Why Does Your Dog Smell So Bad?

Why does a dog smell bad? Dogs naturally smell, well, like dogs. But just because the doggy smell is normal, your pet shouldn’t have an unacceptable smell. If you notice a new, foul odor around your canine companion,

Absolutely! Here’s a detailed guide on addressing dog odor, along with a key takeaway:

Why Does My Dog Smell?

Dogs naturally have a distinct scent. However, an unusually foul odor often indicates an issue. Here’s where those smells might come from:

  • Hygiene: Unwashed fur collects dirt and bacteria. Dogs with long fur or skin folds are extra prone.
  • Health Problems: Skin infections (bacterial, yeast), dental issues, anal gland problems, ear infections, or even internal diseases can create bad odors.
  • Breed: Some breeds are naturally more odorous due to their coat type.
  • Diet: Inappropriate foods may lead to skin or digestive issues that cause odor.
  • Stress: Stressed dogs might produce a stronger odor.

Fishy Smell: The Likely Culprits

  • Anal Glands: Impacted or infected glands cause a classic fishy smell. This requires vet attention.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Poor diet or digestive problems can lead to flatulence and bad breath.
  • Dental Disease: Plaque buildup makes for foul ‘fishy’ breath.
  • Skin Infections: Yeast and bacterial infections can create a musty or fishy smell.
  • Urinary Tract Infection: Makes urine smell fishy, needs vet diagnosis.

Eliminating Dog Odors

  1. Identify the Source: Determine if the smell is due to hygiene, diet, or a potential health issue. If unsure, consult your vet.

  2. Hygiene:

    • Grooming: Bathe regularly (but not excessively) with dog-safe shampoo. Brush out tangles, especially on long-haired breeds.
    • Teeth: Brush your dog’s teeth regularly and consider professional dental cleanings.
    • Ears: Clean the ears regularly to prevent wax/debris buildup and infections.
  3. Address Health Concerns: Seek veterinary attention for any suspected infections, dental problems, anal gland issues, or if the odor persists despite good hygiene.

  4. Diet Changes: Consult your vet about dietary adjustments if they suspect the food is causing digestive issues or skin odor.

How to Remove Skunk Smell

  • Act Quickly: The sooner you act, the better your chances of eliminating the odor.
  • Avoid Water Initially: Wetting the fur spreads the skunk’s spray.
  • Homemade Solution: Mix 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and 1 tsp liquid dish soap. Apply generously, rinse after 5 minutes, repeat if needed.
  • Commercial Products: Consider anti-skunk shampoos for severe odor.

General Tips to Keep Your Dog Smelling Fresh

  • Regular Grooming: Bathing, brushing, ear, and dental care tailored to your dog’s needs.
  • Healthy Diet: High-quality food promotes healthy skin and digestion.
  • Clean Environment: Wash bedding regularly and avoid letting your dog roll in smelly things!
  • Vet Visits: Routine checkups help catch health issues early before they lead to odor problems.

Key Takeaway

While a slight ‘doggy’ smell is normal, persistent or foul odors shouldn’t be ignored. Good hygiene is essential, but a lingering smell often indicates the need for vet assessment and treatment of the underlying cause.

Why Does Your Dog Smell so Bad?

Often, dog owners are faced with unpleasant odors coming from their pets. The study of the mechanism of its formation will help to solve the problem. The theory of excessive sweating doesn’t work for dogs because they don’t sweat much. The only exception is the area of the paw pads. In most cases, a repulsive odor is formed in the glands located in the epidermis.

Lack Of Hygiene Procedures:

Over time, if the pet is not washed, a layer of dirt will form. Most often, the bad smell comes from dogs that have long hair and dogs with many skin folds. Also, do not forget about oral hygiene.


Diseases of the dog’s skin and mouth often cause bad breath. For example, inflammation of the gums, lichen, ulcerative lesions, dermatitis, pyoderma, etc.

Breed Predisposition to Odor:

Primitive breeds, as well as shepherds, Molossians, and many hunting dogs, have a characteristic “wild” coat, and their skin glands secrete more odorous secretions.

Wrong Shampoo:

Some dog breeds need a specific shampoo or conditioner. Another reason may be the choice of low-quality shampoo and conditioner.

Health Disorders:

Estrus in females, metabolic disorders, pregnancy. Often an unpleasant odor comes from dogs due to hormonal changes in the body.

Wrong Diet:

Perhaps your pet simply does not fit the food you have chosen. Another reason may be that you often “spoil” your dog, giving him both dry food and “snacks” from the table.


Oftentimes, we humans sweat when we are stressed or stressed. Some dogs also begin to smell bad when stressed.

What causes a dog to smell like fish?

There are many reasons why a dog smells like rotten fish. Let’s take a closer look at each of the possible problems that can cause a fishy smell in a dog. The disease can be the main cause of a fishy smell. See below what causes a dog to smell like fish.

Anal Sac Disease:

Assuming that your canine actually smells after washing, a butt-centric sac condition might be at fault. Canines have two butt-centric sacs on one or the other side of the rear end. These sacs are found roughly four and eight hours from the butt. The organs that line these sacs produce a noxious liquid that canines use to stamp their domain.

These sacs ought to purge normally when the canine has a solid discharge, however once in a while, the liquid doesn’t pass and the sacs become excited.

The liquid thickens and the sacs become enlarged. For this situation, you will in all likelihood see that your canine is “waggling”, hauling its backside on the ground, or gnawing its rear end. Canines with kindled butt-centric organs frequently smell and have an off-putting smell.

Treatment of aggravated butt-centric organs includes the articulation or exhausting of the sacs. It is ideal assuming your veterinarian does this.

At times, the kindled butt-centric organs can become contaminated, shaping a sore of the butt-centric sac. An ulcer shows up as a difficult, excited expansion on one or two sides of the butt. In the event that the ulcer breaks, you will see a release containing blood and discharge.

A butt-centric organ ulcer is incredibly agonizing and requires anti-microbial and different drugs to control the aggravation. At times, the ulcer should be inundated under sedation or general sedation.

Gastrointestinal Disorders:

Some diets may be more suitable for your dog than others. When a dog develops what many pet owners refer to as a “fancy smell”, it is often due to skin changes caused by poor diet.

It can also happen that the diet causes an upset in the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to gas formation.

If your pet has a general smell that’s bothering you, talk to your veterinarian about changing the diet this simple step can literally clear things up.

If your freshly washed dog still smells, it could be due to flatulence. Flatulence is the excessive formation of gases in the intestines, followed by their discharge from the anus.

Intermittent flatulence is normal for dogs, but it can indicate gastrointestinal problems if it becomes excessive or smells stronger than usual. Excessive flatulence is often caused by the dog eating something new, such as changing its diet, eating leftovers from the table, or chewing on garbage while walking or in the park.

Food intolerances and allergies can also cause flatulence. Dog food containing indigestible ingredients, such as soy or peas, can also cause gas. Brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds such as Bulldogs and Pugs tend to swallow a lot of air while eating or drinking, resulting in flatulence.

This also applies to dogs that eat quickly. Other diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, such as irritable bowel disease and enteritis, can also cause increased flatulence.

Dental Issues:

One of the most widely recognized and disregarded reasons for awful dog breath in canines is dental sickness. Albeit frequently alluded to as “canine breath”, it is a significant condition.

Envision how individuals would smell if they never (or seldom) cleaned their teeth. Pets amass tartar very much as we do, and over the long run, tartar starts to trap microscopic organisms, prompting awful breath. You might see staining of your pet’s teeth or simply a terrible stench. Have your veterinarian inspect your pet’s mouth.

Dental illnesses are effortlessly revised by cleaning your teeth. This is finished under sedation and will give your pet back a solid, scentless grin.

Skin Infections:

Skin contaminations frequently have a foul scent that waits after washing. Skin contaminations can be contagious or bacterial in beginning.

Malassezia dermatitis is brought about by a yeast called Malassezia pachydermatis. Impacted canines tingle a ton and have an upsetting stale-smelling smell. In extreme cases, the skin thickens and becomes pigmented.

Malassezia is generally tracked down on the skin, yet when the skin condition changes or the invulnerable framework is stifled, the yeast can congest and become contaminated. Sensitivities and endocrine issues can influence the skin and lead to Malassezia contamination. Muggy climate and the presence of skin overlays likewise incline a canine toward fostering Malassezia dermatitis.

To analyze this disease, a veterinarian will take tests from the impacted region of the skin and look at them under a magnifying instrument. Treatment incorporates sedated shampoos, skin creams, and, in extreme cases, oral prescriptions. Treatment will likewise zero in on tending to the fundamental reason for the yeast contamination.

Bacterial skin diseases influence hair follicles and the encompassing skin of canines. Like yeast contaminations, bacterial skin diseases have hidden causes like sensitivities, endocrine infections, parasites, or immunosuppression.

Chomp wounds and unfamiliar bodies, for example, grass seeds can likewise prompt putrid bacterial skin contaminations. Breeds with unreasonably crumpled skin, like bulldogs and spaniels, are additionally inclined to create skin diseases because of dampness being caught between skin folds.

Canines with bacterial skin contaminations frequently tingle a great deal. The skin looks aggravated, textured, and covered with little purulent tubercles. Impacted canines may likewise lose hair.

To analyze bacterial skin contamination, a veterinarian might take tests for assessment under a magnifying lens or send them to a research facility for bacterial culture and powerlessness testing.

In the event that your canine is experiencing ongoing skin diseases, the veterinarian will need to figure out the fundamental reason for the contamination and may do a blood test.

Treatment incorporates unique cured shampoos, balms, and anti-microbial, as well as different medications pointed toward treating the hidden reason.

Allergy In Dogs:

Canines with unfavorably susceptible skin infections are frequently sensitive to plants, dust, food, or a blend of things. After some time, the sensitivity causes an optional skin illness and can frequently prompt diseases of the skin and butt-centric organs. Skin contaminations can cause awful breath.

Make a meeting with your veterinarian to decide the wellspring of the allergen. There are numerous sensitivity meds and items that can go far in returning your pet once again to smelling how it is.

Urinary Tract Infection:

If your puppy smells like urine, he may have a urinary tract infection. If it is a bladder/urinary tract infection, you will notice other signs such as increased frequency of urination, more focus on a cup of water, straining, or pain when urinating.

You may see blood in the urine. In any case, any abnormal urine odor should be discussed with your veterinarian. There are other causes of strong urine odor, such as kidney stones, diabetes, or maybe even a fungal bladder infection, all of which require immediate veterinary attention.

Lack Of Grooming:

Needless to say, a dirty dog is a stinky dog! Brushing your dog helps reduce bad dog odors. Brushing rids your pet of dirt, dead skin cells, dried saliva, and anything else that might be in your dog’s coat. You’ll probably be surprised how much better your dog smells after a simple but thorough brushing.

Dogs can be messy. They often prefer to smear themselves with the stinkiest substance they can find, be it excrement, an animal carcass, or smelly water.

If your dog has experienced any of the above, take a deep breath and look for a dog shampoo with a mild and pleasant scent. A good bath (or two) does the trick, though you may want to wear rubber gloves to protect your skin from the smell.

Wet Dog And Seborrhea:

Let’s get back to this “wet dog syndrome” This is a really important issue! Even though you bathe and brush your dog regularly, microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria can live in your pet’s coat.

This is fine. As long as your dog stays dry, there is no bad smell. Humidity stimulates the growth of bacteria, then inflammation and exudation occur – and the pathological circle is closed. Increased skin moisture – seborrhea. This condition requires correction and treatment.

dog smell

How to Get Rid of the Fishy Smell from Dogs?

If the dog’s mouth smells like fish, then the reason for this may be a disease of the teeth and gums. In this case, it is recommended to periodically brush your dog’s teeth with a specialized toothpaste, as well as give her special bones, with which you can remove tartar, reducing the likelihood of disease.

Don’t forget about prevention. The coat of a dog is always confirmed by the influence of the active work of the sebaceous glands. Not all dogs know how to lick themselves, and not all tend to do it, so it is important to brush the dog’s coat regularly, especially if it is long-haired, in order to avoid an unpleasant odor.

You can wash your dog no more than once a week, so if the dog starts to smell bad before this period, then check it for diseases, the symptoms of which can be an unpleasant odor.

If the dog has tangles on its coat, then it is necessary to comb or cut them out, as they can cause an unpleasant fishy smell. Avoid tangles and brush your dog after every walk.

Do not wash your dog with your own shampoos, as they cannot help in solving the problem with an unpleasant odor, but on the contrary, they can increase it, therefore, it is recommended to use specialized shampoos with a natural composition that will not cause allergic reactions and will restore the fat balance on the dog’s body.

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell from Dogs?

Skunks can be a real nuisance to people as they can damage indoor spaces and leave a foul odor. In fact, these animals may secrete a foul-smelling fluid from their anal or scent glands as a defensive weapon. Skunks have strong muscles near the anal glands, and these muscles help them spray liquids about 2 to 5 meters away. This scent can repel many animals, including some large carnivores.

In some areas, skunks pose a threat that can be an ongoing problem. In addition to damaging rooms, they can also emit an unpleasant odor. It may happen that your dog encounters a skunk and smells afterward. Once you understand that your pet currently smells like a skunk and the dog is the source of that bad smell, you can start looking for methods to remove the skunk smell from dogs. This article will give you some tips that can be helpful when dealing with the skunk odor in dogs.

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell in Dogs:

You may have heard of using tomato juice, mouthwash, or vinegar as a remedy for skunk odor. But, most of these remedies are ineffective in combating this problem. The smell of a skunk can remain on animals for several days. In addition, if the liquid is sprayed on a dog’s eyes, the animal may also experience severe pain.

As soon as you realize that your dog has been hit by a skunk, check the animal for bites, scratches, skin irritation, or redness of the skin and eyes. If this is the case, contact your veterinarian. But, the first task is to remove the skunk smell from the dog. Below are some tips and tricks for removing skunk odor in dogs.

Keep your dog out of the house so that the smell doesn’t linger inside. Wear gloves and wipe the dog’s body. It is best to switch to old clothes, as you must bathe your pet to remove the odor. You must act very quickly, as a delay in cleaning the dog can cause the odor to linger on his body for a long time.

So, wipe the dog’s coat before bathing. If you live in an area with skunks, then perhaps use anti-skunk sprays or shampoos that can be used to remove the skunk smell from dogs.

Never wet the dog’s body beforehand. Start by applying the product to the affected area. Also, use a scrub before bathing the whole body. After that, apply anti-skunk products all over the body and rinse well. Repeat this one more time before drying your pet.

It may also happen that you may not have such products against skunks. In this case, you can make a mixture with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and a little liquid soap. Mix one part 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, one teaspoon liquid soap, and ¼ cup baking soda.

Mix these ingredients just before drinking. Make sure the mixture does not get into the dog’s eyes, ears, or mouth when applying. Apply the mixture all over the dog’s coat and rub it well with a sponge. Rinse well after five minutes.

You can repeat the process if the smell still remains. Once you have done this, dry your pet’s body. If you want to make this homemade skunk odor remedy, be sure to mix the ingredients in a plastic container and never cover it with a lid or store the mixture for future use.

Now you know more about how to get rid of the skunk smell in dogs. The most important point is to act quickly so that you can get rid of the bad smell as soon as possible. Otherwise, the dog may carry the smell into the room, and it will linger for a while. This can be worse than if the dog lay down on the bed or other furniture.

If you don’t have any of the above materials, then you can try home remedies. One is from tomato juice or paste, the other is mouthwash. Some people use fresh oranges mixed with some sort of soap to remove the skunk smell from dogs.

Thus, you need to act quickly and get rid of the unpleasant odor. If the smell of the skunk is persistent, there are several ways to get rid of the smell so that you can protect yourself and your pets from the smell.

dog smell

How can I prevent my dog from smelling bad?

Once you figure out the cause of the smell, you can take specific steps to keep your dog from smelling like a doggy. If the exact reasons are not clear, you need to follow the most extensive algorithm to eliminate the risks as much as possible. Is the dog sick? It needs to be cured and during this period the smell should not bother you. Is the pet healthy?

Perform the following procedures:

Bathing without shampoo or with laundry soap. Please note that if the dog is afraid of water, the smell after bathing can only intensify. The results can be judged only after the wool has completely dried.

Bathing with shampoo to eliminate body odor if the previous step did not help. Do not dry your dog with a hair dryer or dry with cold air, when heated, the skin releases more lubrication.

  • Replacing or stripping bedding.
  • Washing overalls and other clothes, if any.
  • Wiping the paws after each walk, even if there is no dirt on the street.
  • In addition to the complex:
  • Clean the pet’s floppy ears once every 2-3 weeks.
  • Carry out preventive teeth cleaning once every 2-4 weeks.
  • Clean the coat as often as possible, do not comb it out, but comb it easily and wipe it with a dry, hard towel.
  • Comb the coat well 1-2 times a week to remove dead hairs.

A few notes about swimming. You should not abuse this procedure, otherwise, you will achieve the opposite effect. If you want to wash your dog, don’t use shampoo. If you cannot stand the smell, use special and high-quality fragrances for wool after washing it with clean water.

Washing off the sebum too often will cause the dog’s body to produce even more lubrication, which will increase the smell and it will be much more difficult to deal with this.

An unpleasant smell from the skin, ears, and paws can appear due to improper nutrition. We are not talking about a violation of the elementary rules of the diet, but rather about inappropriate food or food composition.

Each dog is different, and an animal may have lactose intolerance, seafood indigestion, or an allergy to chicken meat. The owner buys expensive good food, not knowing the characteristics of his pet, and gets the opposite effect. You can test your guesses empirically – by changing the food or excluding suspicious (from your point of view) products.

Note! Your dog may not smell, but uncleaned bedding can give off a very strong odor. The animal sleeps in its place and smells bad after waking up. Oddly enough, many owners overlook such a simple reason. Do not forget that not only bacteria but also parasites can multiply in bedding discounts.

The smell of a perfectly healthy dog can increase dramatically for a number of reasons:

Wetting wool – the smell intensifies, during drying, the smell spreads with fumes. Usually, after complete drying, the smell becomes the same or gets in.

Seasonal shedding – the undercoat, which the dog carried all season, is generously saturated with sebum. As the undercoat begins to shed, the smell intensifies.

Dirty coat – most dog breeds are not recommended for frequent bathing, but if the pet is not washed at all, the concentration of sebum increases, which increases the smell. From the point of view of physiology, there is nothing wrong with that, the only problem is with the comfort of the owner.

Physical activity – the smell intensifies due to the acceleration of metabolism, and hence the excretory system.

Hormonal surges – during puberty, estrus, and sexual hunting, dogs smell stronger, this is due to a natural violation of metabolic processes. It has been observed that for hormonal reasons, males smell much stronger.

How do I keep my house from smelling like a dog?

Pets, especially members of the canine family, have a specific smell. The degree of its intensity depends on the physiological characteristics of the structure of the skin and the frequency of water procedures. It can be subtle, but in most cases it makes itself felt immediately upon entering the room. How to get rid of the smell of a dog in the apartment, read on.

Keep your dog clean

The most effective way to remove the smell of a dog is to help with regular water procedures. Therefore, the pet must be bathed periodically using appropriate products. This should be done once every two to three weeks, but more often, depending on the cleanliness of the dog.

Particular attention should be paid to dog hair. Don’t let it grow too big. Currently, many hairdressers for animals provide services, where craftsmen will bring the dog’s fur and claws of a pet in order for a moderate fee.

Make sure your dog is healthy

In no case should you skip the daily dog walk – in the morning and in the evening. If the pet lets you know that he needs an unscheduled trip to the toilet, you should forget about laziness and take him for an extra walk. After the dog has walked on the street, upon returning home, you should at least wash its paws, even if the weather is fine outside.

Of particular importance is the diet of the dog. It is better to purchase special food for the animal, corresponding to its breed and age characteristics.

Wash your dog’s toys

Pets, like other family members, have their own personal items in the apartment, such as a bed, toys, and bowls. These items also need to be carefully looked after and not allowed to become dirty.

Keep your floors clean:

Dogs spend most of their time on the floor. If it is linoleum or tile, there will be no problems with cleaning it. However, if the dog likes to lie on the carpet, the situation becomes somewhat more complicated, since the dog smell eats deep into the structure of the fabric. This leads to the fact that it is quite difficult to get rid of it.

How to Make Your Dog Smell Good Without a Bath?

f the dog is not sick and regularly undergoes hygiene procedures, then there are only 2 options: try to get used to the specific smell, or use special means to eliminate bad smell. It must also be remembered that the sebaceous glands secrete a secret with pheromones, which is necessary to attract individuals of the opposite sex.

Uncleaned ears are not only uncomfortable for the dog and cause stench for you, but it is also the possibility of various diseases, such as inflammation of the ear or canal. It is believed that especially in lop-eared breeds, dirty auricles can be a source of an unpleasant odor. In general, it is recommended to clean the ears of lop-eared dogs once a week, and for prick-eared dogs once every two weeks. Y

ou can clean your ears with special lotions or powders from a veterinary pharmacy. Special lotions dissolve dirt and earwax, which is removed by massaging, with a dry cloth or by shaking the ears of the dog itself. But for dogs belonging to long-eared breeds, it is recommended to use a special powder that has a drying effect.

As strange as it sounds, There are special perfumes for dogs! But in no case should you spray the dog with perfume intended for people, as this is very dangerous. The use of such perfumes can cause acute dermatitis in the animal, allergic reactions, and deterioration of the sense of smell.

In fact, special products for giving our smaller brothers a pleasant smell and, at the same time, safe ones have been on sale for a long time.

Today, in veterinary pharmacies and on the Internet, you can find a wide range of this kind of product. Moreover, budget options here may not be inferior in quality to the most expensive and sophisticated means. Perfume for dogs is also used to prevent skin diseases, and the appearance of parasites: fleas and ticks. Perfumes also add shine and silkiness to the coat, improving its structure of the coat.

It is very important that the dog does not notice the appearance of a new scent, otherwise, he will behave anxiously, and other smells will be lost. In this case, the animal may be disoriented in space. It is also important that the pet does not have a strong smell when communicating with its relatives for the correct identification of the dog in society.

Therefore, the perfume must be of high quality. It is also worth remembering about the adequate use of perfumes and avoiding their excessive use. Only in this case, with proper care of the animal, it will be charged with energy and give positive emotions to its owner and his household!


If your dog continues to smell after bathing, this is usually a sign that something is wrong. It is best to take your dog to the vet if you notice that he smells bad. This may indicate that your dog is suffering from a medical condition that needs to be treated.

In addition to the bad smell, the dog may experience pain and discomfort due to the disease. It’s not always obvious. Don’t try to mask the problem with scented sprays or overwashing your dog, as this can strip the coat and skin of their natural oils. A monthly bath is enough, unless, of course, your dog rolls around in something smelly.


Can dogs be smeared with human perfume?

Occasional sprays of human perfume behind the ears or over the head of the tail are perfectly safe for dogs.

What happens if I put perfume on my dog?

Perfume and fragrance products should be used judiciously with our pets. Strongly scented shampoos or sprays applied directly to the animal can cause skin reactions, nausea, lethargy, or even respiratory irritation.

What can be sprayed on a dog to make it smell good?

Fill the sprayer ¼ with witch hazel and ¾ with water. Add about 5 drops of lavender essential oil to the mixture. You can add a little more essential oil if you like, but don’t make the scent too strong as your dog probably won’t like it.

Do dogs hate perfume?

Perfume and cologne contain a number of ingredients that dogs will avoid. It is not uncommon for puppies to ignore their owner the moment fragrance is applied to their skin. This is due to the fact that perfume products contain chemical compounds, essential oils, and alcohol. All of these ingredients have a strong smell that dogs hate.

How to get rid of dog smell?

Seriously though, spirits can negatively affect dogs if they ingest them; indeed, both perfume and aftershave contain ethanol, which can be very toxic to dogs. If you want your dog to be safe and happy, try to limit his exposure to perfumes, aftershave, and the like.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at ItsAboutDog.com.

Know More

Recommended For You