, and the bacteria associated with dental disease can lead to life-threatening infections affecting the heart, kidney and liver!

Other oral diseases, such as mouth ulcers and melanoma or other tumors of the oral cavity can also cause very bad breath.

Even scarier—systemic issues, such as kidney failure or diabetes can be the culprit behind bad breath.

2. Infected ears (otitis) can generate quite a bit of bad odor.

Infected ears can be quite painful and if left untreated, you're risking serious complications, including deafness, problems associated with the sense of balance, and chronic ear inflammation that requires lifelong management.

3. Another common source of bad odor is anal sac disease.

Healthy anal sacs produce an incredibly foul smelling liquid, but under normal circumstances it is only released when a dog defecates or is terrified enough to use them as a defense mechanism.

If you are routinely smelling anal sac material during the course of day to day life, something is wrong. Impacted glands may releases at inappropriate times (like when your dog scoots across the carpet), and  the micro-organisms in an infected anal sac can produce quite a  pungent odor of their own.

4. Skin diseases

Allergies, seborrhea, and bacterial or yeast infections can also be behind your dog's bad odor. With Jasmine, I have learned to use my nose for early detection of skin in trouble.

The odors associated with skin diseases usually occur in tandem with other symptoms, such as an abnormally greasy coat, itching, flaking, or skin lesions.  But, many owners first notice the smell and often report that “I give my dog a bath and the smell is back the next day.”

5. Gas (flatulence)

Everyone farts, but if your dog produces immense amounts of stinky gas on a regular basis, something is amiss. Abnormal flatulence can be a sign of a dietary issue or of gastrointestinal diseases.


Healthy dogs don't stink!

Bad odor is just as important to pay attention to as any other symptom.

The number one rule when faced with a smelly dog is to look for and deal directly with the underlying problem, not to find a product that will mask the odor or to relegate your dog to the back yard.

It's your dog's health!
Jana

Further reading:
Dog odor
Unnatural Sources of Odor On Pet Dogs
Doggy Odor
Why Does My Dog Stink?
My dog smells bad and has itchy skin

Related articles:
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Excessive Drinking
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Excessive Panting
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Where There Is Smoke, There Is Fire: A Symptom Is Your Friend!
When Is It An Emergency?





Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

75 comments

  1. a timely post for me. i have been noticing some bad breath with georgia. not of the gasp and faint level [yet] but still, more than should be. i shall ask the vet about it the next time we visit.

    thanks jana.

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  2. Hi Georgia, glad it came in a timely manner :-) Most likely it is a bit of dental issue, but either way it is best to take care of it sooner rather than later.

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  3. My puppy has a foul oder, she seems healthy but now my shitz zu starting to smell to, shes only 6months old, what can I do

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    1. Foul odor means something isn't right. Are they both having the same bad smell? Anything they might be getting into (garbage, dead things ... )

      When were they last at the vets? Vet visit is a place to start.

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    2. It could mean the anal glands need to be expressed but no one up here mentioned that..DUH

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    3. so is this harmful to the people who own the dog..? the airborne odor is lethal! My wife has been sick for weeks now any correlation? ( she has fatigue, diarrhea and abdominal pain)

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    4. There is no reasoning I could think of that a stinky dog could be harmful to humans. I'm sorry your wife is sick but it's not from your dog's bad odor. If you wanted to look for a correlation, I'd be looking what the to have in common that could be making both of them sick.

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  4. My rottie has flaky skin n is itching too which caused wounds on him pls suggest wat to do...can't see him in pain

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    1. You need to find out why this is happening. Flaky skin can be the source of itchiness and underactive thyroid can be the source of the flaky skin. On any account, skin health comes from within. Need to find out what is happening in the body either nutritionally, metabolically, or with the immune system that is causing that.

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  5. PS. Had taken him to d vet he gave some antibacterial liq to be used on wounds n a cream but found no relief..

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    1. Antibacterial products and other measures address the bacterial infection, which, most of the time, is secondary to something else. As well as it might not be enough if the infection is deeply rooted and oral antibiotics might be needed. I recommend doing a culture to find out what exactly it is and address appropriately. And in the meantime, look for underlying cause.

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  6. My shepherd lab mix is 10 years old and has gas that smells like a skunk. She started to have this gas three weeks ago. Now it's constantly. I can't take it any longer. What could have started this awful smell?

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    1. Something in the gut is amiss. Did you change diet recently? Did she eat something bad? When was the last time her stool was checked and wellness exam done? What are you feeding? Did you try probiotics? Are the stools and appetite normal?

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    2. Well I have a pittbull and he is my son .. I'm so upset.. He has been having diarrea and bad smelly has for 48 hours now and I am so sad ,, don't have alot of money but would give him my kidney if it will help......

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    3. With diarrhea that lasts this long, I would really see a vet. Initial visit, examination and fecal aren't that costly. Depending on what is found, the vet may or may not run some basic blood work.

      Particularly if the poop smells really bad, please do what you can to see a vet.

      Delete
  7. I have a 2 yr old male shih tzu he has a had a foul smell its unbearable even
    After I bath him itit smells like he is rotten that's how bad it is he has always had a strong smell but this smell is unbearable I have a female shin tzu and she does not smell like that what can I do

    ReplyDelete
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    1. As I mentioned in the article, dogs don't smell bad unless there is a reason. The reason can be anal gland issue, yeast infection issue, bacterial infection issue, metabolic issue ... the best way to get to the bottom of the smell (and get rid of it) is to see a vet, have it diagnosed and treated.

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  8. Hello, my dog has very foul smelling gas, it smells like a skunk. I don't know if this is normal or if there is something wrong.

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    1. Extreme, foul-smelling flatulence is not normal. Gas is produced by intestinal bacteria, typically from things that should have been digested by the dog but remained as a feast for the bacteria. This can mean that either the intestinal flora is out of balance or that he's not digesting the food properly or that something else is awry in the digestive tract.

      Smelling so strongly I'm also wondering whether there is some anal sack content being expelled - that is a really pungent substance.

      The best thing to do is the have the dog and the poop examined by a vet (to look for parasites and other things than don't belong)

      Are there any other issues your dog has, such as soft stools, stools other color than brown, changes in appetite, weight loss, coat changes ... ?

      What are you feeding?

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    2. His bowl is like water....... I'm so sad he is carting a lot....

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    3. He is pooping water and loose bowls... He are chicken recently.. But he picks up things off the floor and may have swallowed one of the boys toys or there's cats around litter box....... I'm sad sad he doesn't feel good and stomachs is hurting him

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    4. How long has it gone on? Such loose stools for more than a day warrant seeing a vet. Particularly if there is the possibility of an obstruction.

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  9. Well it's been 3 days now but I did call a get and they told me to give him immodium.... So it's getting somewhat better but just don't know and don't have a lot.. of money waiting on income tax.... There isn't no blood visible and he has his shots but love him dearly ....His nose is no hot and is 21st and cold but..... Just don't know what to do......

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  10. Hmm. Imodium is not a solution it's just a patch. It's like wiping water of the floor in a house with leaky roof. The best thing is to fix the roof. I'd at least have them run fecal analysis.

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  11. Thank you Jana you are right because he is better now so I will watch to see if he gets worse again cause as of yesterday I stopped immodium... Thank you for talking to me Jana..

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    1. The safest way to firm up stools is good fiber. But for most part it is a patch as well (there ARE however cases where the right amount and type of fiber is all it takes).

      Glad he's better. Hopefully just something didn't agree with him.

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  12. Hi my little pekingnese archie has started scooting on the floor. His gas started to be stinky past 2 days and he can't reach his butt but he's trying and ending up biting his leg instead .... I'm really worried .. he had his anal glad done 2 months ago there was hardly anything there there ... any suggestions ... I'm thinking deworm ... anti histamine ...new diet ... oh I changed his dog food a few weeks ago back to what he used to have .... I dont know I'm just clucking at straws ....

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    1. I'd have the glands re-checked, stool checked and go from there. Something is certainly going on you need to get to the bottom of.

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  13. I have my cousins dog he is on vacation. He smells horrible, he is so itchy and my brother had him last vacation and my brother took him to the vet and he had a staph related rash... well it's been about 3 years since then. And he is about 11 years old. But he has a rash all over that itches and he stinks so bad it makes me want to throw up. His bowels are normal but now my son is sick he won't be back to get him for 3 weeks. Idk what to do. If it is staph related again can my son get it? I'm in early pregnancy can this effect my health? I've thought about telling my cousin he needs to come back and take him to the vet but he says this is normal. I've owned great danes, pit bulls, labs etc... I know this is not normal but I'm worried with his age and health! Not only that but our health as well. My son has had a fever for 2 days and we are taking him in today if his fever doesn't go down. What could it be staph again or is there more skin conditions with bad odor and itching til he's raw?

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    1. Itchy, stinky dog certainly isn't normal. I wouldn't be overly concerned about it being contagious but I would be concerned about the dog's well being. Such stubborn infections typically come from underlying cause be it allergies, underactive thyroid or other problems. I'd have the dog checked out, thyroid function and adrenal function evaluated. Meanwhile you could betadine solution or apple cider vinegar (or even white vinegar as long as no open sores on which it would sting) rinses to see if that helps keep it under control for the time being.

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    2. The staph is usually bacteria normally present on the skin which gets out of control because of insufficient immune response.

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  14. My lab will be 5 in June never has an order until a few months ago it's only smell from her behind but it's a very awful order I thought of anal glands but isn't showing any sighn of that it smells like something has died any idea of what maybe it could be before I take her in?

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    1. Well, other signs might not be present yet. Yes, I'd have it checked out. Just because the problem is only causing bad odor right now, it doesn't meant that the other signs won't follow. Jasmine got diagnosed with anal sack infection strictly because of me noticing bad odor. I'm sure if we waited, other signs would crop up. We didn't wait and took care of it and it was easy to take care of then.

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  15. My dog has started smelling bad all the time. I had is glands checked by a vet because the smell won't go away she said one was full and one wasn't but the smell still hasn't gone. He used to smell fishy but the smell has changed to a poo smell. He's been like this over a week. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Is it the whole body or just the bum region? When was last wellness check and blood work? Any itchiness, skin flaking?

      I'm assuming he hasn't rolled in anything nasty. If he smells so bad there is a reason and your vet needs to find it whether it's anal sack infection, skin infection, systemic issue ...

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  16. My 3 monthe old sprocker get a fishy smell on his underside.. more under arm pit area.. i bath him and he doesnt smell for at least a day then it is back.. also more itchy than normal.. groomer said sometimes make puppies get an order if they are not neutered? I wondered about skin infection does this have an odor like this

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    1. I wouldn't think puppies get stinky because of being intact. Fishy smell would typically indicate anal gland issue to me, but infection could be also possible. I'd certainly have a vet examine him, particularly since he's itchy also.

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  17. I've had My pekingnese for about 2years now he was given to me from a friend he has had a oder since I got him but it is getting worse..the smell is unbearable even after I bath him when he starts scratching is when the smell gets so bad I barely want him around me

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    1. Please take him to a vet. Such bad odor is not normal and it's a sign of a medical problem.

      Delete
  18. Hello Jana, my 9 weeks old westie have stinky gas. Should I worry? He is on a grain free puppy diet and currently taking antibiotics Rilexine because he was sneezing and a little bit of mucus came out and the vet wants to ensure there's no infection. I don't think is the medication that's causing the stinky gas. Thanks

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    1. Hi Ana,

      stinky gas is a product of bacteria in the gut. Healthy bacteria in a healthy digestive system doesn't produce foul gas. But if bacteria colonies shift or if some food ingredients aren't digested well, then comes the bad gas.

      Your pup being on antibiotics would have had shifts in the bacteria. Antibiotics always mess with that to various degree.

      As long as there is no diarrhea or changes in appetite, talking with your vet about adding some good probiotics might just do the trick. I'd definitely give probiotics once the treatment is over. How long is the course? And is it helping for the purpose it's being used?

      If there are also bad stools, vomiting, diarrhea or changes in appetite then you definitely need to bring this up with your vet. Particularly young puppies are very vulnerable to any health problems.

      I would talk to the vet about the gas and including probiotics during and definitely post the treatment. If doing during, I typically give that at different times than I give the antibiotics.

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  19. Hello Jana, thank God he finished the antibiotics and he hasn't been passing gases. Thank you so much for all your advises. I feel great that I can count with this blog for any help. I have 2 puppies and not always can afford vets visits for both at the same time. I did not know it was so expensive. I'm thankful that I was able to find a mobile vet clinic for the vaccines package that's affordable. My two boys are Max and Stuart. They are brothers and are adorable. I had a 5 years old westie who died 5 months ago in a house fire. God bless my family with 2 little rascals. Thanks again!

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    1. I'm happy to hear he's doing better.

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  20. Hi Jana, my Rottweiler is 9 years old and she has a bit of arthritis we believe. Sometimes so bad she won't walk after a lot of physical activity. We bathe her every two weeks and she usually isn't smelly. Within the ladt month we have needed to bathe her weekly. She is getting what seems to be a strong urine smell and also hasn't wanted to move around like normal after no physical activity. What would your opinion be on this or suggestion? Thank you in advance!

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    1. Sounds like there is more going on than just arthritis. What you need to do is to do a full wellness exam, including physical exam, history, blood work and urinalysis. Might want to throw in thyroid panel with the blood work and creatinine : cortisol ratio with the urinalysis.

      Depending on what your vet finds, might want to consider tick-borne disease panel too.

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  21. I have a 8month old blue pit bull he's skin is dry and icthy badly and my god he smells so bad his hair is falling out any suggestons I can't afford a vet..but my digs r my life..

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  22. My blue nose pit is 8 months old, he's got dry itchy skin flaky,and he smells awful its sad he is miserable..any home remedies can't afford vet please help...

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    1. At that age, he might be having mange, probably with secondary infection. I would really highly recommend you find a way to see a vet. Something like this does not cost an arm and a leg to diagnose and treat properly.

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  23. Is it possible for a six mo puppy to have cavities? After getting neutered his breath seems to be rancid. We have a worm bold test scheduled for early September but was wondering if there was anything we should be doing differently. He gets fed Diamond Natural puppy food as that's what he was on when we adopted him. Schnauzer. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. I think it's possible it's related to the mouth though I'd suspect a reason other than actual cavities. Have all puppy teeth come out properly? Could it be that there is something lodged some place in the mouth? I would have the mouth checked thoroughly as well as the blood test.

      I assume there are no other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, weight issues, not eating well .... ?

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  24. Thanks for your reply Jana. No other symptoms, just rotten breath. I'm still finding baby teeth all over the house so I'm guessing he's not done loosing them yet. Thanks for the advice. I will have the vet take a look. Is it ok to give him chew sticks or is he too young? He still sucks on most of his toys and doesn't really chew on things unless it's cardboard. He loves cardboard. We try to keep it away from him as it is highly chemically processed. We hope to find something he would chew safely.

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    1. Yeah, do have it checked one way or another. For chews, you could try introducing by using the bully sticks (beef tendons); do only give while supervised.

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    2. Thank you so much for your time and expertise. It was greatly appreciated. I will look into the Bully Sticks. And have him checked out. Have a great evening.

      Delete
  25. I have a medium size America Eskimo who has developed a bad odor that she never had before that’s permeating from her skin it seems. Also, lately she’s been shedding in clumps, what can be the problem?

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    Replies
    1. Smelly skin is likely an infection. Hair loss related to the infection or both caused by a systemic problem such as low thyroid or adrenal problem. Please see a vet to get to the bottom of this.

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  26. My 17 year old Rat Terrier has been more itchy than usual lately and the normal remedies aren't helping. Also, she smells! She hides under the bed, isn't social anymore and has started pooping in the house. Help!

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    Replies
    1. There is something new going on that seems to go beyond simple itching or bad smell, particularly if he's seeking solitude and having potty accidents. You need to see a vet to get to the bottom of this.

      Delete
  27. My dog is pregnant and she is having watery brown discharge from her anal and it smells like something dead

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  28. I have a 3 month old border collie. He smell 2 days after bath, his breath smell, and just realized two days ago that his pop smells too. his pop didn't smell before, and the texture didn't change just an odor. do I need to take him to a vet for check up or it is normal? thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shirley,

      poop generally smells Whether or not to be concerned depends on type and degree of smell.

      A dog and their breath shouldn't smell bad, though. A healthy dog shouldn't be any stinkier than a healthy, clean person. I would play it safe and see a vet indeed.

      Delete
  29. In past couple of months my dogs has a lot of flatulence and recently her breath is smelling the same as that. She is 15 and has never had bad smells. She has her teeth cleaned once a year and I can't see any rotten teeth either. Suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. At that age I'd worry about something systemic. Please see a vet and have labs done.

      Delete
  30. I have a question? my english bull terrier has been burping much more than when he was younger. For about a year his burps have increased in smell. very pungent strong short lived nasty air. he seems also as if he is breathing louder at night and snoring more. are these signs of getting older or are these underlying symptoms of something else? He is 8 and half now. About a year ago i gave him a couple natural gummy bears from trader joes. I know gummy bears aren't good for dogs. it was a rare occasion. I swear perhaps the glycerin was the initial source to start the foul breath. Cause it started after that slowly... any ideas?

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    Replies
    1. No, age in itself doesn't come with any symptoms. There are medical issues that can crop up with age but any signs are those of an actual issue, not of age.

      Apparently, parasites or a protozoan infection can cause smelly burps and gas. However, with the louder breathing and snoring, I would feel those are related somehow even though they could be a separate issue.

      In any case, please see a vet to get to the bottom of these things.

      Delete
  31. My 8 and a half year old dog is quiet ill. He is in with the vet now on fluids as we don't know what it is. He is crying with pain it started with pains in his side and he has just got worse he wont eat or drink and is panting heavily. Its 3 days now and we dont have an answer. Our vet is worried about him but we cant seem to find anything. She has been tested for pancreitis and has had some xrays still no answer. Have you any idea we are so worried

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If your vet, who examined her and did test doesn't know, I cannot know, sorry. Did they run full blood work, urinalysis? What did they x-ray?

      Our vet, when he has a tough case, has places and people he consults. There is an online place for vets where they can ask colleagues. There is a way to consult a specialist. Sounds like your vet should try some or all of those things.

      Delete
  32. My 6 yr. old dog has been very gassy lately and it smells horrible it's never been this bad, Help, please....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you change food recently? Any new treats?

      Gas happens when something doesn't get digested well and some of the gut bacteria are having a party. Sometimes it can also happen when parasites are present.

      I'd start by reviewing the diet (if any changes), having the vet run a fecal, and if nothing shows repeat and/or blood work. If nothing shows anywhere, might want to try different food.

      Delete
  33. does anyone know what would cause your dog to smell like something rotten? in the rear area i smelled it by her tail cause i smelled it in my house & didnt know where it was coming from,, it was her.. :/ please help.. ty

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    Replies
    1. Bad odor does indeed have significance. Are you saying that you did not find the source of the smell at the anal area? Is it coming from the mouth? (bad tooth, dental disease, foreign body - can even cause tissue necrosis). Skin can smell bad due to infections or wounds. Other causes could be systemic. Please see your vet and have a full wellness exam including blood work and urine analysis to start.

      Delete
  34. My Chihuahua has these little cyst come under his tummy and he's been to the vet and she says they're nothing, yet I give him a bath and the very next day, he's stinking again. It's a horrible odor and smells up my whole house. Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. How long since the vet saw them? Was the smell an issue at that time already? The most common cause of bad smell are infections. I recommend revisiting the issue with your vet.

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  35. My 18 mouth bully been smelling like fish what could be the problem

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    Replies
    1. My suspect would be anal glands and I'd have them checked.

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