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!

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?


  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.

  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.

  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

    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.

  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

  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..

  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?

    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?

    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......

    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.

  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

    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.

  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.

    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?

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

    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

    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.

  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......

  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.

  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..

    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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