Why Do Dogs Smell Bad?

If you are a dog owner, you probably love your furry friend more than anything. But sometimes, you might also wonder why your dog smells so bad. Is it normal for dogs to have a strong odor? What causes it? And most importantly, how can you get rid of it?

In this article, we will answer all these questions and more. We will explain the different factors that contribute to your dogs smell, such as diet, health, hygiene, and breed. We will also give you some tips on how to keep your dog smelling fresh and clean.

What Causes Dog Odor?

Dogs have a natural scent that helps them communicate with other dogs and animals. This scent comes from various glands in their skin, ears, mouth, and anal area. Some of these glands produce oils that protect the skin and coat, while others secrete pheromones that convey information about the dog’s mood, health, and reproductive status.

However, sometimes these glands can produce too much oil or become infected, leading to a foul odor. Some of the common causes of dog odor are:

– Ear infections: Dogs with floppy ears or allergies are prone to ear infections, which can cause a yeasty or musty smell. Ear infections can also lead to itching, redness, swelling, and discharge in the ears.

– Dental problems: Dogs with poor dental hygiene or gum disease can have bad breath or halitosis. Dental problems can also cause plaque, tartar, and tooth decay, which can affect the dog’s overall

– Skin infections: Dogs with skin allergies, parasites, or wounds can develop skin infections, which can cause a sour or rancid smell. Skin infections can also cause inflammation, itching, hair loss, and scabs on the skin.

– Anal sac problems: Dogs have two small sacs near their anus that contain a smelly fluid. This fluid is normally released when the dog defecates or is scared or excited. However, sometimes these sacs can become blocked or infected, causing a fishy or metallic smell. Anal sac problems can also cause pain, swelling, and leakage around the anus.

– Diet: Dogs that eat low-quality food or human food can have digestive issues that affect their smell. For example, some foods can cause gas, diarrhea, or constipation in dogs. Other foods can alter the pH balance of the dog’s skin and coat, making them more prone to bacterial or fungal growth.

– Breed: Some dog breeds have a stronger natural odor than others. For example, hound dogs have more oil-producing glands in their skin, which gives them a distinctive musky smell. Other breeds that tend to smell more are basset hounds, beagles, cocker spaniels, shar peis, and bulldogs.

How to Prevent and Treat Dog Odor?

The good news is that dog odor is usually preventable and treatable with proper care and grooming. Here are some steps you can take to keep your dog smelling nice:

– Clean your dog’s ears regularly: Use a cotton ball or a soft cloth dipped in a mild ear cleaner to gently wipe the inside of your dog’s ears. Do not use cotton swabs or insert anything into the ear canal. If your dog has signs of an ear infection, such as odor, discharge, or pain, consult your veterinarian for treatment.

– Brush your dog’s teeth daily: Use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs to gently brush your dog’s teeth and gums. Do not use human toothpaste as it can be toxic to dogs. If your dog has signs of dental problems, such as bad breath, bleeding gums, or loose teeth, consult your veterinarian for treatment.

– Bathe your dog regularly: Use a mild shampoo formulated for dogs to wash your dog’s coat and skin. Avoid using human shampoo as it can dry out or irritate the skin. Rinse well and dry thoroughly with a towel or a blow dryer on low heat. Do not bathe your dog too often as it can strip the natural oils from the skin and coat.

– Trim your dog’s nails and hair: Use a nail clipper or a grinder designed for dogs to trim your dog’s nails regularly. Avoid cutting too short as it can cause bleeding or pain. If you are unsure how to do it properly, ask a groomer or a veterinarian for help. You can also trim the hair around your dog’s eyes, ears, mouth, and anus to prevent dirt and bacteria from accumulating.

– Express your dog’s anal sacs: If your dog has signs of anal sac problems, such as scooting on the floor, licking the area, or emitting a foul odor, you may need to express or empty the sacs manually. This is a delicate procedure that requires some skill and caution. If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, ask a groomer or a veterinarian for help.

– Feed your dog a high-quality diet: Choose a dog food that meets your dog’s nutritional needs and preferences. Avoid feeding your dog human food or table scraps as they can cause digestive problems and affect the smell. You can also add some probiotics or digestive enzymes to your dog’s food to improve their gut health and reduce gas and odor.

– Use odor-neutralizing products: You can use some products that can help eliminate or mask the dog odor, such as sprays, wipes, powders, or deodorizers. However, these products are not a substitute for proper hygiene and grooming. They should only be used as a temporary solution or an extra boost.


Dogs are wonderful companions, but they can also have a strong smell that can bother some people. Fortunately, you can prevent and treat dog odor with some simple steps and regular care. By keeping your dog’s ears, teeth, skin, coat, and anal sacs clean and healthy, you can ensure that your dog smells as good as they look. You can also feed your dog a high-quality diet and use some odor-neutralizing products to enhance their freshness. With these tips, you and your dog can enjoy each other’s company without any unpleasant smells.