Even dog lovers can’t deny that dogs smell harsh occasionally. While some odors can be quickly remedied, there are also cases where a smell can indicate a more severe problem. But is it normal for dogs to smell stern or even stink?
It is not normal for dogs to smell or stink harshly. When a dog has an intense, bothersome odor, there is often a disease of the ears, teeth, skin, or anal glands behind it. However, it may also be that he has flatulence due to an upset stomach, has gotten into something smelly like garbage, or has gotten wet. In some cases, serious illnesses can also be the reason.
Some dogs carry an intense doggy odor and may require more thorough grooming.
In other dogs, an intense odor requires more attention, as a smelly dog may be due to a health problem.
While there are several reasons why a dog may have a strong smell or stink, some of the reasons are more common than others.
This article will explain the most common reasons dogs smell stern and what you can do about it.
Is It Normal for Dogs to Smell Stern?
As humans, we are used to showering and smelling fresh every day. Dogs are different in this respect because they should not shower or bathe so often. Therefore, is it normal for dogs to stink or at least smell bad?
Although dogs do not shower daily, it is not customary to have a strong smell. A dog should never have a noticeable odor when it enters a room or an odor that often makes you uncomfortable.
If this is the case with your dog, there is a possibility that they have a medical problem that is causing them to have a distinct and unpleasant odor.
If your dog’s odor cannot be eliminated with regular bathing and grooming habits, one of the following problems could be responsible.
The Dog Has an Ear Infection
Does your dog have a strange, intense odor? Does he often shake his head, scratch his ears, rub against the wall, or feel uncomfortable when you touch his ears?
Your dog may suffer from a bacterial or fungal ear infection if any of these are true.
A healthy dog’s ear has defenses that can fight off unwanted organisms and help maintain a healthy environment within the ear itself.
Nevertheless, the ear is the perfect environment for thriving yeast and bacteria. Organisms like yeast and bacteria prefer dark and enclosed body parts like the ears.
So, if the dog’s defenses are inadequate, this creates a perfect environment for ear infections. Some factors that can have an impact on ear health are:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Excess hair in the ears
- Long, floppy ears
- Frequent swimming
If you think that an ear infection is the cause of your dog’s strange odor, you should have your veterinarian run a test.
In doing so, he will take a swab from your dog’s ears and examine it under a microscope for bacteria and yeast.
If such germs are found, you will usually be given a solution to clean your dog’s ears and antibiotics against the bacteria.
The Dog Has a Dental Disease
Just like in humans, the formation of plaque and tartar on a dog’s teeth may lead to an unpleasant odor.
Whether genetic predisposition, poor diet, or lack of dental cleaning, tartar can quickly form on your dog’s teeth over the years.
Aside from the foul odor that dental disease can cause, it can also cause your dog pain.
There are some typical symptoms of dental disease in dogs:
- Bad breath
- Discoloration of the teeth
- Red or bleeding gums
- Blood in the water bowl or on chew toys
- Loose teeth
- Problems eating or picking up food
- Aversion to touching mouth or head.
- Swelling of the face in advanced stages of dental disease.
To prevent odor from dental disease, you should discuss a plan with your veterinarian to clean your dog’s teeth. You can also give your dog dog food that works against bad breath.
Each dog has its own needs, but ideally, one dental cleaning per year is ideal for your dog’s optimal dental health.
If your dog is predisposed to dental disease, it is a good idea to discuss with your veterinarian which food is best for your dog’s dental health.
The Dog Has a Skin Disease
The skin covers the entire body. So, you can imagine that a skin problem can significantly impact your dog’s smell.
Like humans, dogs have a long list of skin diseases that can affect their appearance, health, and smell.
Regular brushing can help with dandruff, but you should use a de-felting tool like the Furminator to prevent dead skin cells from irritating healthy skin.
The Furminator comes in different sizes for small, medium, large, and giant dogs. Be sure to select whether you need the long or short hair version in addition to the appropriate size.
With all skin conditions, the most common symptoms, such as itching and irritation, can lead to self-injury.
Since dogs tend to chew and scratch at their skin without considering the consequences, this often leads to wounds and open areas on the skin.
Such sores and skin irritations can cause a pungent odor on the dog’s skin.
Some skin conditions that can cause a pungent odor are:
- Hot spots
- Flea dermatitis
- Yeast on the skin
- Skin mites
- Chronic skin diseases
If you suspect your dog suffers from mild skin itching and allergies, you should use a dog shampoo for itchy skin.
Even though such a shampoo is helpful, you should still consult your veterinarian before starting any home treatment.
Your vet may also prescribe a medicated shampoo to soothe the dog’s irritated skin.
The Dog Has Anal Gland Problems
You may have never heard of the infamous scent glands that hide in the muscles of the dog’s buttocks.
They are naturally expelled with each bowel movement when they are functioning normally. This allows your dog to set a scent mark for other dogs that cross the path of his bowel movements.
The anal glands are also why dogs sniff each other’s rear ends when meeting other dogs.
However, if the anal glands are clogged, it can cause a foul scent to be emitted throughout the house. The smell from the anal glands is very noticeable, as it is known for its strong fishy odor.
A clogged anal gland can also cause discomfort and pain and lead to an abscess if it is not appropriately emptied during defecation.
Especially in small dogs, it may be necessary to express the anal glands if they are disrupted manually. Have your veterinarian do this or show you how to do it yourself.
Some signs of clogged anal glands are:
- Slipping around on the butt.
- Licking the rear end
- Discomfort during bowel movements
- Blood in the stool
- Spotting in areas where your pet frequently sits.
If you are concerned that an anal gland problem is the cause of your dog’s unpleasant odor, it is best to contact your veterinarian to have your pet’s anal glands examined.
During a physical exam, he can manually check the size of your dog’s anal glands and empty them if necessary. You should also ask how often your dog should come for anal gland exams.
The Dog Has Flatulence
Gastrointestinal distress or bloating can be another reason for a smelly dog.
Occasional bloat is usual, but if your dog has constant bloat or his bloat smells extremely strong, it may be a sign of a bigger problem.
The canine intestine is a delicate system, and any disturbance to its balance can lead to discomfort, including severe flatulence.
Some things that can cause increased bloat are:
- Change in diet.
- Wrong diet
- Adding new foods
- Eating junk or mildly toxic substances.
- Food intolerances
- Bacterial imbalance in the intestines
- Intestinal parasites
- Gastrointestinal disorders
You should talk to your veterinarian if you suspect your dog is experiencing unusually severe bloating. He can determine if your dog’s diet is the cause or if further investigation is needed.
The Dog Has Gotten Into Something Smelly
People often forget that dogs have several innate instincts inherited from their wild ancestors.
One of the not-so-favorite instincts is their need to roll around in smelly things. Whether it’s dog feces, dead animals, or smelly garbage, your dog may feel the urge to roll in it.
Many believe this behavior is because they want to hide their scent to sneak up on their prey.
It has also been proven that wild dogs roll in all sorts of pungent-smelling objects they find to mask their scent for hunting in the wild.
So, this instinct may overcome your dog when he passes particularly smelly objects.
The Dog Got Wet
This is entirely normal if your dog develops a strong odor when he gets wet. This is related to the bacteria and yeasts that live on a dog’s skin.
When these bacteria and yeasts come into contact with water, they give off the characteristic smell of wet dogs. As long as this odor disappears once your dog is dry, there is no need to worry.
The Dog Has a More Severe Health Problem
Among the reasons for a bad smell in dogs are more severe health problems that have been proven to lead to a smelly dog.
Fortunately, these are relatively rare reasons for a smelly dog. Nevertheless, consider these reasons, especially if the other causes have been ruled out.
Some of the health problems that can lead to a strong odor include:
- Kidney disease: a kidney disease in dogs can lead to foul breath caused by ulcers that may form in the mouth because of this disease.
- Diabetes: some dogs suffering from severe diabetic disease have been known to have a solid ammonia-like, sweet, or fruity odor coming from their mouths.
- Ulcers: If your dog has lumps or bumps, they may be ulcers or growths. Certain growths can cause foul odors if they progress without medical intervention.
- Autoimmune skin diseases: Some autoimmune skin diseases can cause sores on the skin that can lead to foul odors from the skin.
- Eye diseases: Several eye diseases can cause discharge, swelling, or pain in dogs. If these diseases are not treated, it can lead to an unpleasant odor.
As mentioned earlier, these are relatively rare reasons for a smelly dog. It is more likely that your dog’s odor is caused by one of the many other reasons listed above.
When to See a Veterinarian for a Strong Odor
You should visit your veterinarian if your dog emits an unpleasant odor that cannot be eliminated even by an extensive bath.
Fortunately, most conditions that lead to a smelly dog are harmless. They are relatively easy to treat and well under control.
By visiting your vet, you can rule out the possibility that something more serious is behind it. And the sooner you take care of your smelly dog, the easier it will be to fix the problem.
Summary: Why Do Dogs Smell Bad?
By nature, a healthy, well-cared-for dog does not smell harsh or smelly.
If your dog still smells unpleasant, there are many possible reasons. These all require an appointment with a veterinarian, even though they usually aren’t severe.
Some important points to remember when it comes to keeping your dog free of unpleasant odors are:
- Pay attention to your dog’s dental health.
- Check ears monthly for odors, inflammation, or redness.
- Inform your veterinarian of any skin changes.
- Have your pet’s anal glands checked on the schedule your veterinarian recommends.
- Have your pet examined by a doctor regularly.
- Remember to groom and bathe your dog regularly, once a month, or when he comes in contact with smelly objects.
Most of the time, you can find out the cause of your dog’s smell just by using the process of elimination. To do this, go through the possible reasons one by one.
And if you have fixed your dog’s problem, this will also fix the smelly odor problem.