Why dogs stink

"He smells like a dog", the client says.  Being as he is a dog, this doesn’t seem to me to be a problem, technically.   If, being a dog, he smelled like, say, a camel — now that would be a problem.  Of course, this is not the truly stinky dog. Every dog has a tendency to smell a little strong when wet.  If you can love your dog when he’s wet, then you really love your dog.  Something about being wet, or even just a really humid day, brings out that "doggy" odor.  That’s not too bad, though.  Nothing a little bath or a little deodorant (like Elimin-Odor, or Fresh-n-Clean) won’t fix.  In fact, some clients complain about the dog smelling "doggy" when I personally cannot even detect an odor.  Admittedly, my nose is not sensitive at this point, so I do ask the staff to come in and give their viewpoint (smellpoint?).

Then there is the ever popular, "let’s find something dead and roll in it".  It’s a taste treat, a fashion accessory and a designer fragrance.  Again, nothing a bath (or two) won’t cure.

Some dogs, however, are truly stinky.   A small minority of stinky dogs have an odor that arises from an internal illness.  Dogs with chronic and advanced kidney failure can have so much waste accumulating in their bloodstream that it makes their breath smell like ammonia (or urine).  Some seriously unregulated diabetics have so many ketones (fat break-down products) in their blood that their breath smells like acetone (the stuff in nail-polish remover).  These are not going to be long-term stinky dogs.  In fact, without some intensive care they are not going to be long-term alive dogs.

Long-term stinky dogs tend to either have personal hygiene problems, anal sac problems, mouth problems, skin problems, or ear problems (often extensions of skin problems, and I will discuss ear problems in more detail in a future post). 

The personal hygiene problems are worst for long-haired pets.  If you have lots of fringe around your mouth, food and saliva can lodge there and cause odor problems.  Long hair around your hiney needs to be kept trimmed.  Otherwise, the first soft stool hangs up and starts a "snowballing" effect.  It’s hard to stay clean if you go to the bathroom with your pants on.  Dogs with deep skin folds also have odor problems with yeast and bacteria growing in the valleys.  This would include the English Bulldogs, the Chinese Shar-Pei, any "smashed face" bug-eyed dog, and some obese dogs.  Spaniels sometimes have folds in their lower lips that catch food and saliva.  You need to keep the folds clean. In some extreme cases, plastic surgery may be needed to eliminate the offending creases.

We have discussed basic dental care in previous posts.  The gunk in a diseased mouth stinks, and if you have an itchy dog, they will be spreading that goo on their skin wherever they chew themselves. Sweet.

Really itchy dogs (or pruritic dogs, as we scientists would say) are usually stinky if the problem is long-term.   The really itchy dog chews and scratches himself constantly.  This traumatizes his skin.  Often you can see sore places where he has actually broken the skin in an attempt to relieve his itching.  The skin attempts a protective response when continually assaulted in this fashion.  Most of us are familiar with the formation of calluses in skin areas that take a lot of wear and tear.  In dogs, the constant scratching does some other things as well.  It speeds up the process of new skin formation and maturation, though this is not particularly helpful. When you shortcut a 3-week process, the results are not as good as if you "did it right".  That’s why the skin begins to flake: it’s just not built as well as it should be.  Another thing that happens is that the oil glands in the skin get over-active.  This is a fatty secretion, and when produced in excessive amounts, it gets rancid pretty quickly.    This rancid odor will therefore develop with many chronically itchy dogs, no matter what the underlying cause for their problem.  Thus, dogs with yeast infections, bacterial infections, mange mites, allergies or contact sensitivity all "smell mangey".  Give them a bath and they will be stinking again in very short order. Their skin continues to crank out the grease, which goes rancid in a hurry.  The technical name for this situation is seborrhea. 

Medicated shampoos (benzoyl peroxide, colloidal sulfur, coal tars) will help abate the excessive flaking and greasiness, but you must find the underlying cause and treat that.  The stinkiness would not be happening if the itchiness were not happening.

Acceptable Stinky Dog Treatment Plan:

1. Find the source of odor:  mouth, ears, hiney, skin or combination thereof

2. Find the underlying causes and treat all of them. 

Unacceptable Stinky Dog Treatment Plan: throw dog outside.

178 thoughts on “Why dogs stink

  1. Carina says:

    What about the “roll on something dead and well rotted so half dead still wiggling maggots are smooshed into your fur and the only way home is to get back in the van and your human REALLY doesn’t want you in there in that condition.”
    Is it acceptable to repeatedly hurl said Rottweiler in the river until most of the nastiness is washed off? I hope so because that’s what I did on Sunday morning….!

  2. Daniel Clark says:

    We have a female shih-tzu that is 9 months old and lately we have noticed a very strong odor around her face. It smells alot like vomit yet she has not vomited. We would appreciate any advice. Thank-you The Clarks

  3. Doc says:

    I would look for pockets that are holding fluid. This allows bacteria to thrive and create odor. Look on the sides of her lower lip. Also, look at skin folds on her nose, in front of her eyes. Open her mouth and check for stuff caught between her teeth, or back between cheek and gums. It wouldn’t hurt to check her ears as well.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  4. Alan Berry says:

    I have a Beagle who’s breath smells like vomit. Should I be checking for the same things you suggested to Daniel Clarke?

  5. Alan Berry says:

    I have a Beagle who’s breath smells like vomit. Should I be checking for the same things you suggested to Daniel Clarke?

  6. Doc says:

    Checking those things would be a good place to start. If you can’t find anything, seek the help of your veterinarian.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  7. missy says:

    Our 9 month old boston terrier/french bulldog mix has a strong odor coming from her face. Her cheeks, breath, and mouth. Her cage also stinks of it and she smelled this way the day after giving her a bath and washing her bedding. She doesn’t really have folds as the others have talked about so I dont know what it is? Any advice?

  8. Doc says:


    The best advice I can give you is to have your dog
    examined by your veterinarian. The dog could have a
    skin-fold dermatitis that you have considered
    insignificant. She could have a retained baby tooth
    that is holding junk between her teeth. She could
    have a foreign body lodged somewhere under tongue or
    way back in her cheeks. She could have some systemic
    illness that causes bad breath. I urge you to get her
    checked out by her doctor.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  9. Hunter says:

    I have a golden lab mix and he also stink very bad even 5 hours after bath with dog shampoo. I was checking where the smell should come from, but it is not from his ear not from his mouth, and not even his butt, actually his fur smells. I don’t see his scratching himself either. I have a stream going trough on my backyard and he love to swim almost every day, but he still stinks. First I thought may be because sometimes his fur not dry out well before he comes in the house and here in California the summer hot so he my get sweat. We took him to the veterinary and they said it is the anal glands issue, so they took care of it. But he still stinks. So my next step is to change his food. Right now I give him Nutro Natural Choice dog food, and Pedigree can foods. If anyone has any idea what else could be pls. post it.
    Thank you

  10. Doc says:

    Wet dogs do indeed have a distinctive odor, even when there is no problem. However, if this were the source of your situation, he should smell fine after bathing and drying, and it sounds as though he does not.

    Dogs really don’t sweat much, except for on their noses and foot-pads. Therefore hot days causing B.O. due to sweating are not very likely.

    Talk to your veterinarian and let them know that draining his anal sacs did not make a difference. They are in the best position to help you, but if you don’t tell them what’s going on, they will be thinking everything is okay. Give them some feedback so that they can help you.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  11. Dawn says:

    I have a 11 year old Chow Chow that has been having hair loss on her back, with some skin discoloration (from pink/normal to dark brown and black) where the hair is missing. There was crusting at the base of the follicle and when I try to remove it, an entire clump of hair comes off and now she has a bare streak on her back because it hasn’t or doesn’t grow back. She also has some on her face, but not as bad. I’m currently treating her for mange, even though they didn’t find anything with the skin scraping. When I bathe her, there is a distinct smell of ammonia. I’m not sure if it’s the shampoo and skin flakes/crust mixing together or what. Have you ever heard of this?

  12. Doc says:

    Hello, Dawn,

    I have not encountered the ammonia smell you describe when bathing. It does NOT sound like the ammonia smell one finds on the breath of animals with kidney failure (they are REALLY sick).

    Please mention this to your doctor. It is possible that the medicated shampoo may have some compound that contributes to the odor, and that they can reassure you on this point.

    I suspect that if you don’t have good results with the treatment, they may recommend doing a skin biopsy. This is a bigger up-front expense, but can save a lot of time and money in the long run by getting an accurate diagnosis.

    I don’t usually do skin biopsies on a first visit, but if things are not going as expected and my other tests aren’t helpful, a skin biopsy can be a super big help.

    Good luck.

  13. Kevin says:

    I have a miniature poodle bichon mix (bichy-poo?) That smells fine after a bath but stinks horribly after being outside in the sun. She also scratches quite a bit. I tried a dandruff type shampoo on her and it made things worse. We have changed foods and that does not seem to help.

    Got any ideas?

  14. Doc says:

    Hello, Kevin,

    I must confess that I don’t have any specific ideas about why a stint in the sunshine would make your dog smell worse.

    Itchy dogs that scratch excessively get those skin oil glands overactive, producing that rancid smell.

    I’d try taking the dog in to see you veterinarian when she (the dog) is having a stinky day.

    Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

    Love the “Bichy-Poo” name.

  15. jennifer says:

    My 11yr. old Boxer has always had a “foot” smell about him. Not strong, but, musky. Lately, the smell is all over his body. Also, he has broken out in hives(bumps all over his body). He is an indoor dog. I’ve treated him for mange mites with dip. No help. It seems he may have passed his skin affliction on to me from sleeping in my bed. Before we both itch to death, any ideas on how to treat this? I’m leaning towards fungicide(athlete’s foot spray).

  16. Doc says:

    Hello, Jennifer,

    I strongly recommend that you take your dog to see his veterinarian. There are quite a few different things that could be causing this and you really need to get a diagnosis instead of just treating “by guess and by golly”.

    You might both have a contact sensitivity to something. Any new sheets, blankets, detergents, fabric softeners, etc.?

    It is unlikely that you would catch staph bacterial infections from your dog, but not impossible.

    Allergies could explain your dog’s condition, but that would not be catching.

    It is certainly possible to catch ringworm-type skin fungus, but I would expect that you personally would have some red, crusty sores. The appearance in the dog can be quite variable, anything from the classic, round, raised crusty “ringworm” lesion to mild lumpy-bumpies.

    Scabies mites (sarcoptic mange)are very definitely transmissible to humans, particularly if you are sleeping with the dog. Usually, in addition to itching, you would be developing some red bumps, like chiggers (only more itchy). Treating with Revolution three times at 2-week intervals would rule this out. I wouldn’t count on the dipping.

    Demodex mites (red mange) could certainly cause your dog’s problem. Dogs can carry small numbers of these mites throughout their life with no apparent problem. Then, with age or other medical conditions, their resistance drops, and the mites overmultiply, causing skin problems. Again, this would NOT be transmissible to you.

    This dog needs a diagnosis, and we just can’t do that over the phone (or the web). Take him to the veterinarian.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  17. Cheryl says:

    We have a 12 year old female Golden Retriever and we have also noticed a strong Amonia odor while bathing her. It is very strong – to the point where when you finish with her you have a bit of a head ache. We also have an 11 yr. old male and he doesn’t have the reaction. We have tried different shampoos but, the odor still happens. She smells fine when wet… just when shampoo’d. I know that you posted that you hadn’t heard of this before but, we wanted to post to Dawn that we know exactly what she is describing! Please let us know if you have any other ideas what the cause could be! Thanks!

  18. GunGirl says:

    I have a 1yr old choc lab who sometimes smells horribly like stinky feet even his pet bed smells like it even after laundering, the smell will last a few days to a week at a time then go away, it gets VERY strong, (literally the first time it happened i yelled at my fiance to wash his feet assuming it was him… poor guy) I also have a rescued golden retriever (not sure of her age)who when bathed, has a stinky odor, not wet dog smell, or camel smell (lol) just foul stinky and hard to describe maby like poopy bo, i just assumed maby getting a bath made her nervous and she was secreting some sweaty bo or oil, anyway smelly shampoo doesnt do the trick for either of them, any ideas, normally i would just load them up for a trip to the vet but i lost my job (dang economy) 3 months ago and therefore have to work on a tight budget for now, I love my pets and consider them my children, while my friends and family consider me crazy. Up to now I never thought twice about a vet bill (even when the dreaded bloat happened)i have some emergency money but this didnt seem like an emergency situation. Thanks for reading!

  19. Doc says:

    Hello, GunGirl, (western or sporting or paramilitary?)

    Since the odor comes and goes, it is not likely to be an ear infection. The only thing I can think of is that he may be expelling his anal sacs if he gets stressed. This really stinks, and is a persistent odor.

    There is a product called “Elimin-Odor” that is an odor-binder. It keeps the stinky stuff from vaporizing into the atmosphere. Try your veterinarian and see if you can get some of this. Wipe his anal area, the underside of his tail and the back of hind legs. If this controls the odor, it’s probably his anal sacs.

    Good luck

  20. Gloria says:

    I have 2 min Schnauzers that stink. Schnauzers are susposed not to stink. They do not roll in anything. I have tried a medicated shampoo the vet gave me with no luck. They smell awful a few hours after bathing. I have them groomed and they take care of the anal gland, and ears. They love everyone but it is embarassing for company to pet them.

  21. Doc says:

    Hello, Gloria,

    Has your veterinarian actually examined the dogs?
    You need to rule out ear infections and dental problems (if they chew themselves, they spread mouth yuck onto their fur).

    Are they itchy? Lots of scratching gets those skin oil glands overactive. Anti-seborrheic shampoos only help if you get the underlying cause of the itching handled. Schnauzers are quite prone to superficial pyoderma (skin infections with the staph bacteria that are normally not a problem), in fact, you may hear people refer to “Schnauzer bumps”. Allergy is another source of itching, too. Yeast infections in the skin can be pretty stinky, too.

    If your veterinarian has already ruled out these problems, then I would ask him for a referral to a veterinary dermatologist.

    Good luck.

  22. megan says:

    hello, i have a yorkie poo, he usually doesnt stink unless he is in the cage for a couple hours. the smell is horrible!! the cage is clean so i dont know what it is!! please help!

  23. Doc says:

    Hello, Megan,

    If he had a skin problem, mouth problem or ear problem, I would expect him to be stinky all the time. If he is only stinky after being crated, and you can’t see an obvious reason, I would suspect his anal sacs.

    The anal sacs normally empty their noxious secretion at the end of a bowel movement. As the anal sphincter contracts to finish off the poop, the sacs are squeezed and a few drops of the foul-smelling territorial marker falls free of the dog onto the top of the BM, where you would not notice it.

    Some dogs under stress will have a “butt-pucker moment”, and the same squeezing of the anal sphincter empties the sacs. The difference here is that the dog is not squatting, so the secretion winds up on his bottom and under his tail.

    There is a good deodorizer called “Elimin-odor” available from many veterinarians. Wiping your dog’s tail and bottom down with such a product would greatly improve the situation if the anal sacs are the problem.

    Here’s a link to more discussion of the anal sacs:


    Good luck.

  24. Jamie says:

    I have a 6 yr old male Chessie. Over the last month he has become so smelly we almost can’t be in the same room w/ him. At first we thought it was a yeast infection in his ears, which he always gets. But I treated that and he still smells. After a recent bath we noticed that the skin on his back was bloody in patches. Not profusely bleeding, just very much on the surface of the skin. Mostly near his hind legs and moving up the center. When he is dry it is crusty, flakes off and smells. When we brush him dead flakes of skin come off everywhere – A LOT! He has never had anything like this before. What is it, what could it be caused from and how can I treat it at home if possible.

    Thank you,

  25. Doc says:

    Hello, Jamie,

    From your description, my top three differential diagnoses would be pyoderma due to Staph bacteria, Ringworm-type skin fungus, and yeast skin infection (Malassezia).

    Any skin problem should also have a skin scraping to rule out mange mites. I looked at a Collie today who has been treated repeatedly (elsewhere) over the past year for “hot spots”. They never did a skin scraping and he has demodectic mange. He has been suffering needlessly for a long time.

    You really need to see your veterinarian in order to figure out what is causing the skin condition. The skin infections also usually have some other underlying cause that is getting the dog’s resistance down.

    Which as severe a problem as you are describing, I wouldn’t waste time and money screwing around with over-the-counter remedies.

    Sorry I don’t have a quick fix, but dermatology in the dog is often frustrating. Many different underlying conditions (or combinations thereof) can produce very similar outward appearances.

    Your dog really needs to see your veterinarian.

    Good luck.

  26. linduh says:

    My daughter has an American Staffordshire terrier that has no odor whatsoever, and the dog goes out to a fenced in backyard every day and gets bathed about once a month. She is awesome!!

  27. Diana says:

    I have a toy poodle, almost 6 months old, and he had puppy breath (so sweet!) until about 2 weeks ago and now … whew! His breath suddenly is awful! He wants to lick all over us but you can’t stand it. I am using Nutro Puppy Food — was using Iams but the Obedience Trainer said that had too much corn in it so we changed his food. Since he is still such a baby, what could be making his breath smell so bad??

  28. Doc says:

    Hello, Diana,

    Sometimes bad breath is related to eating nasty stuff. I’d try to observe the kid closely to be sure he isn’t eating garbage, cat poo, his own poop, etc.

    With a puppy that age, I’d also be concerned about the possibility that there is a problem shedding the baby teeth. This can cause crud to get caught in between the teeth, thus leading to bad breath.

    If you can’t see anything wrong in the pup’s mouth, it would probably be worthwhile to have you veterinarian take a good look in the mouth.

    Good luck.

  29. Diana Bozeman says:

    Hi Doc! Just wanted you to know that you were right on!! My puppy had 4 baby canine teeth that he was not shedding so the vet removed them when I took him in to have him neutered. Hopefully that will help with the bad breath!! Thanks again so much!!

  30. Melinda says:

    Good morning Doc,

    We have a Dachshund who is about 5 months old. His breath has become just horrible, as well as his poop when he has an accident. I know all poop is going to be smelly but this is just beyond rancid. I don’t know if his digestion is off or what. Any suggestions? Thank you.


  31. Doc says:

    Hello, Melinda,

    I’d be looking at diet first. What is he eating? Has it changed? Does he have access to the outdoors? Supervised or unsupervised? Fenced or unfenced? Are there other pets? Could he be finding and eating cat poop?
    Are his stools firm or loose? Normal color?

    Your turn…

  32. Melinda says:

    Hey Doc,

    He’s eating Science Diet, it has not changed. He does get to go outside, unsupervised, we have a large fenced backyard. Yes we have two other dogs, a maltese and the best kind in the world (a mutt). Yes cat poop could be found, we have an outdoor cat who hangs out in the backyard quite a bit. His stools aren’t runny, but not really firm either, seem to be a normal color.


  33. K9 help says:

    Just wanted to say that we have noticed the SAME ammonia type odor when bathing our 3 year old German Shep. It doesn’t matter what type of shampoo we use, the smell is very distinctive. He has a lot of itching and smells horrible, so we put him on a holistic diet with all natural ingredients. It worked very well for a few weeks and now we are back to excessive itching.

  34. Doc says:

    Hello, Melinda,

    If the dog seems to feel well,I would consider a two-day trial of strict supervision. He doesn’t go outside except on a leash with a person, so you know that he’s not eating some kind of yuck.

    Collect a fresh stool for your veterinarian (less than 12 hour old when they veterinarian gets it).

    If the situation resolves, then you know there’s something in the yard. If it doesn’t (or if the dog begins to feel bad at all), then it’s time for a trip to the veterinarian. This may require some hands-on work.

    Good luck.

  35. Shelly W. says:

    I also have a 10 month old visla mix that smells of ammonia when bathing her. It almost knocked me over tonight. She also has a skin problem, yet undiagnosed. We have ruled out mange so am changing her diet and treating her for yeast infection. It doesn’t matter what shampoo we use, either. Tonight’s bath was remarkably strong in ammonia smell.

  36. Andy says:

    I have a 5 1/2 year old Shih Tzu. She enjoys naps but recently, in the past few months I’ve realized that she stinks really bad. One thing I noticed was that she is wet under her armpits and often under her neck. Her skin is flaking a bit and washing it doesn’t seem to help. She scratches alot at these places and sometimes I find angry red marks where she has been scratching at. I was wondering what causes this and how I can treat it.

    Thank you,

  37. Doc says:

    Hello, Andy,

    I would be suspicious of a yeast(Malassezia) infection. Your veterinarian can do skin scrapings and scotch-tape preparation cytology exams under the microscope to detect the yeast or bacteria, or mange mites, or whatever else may be there.

    The problem with dog skin is that it doesn’t have a lot of imagination. You can have a lot of different underlying causes and the skin just keeps doing the same old thing: itchy, red, flaky, greasy, lumpy-bumpy.

    You really need to get a skin checkup with your veterinarian. Actually, you need a whole-body checkup. Sometimes a skin problem is just a skin problem. Sometimes it’s a whole body problem, and the skin problem is just the part you can see.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  38. Cathy says:

    Our 6-year-old recent puppy mill rescue shihtzu has ear infections and reddish brownish discoloration of fur on all feet and up the hind legs. Do you think they are related through allergy perhaps? Is there a food that would be better than a chicken based kibble?

  39. Cathy says:

    In addition for our shihtzu we have been using ear cleaning and medication and antifungal smapoos all prescribed by vet but nothing helps. Thanks. Cathy

  40. Doc says:

    Hello, Cathy,

    I can only speak in general terms here, as I cannot see your dog. Your veterinarian is the best person to advise you, as he/she can see your dog and get the one-on-one that is essential to success.

    The reddish-brown staining on the legs is usually due to excessive licking and chewing. The saliva stains the hair. Sometimes a dark coloration is associated with a yeast infection.

    The anti-fungal shampoos should help with a yeast infection, but some dogs require systemic therapy, such as oral ketoconazole.

    The combination of problems that your dog exhibits does suggest allergic problems. Has your veterinarian done any allergy treatment using some type of cortisone? Examples would be prednisone, dexamethasone, triamcinolone. I would be very suspicious that your dog would require this type of treatment.

    I doubt that changing foods will solve your problem. Food allergies certainly exist, but they can occur with just about any food. When we have a patient who sure looks to be allergic, but does not respond to cortisone, we suspect food allergies.

    The only way to diagnose these is with a dietary elimination trial. One obtains a special diet containing nothing that the dog has eaten before. It usually takes six months to get sensitized to a new food, so if you have food allergy, it’s usually NOT something new, but something the dog has eaten for a long time.

    The special diet might be one with novel ingredients, like kangaroo and oats, or it might be a hydrolyzed protein diet, where the protein source is broken down into short amino-acid fragments, like Purina HA or Hill’s Z/D.

    That diet is fed exclusively for several weeks, being sure that the dog gets nothing else. This allows every trace of the old food to leave the dog’s system. It can take as long as 16 weeks. This is a lot of trouble, so we don’t usually do it unless we have tried other things first.

    I haven’t seen your dog, nor read your medical records, and I don’t know the complete history. From what you have told me, I do suspect an underlying allergic problem that needs to be addressed. This could be to anything in the environment: house-dust, pollen, mold, etc., as well as possibly an ingredient in the diet.

    Good luck.

  41. Peggy says:

    Hello – I have a border collie – terrier mix about 8 years old. She was rescued from a terrible home life prior to our adopting her from a shelter. For the last 5 years she has suffered terribly from some sort of horrible skin affliction. She bites and scratches constantly, leaving bloody open sores and removing any portion of her fur she can bite or rub off. Her coat is somewhat greasy and has a bad order but she REEKS of ammonia when I am bathing her. During this time she has been under constant vet care with allergy shots, antibiotics and flea meds -none of which seem to help. I love her dearly, but can find no relief for her and am tearfully considering having her put down to end her constant suffering. Do you have any ideas as to what causes this or what I can do for her? Thank you so much. pk

  42. Doc says:

    Hello, Peggy,

    The problem here is that there are so many things to consider. I will go over some of them. Your veterinarian has probably already done some or all of these, but it might be helpful to repeat some of the tests. You can miss things sometimes.

    The difficulty is that really bad skin problems can have multiple underlying causes, and ALL must be found and treated in order to obtain relief for the patient.

    I am sure that your veterinarian has already checked skin scrapings for mange mites. Sometimes one gets false negative scrapings, and I have mistakenly ruled out mites when they were really there. The dermatologists say that itchy dogs should always be treated for Scabies (Sarcoptic mange) if you can’t find anything else. I have had good luck using Revolution three times at 2-week intervals. I recently spoke with a dermatologist who prefers Advantage Multi (the moxidectin is what kills the mites) on that schedule.

    Any constantly itchy dog will get its skin-oil glands over-active, producing a rancid smell. I do not have any experience with the ammonia smell coming from the skin. Some dogs have an ammonia smell on their breath when their kidneys are failing, but that would hardly go on for years, and the dog would be terribly ill. Some diabetic dogs have breath that smells of acetone (like nail-polish remover).

    Your veterinarian has probably already done this, but with such a long-standing problem, one must consider that skin problems sometimes are “whole-body problems”, and the skin is just the part you can see. Therefore, you want to check the whole dog, running a complete blood count and a biochemistry panel. Thyroid problems are usually not itchy, but low thyroid can predispose you to other skin problems. That should be checked as well.

    Skin infections with the yeast Malassezia are not uncommon. They don’t respond to cortisone or antibiotics (the kind that kill bacteria, that is). You need to use anti-fungal shampoos, and often systemic anti-fungal drugs, like ketoconazole or fluconazole.

    Food allergies are often unresponsive to medication. The only way to really diagnose or evaluate them is with a dietary elimination trial. The dog must eat a special diet (something with ingredients never eaten before, not just a different brand) for anywhere from four to sixteen weeks.

    A skin biopsy would be indicated in a dog with such a long-standing problem. Even if one was done years ago, I would do another one. This needs to be sent to a dermatopathologist, a pathologist who specializes in skin disease.

    I hope this is helpful to you.

    Good luck.

  43. Nancy says:

    I have a rescue Boston Terrier, 6-years old. He came with food allergies but has been doing fine on Wellness dry (duck). Lately, he has been projectile vomiting up feces-smelling small pieces.
    When this happens, he has diarrhea. Otherwise, his appetite is good and he plays, etc. What could cause this?? Thanks for any info. Nancy

  44. Doc says:

    Hello, Nancy,

    When I have had patients who vomited up stuff that smelled like feces, they had an intestinal blockage and nothing was getting through. Since he is only bringing up small pieces occasionally, that would not be the case. If he had a blockage, he’d most likely just be getting sicker on a continuing basis.

    It is possible that he has some partial blockage. A foreign object in the stomach can move around, sometimes blocking the exit valve at the pylorus, and sometimes being out of the way.

    Some type of intestinal infection is possible. Occasionally dogs with whipworms will have intermittent vomiting and diarrhea.

    If I were seeing him, we’d probably start with a stool exam and an abdominal survey X-ray. I’d recommend that you see you veterinarian.

    Good luck.

  45. Dale carpenter says:

    Hi , I have a very small 9 year old shi-zu that always stinks like poo and sratches constantly . I’ve noticed that she is not fluffy like most shi-zu’s . She is overly warm to the touch and her hair lays very flat. Can’t take the smell much longer and can’t even give her away, poor thing , any advice? Dale

  46. Doc says:


    Long-distance diagnosis is tricky, but it sounds like your dog’s primary problem is the itching. The warmth is inflammation. The constant scratching gets the skin oil glands overactive, producing a rancid odor. In severe cases, the odor will return within a couple of hours of bathing. The skin is just oozing this excess oily secretion, and the bacteria on the skin turn it rancid in a hurry.

    You need to find and treat the underlying cause of the itching, whether it is allergy, skin infection or mites or whatever.

    I think it is very likely that a visit (maybe a couple of visits) to your veterinarian can get this handled.

    Good luck.

  47. Leroy's mom says:


    I have a neutered 3 year old male bassett hound who stinks. I get him professionally groomed once a month except for during the rainy season because for some reason when it’s rainy outside he extra stinks. I got him groomed in December and the very next day he stank as badly as he did before I took him in. He usually won’t start to stink until about 2 weeks after getting groomed. While he is at the groomers I wash all of his bedding. I have him on a corn free Nutro Natural food. He sheds alot but my vet said that’s pretty normal for bassetts. My vet did reccomend a special shampoo but it was $60+ a bottle and since he sheds so much I can’t wash him at home in the bath tub because I’m afraid he’ll cause a plumbing issue. He doesn’t seem to scratch too much and he doesn’t have any flaking, red skin or hair loss (beyond his normal shedding). His stinkiness is a very strong “houndy” odor. Any suggestions for keeping him smelling fresher?

  48. Doc says:

    Hello, Leroy’s Mom,

    If the dog is clean, and medical problems with mouth, ears, and anal sacs have been ruled out, and the dog just “smells doggy”, you might try using Pfizer’s Canine Elimin-odor product. This has no fragrance, but chemically binds the odorant molecules so they don’t vaporize into the air, thus no smell.

    To get a little fragrance that antagonizes the doggy smell, I also like Fresh-n-Clean aerosol cologne.

    Be sure to rule out the medical problems first.

    Good luck.

  49. Suzanne says:

    Hi I have an 11 year old male bull terrior mix who has recently started to stink and I cannot figure out why. It began about 6 months or a year ago – he also had his spleen removed in Feb 2009 due to cancer (not sure if that has anything to do with it or not). I think it’s a general overall musty smell that appears to come from his fur and appears about 3 days after a bath. I thought, too, that it was a result of being in the heat and humidity (sweating)until I read your earlier answers.
    Our vet said it was because he had over-prodcution of oil in his skin, and gave us this special shampoo and pet deoderant. I am just not buying into that explanation because my dog has never had this problem in the past and I don’t believe he all of a sudden started producing more oil (unless it’s due to age or the previous cancer).
    Do you have any other suggestion for me? I cannot give my dog a bath every few days (or every week for that matter) and that pet deoderant is not the answer!! Any help would be appreciated.

  50. Doc says:

    Hello, Suzanne,

    It would be unusual for a dog to suddenly begin secreting excessive skin oil in his old age. This is usually genetic throughout life (like a lot of Cocker Spaniels), or related to a lot of itching (which you do not mention).

    The first thing I would do would be to recheck his blood work with a complete profile, including thyroid hormone levels. If this is not revealing, then I would consult with a veterinary dermatologist.

    Good luck.

  51. Joan Walsh says:

    This might be more than y’all wanted to know about anal sacs but here goes…I had my Corgi mix bathed once a week…she was a real stinker. The vet had shown me how to express the anal glands but I preferred someone else to do it. There are two ways to express…externally and internally. The groomer did it externally. 6-12 hours after Poochie got home she was stinky again…the odor is unmistakable. I finally tried bathing her myself and NOT doing the anal glands unless she seemed uncomfortable with them. It seems that the external weekly agitation of the glands had kept them super-active. Once we got that down to a less frequent routine she doesn’t smell so bad. I hope that helps.Oh yeah, I expressed the glands internally. Not much fun but it seems to work better…it isn’t quite as irritating for the dog.

  52. Jon Mowery says:

    I have a 10 year old Spitz mix male dog. For 8 1/2 years he had no odor other than normal dog odor (I’ve owned dogs all my life and this is the first awful smelling dog I’ve had). He is an indoor dog and I take him for a walk four or five times a day. All the sudden (no change in food or external conditions) he has started smelling awful. The vet says his ears look good. There is no odor with breath. He is bathed once a month and they exercise his anal glands. After the bath he smells better but not good like he used to. This will last for a day or two but then the smells back. Why does he smell so awful? He licks his feet constantly and pants like he’s hot all the time. My wife is ready to through him out the door. Help!

  53. Doc says:

    Hello, Jon,

    Your discussion doesn’t give me a lot to go on. You’ve apparently ruled out ear infections, tooth problems, and anal sack problems, three of the more common causes. I presume it is the dog itself stinking, rather than just passing bad gas (a problem in itself).

    The constant foot-licking suggests a possible allergy. I have patients whose excessive scratching causes excessive skin oil release, and this produces a rancid odor.

    Are there other signs of allergic itching? Hair loss? Sore places?

    I wish I could be of more help, but long-distance is tough.

    Good luck.

  54. Sheli says:

    Hello- I have a Shih Tzu mix, that always stinks even after bathing him with special shampoo from our vet, I keep his hair cut short every 6 wks. he’s also been checked for allergies by taking his blood and than sent to a lab for testing, I was giving him injections $110.00 x3 bottles that last for about 3 months but that worked for a very short time before the scratching statred all over again…. and another refill was needed. Please, Please Help!!! The vet tells us there is not much more that can be done and his allergies are year round!

  55. Doc says:

    Hello, Sheli,

    Stinkiness usually results from excessive scratching. This causes the production of too much skin oil, which gets stinky in a hurry.

    Excess scratching takes place because you itch all the time.

    If the hyposensitization injections were working while you were giving them, then you know that you have allergy problems. Allergy problems cause itching in most dogs.

    Hyposensitization therapy is a life-long process. While you are giving the injections every week or so, the dog’s allergy is under control. When you quit giving the injections, he quickly loses his tolerance for the allergens.

    If it worked, I’d re-start it, realizing that it won’t start working right away.

    If it didn’t work and corticosteroids (like prednisone) don’t help, I’d be concerned that you might have a food allergy.

    Talk to your veterinarian about revisiting the hyposensitization therapy, and also about a dietary elimination trial to look at food allergy.

    Good luck

  56. mary says:

    I have a two year old cocker spaniel that has an awful smell around her mouth. there are a few hairs on each side of her mouth that
    smell really bad. I cut them and clean them but the smell eventually comes back. What is it, and how do I get rid of it.

  57. Doc says:

    Hello, Mary,

    Assuming that your dog doesn’t have a problem with teeth and gums, it sounds like there is a problem with the lip folds.

    A lot of spaniels have a deep fold of skin at the sides of their lower lips. This forms a little pocket of sorts that holds saliva and bacteria and it stinks.

    While daily cleansing with a baby wipe may help, and clipping the hair very short there may help, some of these dogs need surgery to eliminate the excess skin and get rid of that pocket.

    It’s pretty hard to make a long-distance diagnosis, but that is what it sounds like from here. You might ask your veterinarian about it. Take the dog in for an exam when it’s stinky.

    Good luck.

  58. Kat says:

    Here’s one for you: My dog smells like cat pee. He is a 10 yr old male german shepard. He’s always had some allergy/itching but not to a dangerous extent. He did have a fungal thing around his genital area which we treated over a year ago and has not returned. Recently we had an issue with ticks, which we finally got under control. I noticed him having some skin issues after this so I asked the pet store what the best food is for his skin, they referred me to sweet potato and fish. He loves it but since day two on this stuff he smells like cat pee. I actually though the cat pee’d on the rug and he lied in it. I gave him two baths in one week with kelosab and the very next day he smelled again each time. Could it be the food?

  59. Doc says:

    Hello, Kat,

    I would not ordinarily pick on the food, but since this started right after the change of food, it would be worth checking.

    Change back to his regular food for a week, and see if the odor resolves. If so, try the food again and see if it returns. That should tell you the story.

    Good luck.

  60. Carrie says:


    I am curious are you feeding Natural Balance? My dog has lots of skin and allergy issues and recently I have started having the same problem. She smells like urine. Considering she is not even 6 months old the chance of kidney issues is low but I am taking her to the vet on Thursday for her spay so we are going to check for that as well. However, I switched her to LID – Natural Balance, Fish and Sweet Potato and I have noticed over the last couple weeks that her whole body smells horrible of urine. I give her a bath, using Histacalm shampoo, and within a day or two the smell comes back. I think she feels much better and is itching less so I will deal with the odor as long as she is happy and comfortable. I am a little relieved to see someone else say that they smell that on their dog after feeding fish and potato, so hopefully that is all it is.

  61. Doc says:


    With two testimonials like that, I am going to pass this on to the gurus at Veterinary Information Network and see if any of them have had a similar experience. Thanks for reading and writing.

  62. Kat says:

    Update, I took my dog off the food and within 2 days he smelled like the bath I had given him 3 days before.

    Carrie, it was indeed the Natural Balance. I took it back to the store and explained everything, they were gracious enough to refund my monies.

    For the record, I don’t think it’s a bad food, my dog loved it and all else seemed well with him but the smell. I think he must have some underlying issue that the food brought out in him.

    Either way, back to the old food and he smells great again!

  63. Doc says:

    The VIN guys noted that the had seen dogs develop a “fishy odor” when fed a fish-based dog food, but not a smell of urine.

    As “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, stench is in the nostril of the smeller, I guess.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  64. Anne McDermott says:

    Hi there

    We have a 2 year old F3 labradoodle who due to being “poodly” doesn’t really have any doggy odour. However, he has the most awful smell around his chin area, reagardless of how many times this area is washed. It smells like vomit/sour milk and is so strong even a day after washing that you know when he walks in the room without looking for him!! We keep his hair short around his mouth and I have opened his mouth and his breath is fine. He only started with this at around 7 months of age but its getting unbearable. Do you have any ideas what it could be please?

  65. Doc says:

    Hello, Anne,

    The only similar case that comes to mind was a Springer Spaniel, which is pretty drooly to start with. That particular dog had little pockets of skin in his lower lips. Every dog has a sort of fold, but this was deep enough that it retained saliva, and often bits of food, as well.

    Because it stayed wet all the time, there was bacterial and fungal growth and consequent odor.

    Rather than use antiseptic wipes all day long, we elected to do a little plastic surgery and eliminate the pocket.

    Does your dog have anything similar, or an area that just stays wet?

  66. Cailinorourke323 says:

    Hi there,
    I have a 8 month old Bull Arab and he has stunk and scratched for almost 6 months, its a strong odour that makes us not want to pat him. I can’t identify the smell only that it doesn’t smell like feet, ammonia or wet dog, the smell is definitely coming from his skin. He has had skin scrapings and they revealed nothing. He also has a very raw tip of his tail, he keeps hitting it and blood goes everywhere, it also is bald for a good 4 inches from the tip up. The Vets we use haven’t been able to diagnose anything worthwhile, he’s been on anti-biotics and special shampoo but nothing stops the itching or smelling. He has also bitten away a bald patch on the trunk of his body from it being itchy. We also regularly clean up after he has vomited up dry grass that he has eaten, he wakes us up wretching in the middle of the night long after he has eaten. We have him on allergy free prescription food but again its not really working. Please help.

  67. Doc says:

    Even though the skin scrapings have been negative, the dermatologists tell me that itchy young dogs “have scabies until proven otherwise”. In other words, when we can’t find an obvious cause, we treat for scabies (sarcoptic mange) to rule it out. We usually use Revolution, three times at two-week intervals.

    The tail will probably require bandaging, which is doable, but pretty tough. It’s easy for the dog to take it off. Takes a lot of work to stay with it until the tail heals.

    It sounds like your veterinarians have been hitting all the other bases pretty thoroughly. While it is unusual for a dog this age to have true allergies, some do (especially English Bulldogs and Chinese Shar Peis).

    It sounds like your veterinarians are working around to ruling out everything else before treating for allergy by using corticosteroids.

    Good luck.

  68. linda purvis says:

    I have a golden retriever that has kidney falure. she has had it for 3 years now. She has this foul smell that is just horrible. she is in the pool a lot and it always smells worse when she is wet. I have tried to wash her and she still smells bad. it is not her ears or anal sacs. I was wondering if it might be due to her kidney problem. Can it cause her to smell bad thru her skin?

  69. Doc says:

    Hello, Linda,

    Usually the only smell that shows up from high waste levels in the blood (uremia) is an ammonia smell on the dog’s breath. That generally doesn’t occur unless the dog is in terrible shape. In other words, she wouldn’t feel like swimming – she’d just be moping around doing very little of anything.

    Since you have checked ears and anal sacs, I suspect you have checked her mouth as well. Sometimes dogs with bad gum disease spread that smell when they lick or chew on themselves.

    Share your concern with your veterinarian. This sounds like a hand-on type of problem.

    Good luck.

  70. Dorien says:

    hai my dog (a ridgeback/akita cross) always has this weird chimical smell not from his mouth but from his fur also he always feels like he has some oil on his coat he has a verry thik coat (as u can imagen) and i was just wondering if i can do something about the smell? grtz dorien

  71. Doc says:

    Hello, Dorien,

    I really don’t know what to tell you. It sounds like something that needs some first-hand examination. I’d recommend a visit to your veterinarian.

    Best wishes.

  72. www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1432844209 says:

    I just came across your page and just wanted to add my experience with Natural Balance to Kat and Carrie’s. I also just started both my dogs (one Westie/Poodle and one Westie/Bichon) on Natural Balance Sweet Potato/Chicken dry this past week and have noticed just in the first 2-3 days the smell of cat urine from their fur. At first, I thought one of them had rolled in something, but it has gotten stronger over the last couple of days. I’m really bummed about this because I switched due to stomach and skin issues they were having with another brand and this seemed to have done the trick. They aren’t having the loose stools or the constant itching they were having and my Bichon has actually calmed down (big plus!). I’m willing to put up with it a while longer to see if their bodies adjust to it as long as the food itself isn’t causing problems with their kidneys (this was the first thing I was worried about when I noticed it getting worse). Is that something I should be concerned about?

  73. www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1432844209 says:

    It’s funny. This morning, after we first got up, the odor seemed to be very strong. A couple of hours later, after we’d gone out for a walk and they’d gone to the bathroom, the smell didn’t seem to be noticeable at all. After we came back in and the Westie/Bichon ate some food, the smell seemed to return. I can’t really tell whether her breath smells like urine because her whole body (including the fur around her mouth) smells like it. It didn’t seem to be any stronger in her mouth and the mouth of the Westie/Poodle didn’t smell like urine at all.

  74. Julbug says:

    I have three Jack Russells. Two of which are pups of 6 months. My male pup is itchy- terribly. Has almost no fur left on feet or chest. We have hundreds of dollars in vet bills trying to clear this up. Advantix, K9 advantage, you name the bug stuff, we did it. We have him on grain free foods, have used dermatology sprays, benedryl for 6 weeks, cherry no bite spray… The only thing that makes him slightly better is wearing a shirt, he seems to feel restricted. However, this only prevents chewing at the areas that are covered.
    He also has a strong odor. I like to say he smells like an outdoor beagle that hasn’t been bathed. His chest is always sweaty feeling and we are at our wits end. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Oh, we are trying garlic now for the bug repellant. Trying to go natural to see if it helps. Also dye/ perfume free soaps/ detergents.

  75. Doc says:

    Hello, Julbug,

    If you have not asked for a referral to a veterinary dermatologist, I would say that the time has come to do so.

    If these were my patients, I would want a specialist to see them. If that were not possible, I would want to get skin biopsies to a dermatopathologist (a pathologist who specializes in diseases of the skin).

    It sounds like you and your veterinarian have been working very hard, but not achieving the results you need.

    It really sounds like a trip to a specialist would save you money in the long run.

    Good luck.

  76. shirley harper says:

    i have a beagel mix and even though i give tinkerbell a bath and wash out her cage she still smells like feet she is around 32pounds she loves to eat also can you please help me by telling me what the smell is thanks ………….

  77. Doc says:

    Hello, Shirley,

    I really don’t know how to help you “long distance”. If you read the original article, you know there are several reasons.

    Take your dog to see your veterinarian and get some help.

    Good luck.

  78. Nic says:

    Hi. We have a 2 1/2 year old Bernese Mountain Dog. Within the past two months he has developed a stink that just won’t leave. The odor smells like vomit and varies in intensity. When we first smelled it we gave him a bath because we thought that he maybe rolled/sat in something stinky. Within a couple of days the smell was back. Somedays we can smell him from a few feet away, other days we only catch a whiff of it as he walks by or wags his tail. It has taken many “sniff tests” by us to finally determine that the smell seems to be coming from his rear, although we cannot pinpoint a a specific area. We expressed his anal sacs thinking that might be the problem but the smell of that was VERY different from the vomit odor.

    We have not changed his diet at all. We’ve also brushed him out thinking that maybe he had a build up of dead fur – like the bath this seemed to help for a couple of days but then the stench was back. Any ideas on what this might be?

  79. Doc says:

    Hello, Nic,

    This is not ringing any bells for me. With a Bernese, I’d be concerned about metabolic problems.

    If your veterinarian hasn’t done a thorough physical exam and some screening bloodwork (biochemistry profile) recently, I would talk to him/her about that.

    Sorry I can’t do a long-distance diagnosis for you.

  80. Denise says:

    I have two chiweenies who are inside dogs but go outside to pee. They are out there for a few minutes at the most and when they come back they reek and it’s a terrible odor that just fills the room. I have given them baths snd smell good but as soon as they walk out that door and come back in they stink all over again. It’s doesn’t even matter if they just run in and our real fast or if it’s hot or cold outside. They don’t have any smelly was anywhere else. Any ideas?

  81. Doc says:

    Hello, Denise,

    From your description, I’d be concerned about two things.

    One would be the possibility of something nasty in your yard. Watch where they go, inspect the yard.

    The other would be the possiblity of some urinary tract infection. If you can’t find a nasty place in the yard, then I’d take them to your veterinarian for a good exam, and a urine check.

    Good luck.

  82. Sonia says:

    I have a golden retriever mix, he wasn’t desex when I first had him (he was 2 yrs old back then) and he’s entire body reeks all the time. I heard a theory that neutered dogs don’t reek as much as the undesex one. But after he had the surgery up till now, we really don’t think he smells any differently. Usually in less than 3 days after we bath him he will start having the doggy smell and a really strong one. We suspect his mouth is the primary source of the smell as it stinks the most (vet says he does not have teeth / gastric problem), but we couldn’t relief that smell. Our old dog lives indoor and does not stink for up to 2 months, but the golden lives outdoor. Could that be part of the reason why he stinks?

  83. Doc says:

    Hello, Sonia,

    Being outdoors is not a good reason to be stinky by itself. On the other hand, if there is something stinky that your dog is finding outdoors, that may be the problem.

    A good test would be to bathe him and keep him in for 5 days or so, even if you have to board him somewhere. That will tell you whether or not it’s in the yard.

    Does the dog have deep skin folds around his lips? I have seen that with a Springer Spaniel. The folds held saliva and the bacterial growth made a really foul odor. We did some plastic surgery to eliminate the pocket and no more odor.

    If your veterinarian cannot find the source of the odor, you might ask for referral to a dermatologist. Most odors are skin, mouth, ears or butt.

    Good luck.

  84. Nicole says:

    Hello, we have a 3 year old Pitt bull/ terrier mix and he is a very stinky dog. He is a house dog so we really are struggling with this. I bathe him regurly and have tried many different shampoos and even vinegar..he continues to stink about a hour after I bathe him. It’s almost like he gets excited and then he stinks..his breath doesn’t stink but I’m wondering if it could be something with his skin…is there any home remedies for this or any ideas of something I can get to bathe him in??? Any suggestions would be helpful….we l look be our dog but hate his smell..please help!!!

  85. Doc says:

    Hello, Nicole,

    Itchy skin usually is the source of skin odor – excessive scratching produces excessive skin oil, which gets rancid-smelling very quickly.

    Nasty mounts can spread their stink on the skin.

    The excitement thing suggests that anal sacs may be part of the problem. Normally, they empty at the end of each bowel movement. However, some dogs stress and have a “butt-pucker” moment, which causes the secretion to empty and get smeared on the dog’s hindquarters.

    You can search the blog for anal sac problems and learn more about this.

    I would ask your veterinarian to examine the dog’s mouth, ears, skin and anal sacs.

    Good luck.

  86. Patty Young says:

    My cocker spainiel is 3 years old. About a month ago his feet started to stink very badly. Baths dont help. He also is licking his feet. Can you help?

  87. Doc says:

    Hello, Patty,

    Frequent foot-licking usually denotes an allergic problem.

    Any kind of constant licking or chewing can cause secondary excess production of skin oil, which can produce a rancid odor. It also predisposes to infections with bacteria or yeast.

    A microscopic examination of the goo between the toes is needed. Secondary problems need to be identified and treated. Then the primary problem can be investigated.

    While I cannot give you long-distance diagnosis or treatment recommendations, I suspect that your veterinarian can do a cytology examination and get you started on treatment in a pretty rapid fashion.

    Time for a trip to the doctor.

    Good luck.

  88. Gretchen says:

    I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Our vet just told me to start cleaning her mouth folds and her vulva fold. Is this something I can do with baby wipes between baths? She gets a bath every two weeks.

  89. Stacy says:

    Hi Doc, thank you for your time. We have a chihuahua that has the same intense ammonia smell all over when we bathe her as did the ones in previous comments to you. As soon as she’s dry, it goes away. Could you ask the Veterinary Information Network people about this since several of us have experienced it?
    2nd question…will neutering 1 year old daschunds(2 brothers)stop them from marking their territory w/urine(inside house)? I’ve heard it would help if neutered early on, but what about now? I really appreciate your time, these are important issues for us.

  90. Doc says:

    Hello, Stacy,

    I have posted a query about the ammonia smell. We’ll see if anyone has any ideas.

    Neutering primarily reduces intermale aggression. It may indeed help with this urine marking behavior.

    It will still be important to make a strenuous effort to catch them in the act. Some type of non-personal discouraging stimulus (like a shaker can) to distract them, then take them to the potty spot.

    Also, I would deodorize the marked spots with half and half vinegar and water to remove the pheromone smells.

  91. Doc says:

    The dermatologists did not have a good idea about this. They jokingly wondered if the dog urinates in the tub.

    They did wonder if it is really an ammonia smell or just the “wet dog” smell.

    They did ask about what type of shampoo is being used. So you might send me that info.

  92. Karen Kuykendall says:

    Hi, I have a 4 month old Golden Doodle puppy and he and his crate smell sooooo bad every time I come to let him out. I have bathed him, washed the crate several times, washed his blanket and toys several times, but it is always very smelly again quite quickly. For some reason as well every time he comes out his front legs are all wet. I think he is licking them or something. What can I do? My husband is getting really upset with the odor and says if we can’t get rid of the smell that he’ll have to go. 🙁

  93. Doc says:

    Hello, Karen,

    I don’t have a good answer for you. Some dogs salivate with mouth problems, but I would expect you would be seeing that at other times, as well.

    I have had patients with extra skin in their lower lip folds that collects saliva and food, and that stinks.

    My best recommendation would be to make an appointment with your veterinarian and take the dog when he is at his smelliest, crate and all.

    Sorry I can’t give you the long-distance help that I would like to.

  94. Karen Kuykendall says:

    Thanks for trying!! Do dogs sweat? His crate is upstairs in our house to be close to our bedrooms at night time. It is significantly warmer up there, could that maybe be a factor?

  95. Doc says:

    A normal dog only has significant perspiration from the footpads and the nose. That’s why dogs have cool moist noses – it has nothing to do with fever or health generally.

    There are dogs that have hyperhidrosis and sweat elsewhere. They usually have a LOT of obvious skin problems. It’s rare.

    Good luck.

  96. Jessica says:

    Thanks for all the great info. I read every comment to get more ideas. My dog smells fine after bathing. She stinks when she comes in from the yard. The smell is super disgusting but goes away after a few minutes. She roots around in tall grass and probably some weeds, but I don’t notice any poo eating or anything. She doesn’t scratch much but I noticed her bedding looks dirty(oily?) after a few days. She gets fresh bedding with each bath. Can the grass make her stink that bad? It used to be really bad in the sun, but now it is any time she goes outside. Anything else I should look for or specific questions I should ask my vet when she goes in again soon? Thanks!

  97. Doc says:

    Hello, Jessica,

    If the dog smells fine until she gets in that tall grass, it sounds like there is something nasty in the tall grass. If it’s not her breath, then it must be something on her outside.

    Dogs love to roll in nasty stuff. You could crawl in after her, or maybe get someone to cut down the grass and find the dead possum she’s rolling on.

    Good luck.

  98. Crystal says:

    Hello Doctor.
    I have a 6 yr old “miniature” English Bulldog. As a puppy he did have many skin problems (mange, a staff infection from a bad grooming visit,etc) and became a “regular” at his vet’s office & treated/cured of his skin ailments. I used to use a medicated shampoo and bath him every 10 days but in the last 2 years he has been great with his skin and I am able to bath spencer less frequently with “pet store” shampoos, although I choose to use a hypoallergenic type. Recently he has been seen twice for pimple type things on his skin that do pop and go away mostly, except for a few that are painful to the touch and he won’t let me near. Just 2 weeks ago I took him in because I found a mass between his shoulder blades and he had 1 pimple on his skin that had been there for a while and he wouldn’t let me touch. My vet put him on a strong dose of antibiotics to rule out an infection, which he completed last week. Happy to report the mass has shrunken and pimple went away. He is not a “smelly” dog normally. Of course sometimes smellier than others, but now has a strong urine smell coming from his face. I just bathed him, thinking it was maybe simply that he put his face in a nasty bush after lifting his leg on it, or something like that. I washed his face VERY thoroughly 4 times while in the bath and the odor was still very predominate. Spencer is now on his clean bedding snoring away and I can smell the urine scent from across the room. His body smells delicious, if I do say so myself, and his breath isn’t great but definitely not where the urine smell is coming from. Only other thing is I was a bad mom and grabbed some grocery store food, after a long work day and kept him on that for a few days until I could get to the pet store. Could any of these things be causing the odor? If it’s really “urine” from his very lazy bulldog potty adventures, is their a home remedy I can try that isn’t too irritating to elliminate the odor. I have heard of yeast infections in bulldog’s folds & try to keep his under his eyes pretty clean but they have always and currently stay very moist and wipe a red/brown stain onto the wipes when I clean them. Would this kind of infection cause an odor like this? My nose thanks you for your help!

  99. Doc says:

    Hello, Crystal,

    I would be very suspicious of a skin-fold dermatitis from your description. Your veterinarian can do some cytology and determine if it is bacteria or yeast or what.

    Time to see the doctor.

    Best wishes.

  100. meredith mondello says:

    Hi there, so I have read all these post and can;t find any information for my case. I have a pitbull who is 5 and I had him neutered 6 months ago. # months later he started developing the bald spots all over his body. I took him to the vet and the out him on a sterid and antihitimine and a perscription diet for 6 weeks. Now he has theis foul odor coming from his anal area,and i have him groomed on a regualr basis where i know he is glanded but i went ahead and went to the vet and had a deep anal gland done,nothing has changed. It is a undescribale smell that is coming out and it bothers him each time it happens and he wants to constantly chase his butt and lick it,constantly. Any ideas? This has now made his breath horrible of course as well.

  101. Doc says:

    Hello, Meredith,

    The things that I would want to follow up on are whether the skin condition has gotten okay, whether the dog’s poop looks and smells normal (for poop), and whether he is still on medication.

    I really can’t prescribe for or diagnose your dog long-distance, but that information might give me an idea that you could then discuss with your veterinarian.

  102. Doc says:

    Hello, Bernice,

    Unless the dog had a dietary allergy to the yeast, I do not believe it could hurt.

    I would be surprised if it made any difference in the odor.

  103. Andrea says:

    Hi Doc.

    I have a 4 year old male golden retriever whose muzzle (on top) smells like B.O.?? Have shampooed it and that only helps for a couple of days??? Any ideas?

  104. Doc says:

    Hello, Andrea,

    This doesn’t ring any bells for me in particular.

    Is it possible that your dog is using his nose like a shovel and rooting around in something yucky?

  105. Dexter says:

    I have a miniature pinscher, she is a rescue and has some dandruff issues. But lately she has been smelling bad all of the time. We got her a prescription shampoo (Peroxiderm), but it doesn’t seem to be helping. She curls up in a ball and sleeps all day, making her belly very sweaty and we think that is where the majority of the smell is originating. Any ideas on how to reduce the smell? We thought about getting doggie wipes and wiping her down once a day….

  106. Doc says:

    Hello, Dexter,

    If you have not already done so, be sure to get your veterinarian to rule out the medical sources of odor: ears, teeth & gums, anal sacs, skin problems, and so forth.

    The doggie wipes would be okay. I also like a Pfizer product called Odor Eliminator Canine. It’s a pump spray and is an odor neutralizer, rather than a cover-up.

    Lambert Kay’s “Fresh -n- Clean” spray is a good dog cologne type deodorant.

    Best wishes.

  107. Alicia says:

    Hi there, love the blog and was so happy to find it. However I’m not really sure what our problem is. We have a Keeshond mix, and never have had an issue with smell until this season. When she goes outside (she’s basically an inside dog) she comes in smelling like a lake or fish. She always has a smell now, and never has had one before. We are brushing her regularly (I know that can be an issue with Keeshonds), so I don’t think its an undercoat issue. The only new thing she is on is Trifexis. Would that cause her skin to smell? We’ve never had to bathe this dog this often! Thanks for your help!

  108. Doc says:

    Hello, Alicia,

    We have not experienced any odor issues with Trifexis in our practice. I would be very surprised if that were the culprit.

    The fishy smell is how some people describe anal sac secretions.

    I would let your veterinarian check out the common sources of odor: ears, mouth, skin and anal sacs. The anal sacs are something that you need a little experience with in order to know normal from abnormal.

    Time to see the doctor.

    Good luck.

  109. Jandk0829 says:

    Hello, my dog is also stinking. She does have allergies that she takes meds for. This just started in the last week or so. She does have a hot spot on her foot. We have given her a bath and she is fine until she goes outside. When she comes in she ranks so bad for an hour or so. Then it gets better or goes away completely until she goes outside again. She is not rolling in anything, we have watched her and our yard is fenced.
    Any ideas?
    Thank you.

  110. Doc says:

    Hello, Karen,

    The only thing that comes to mind with that sequence of events is the possibility that when she poops, she is getting her anal sac secretion on herself somehow.

    Pfizer has a product called Canine Elimin-odor which is an odor neutralizer. My first thought would be to try wiping her bottom off with that when she first comes in and see if that is the problem.

  111. Boone says:

    I adopted a 6 month old puppy about two weeks ago and she stinks like a corpse. I assumed she had rolled in a dead animal but I have bathed her tiwce already (that’s a lot for a two week period)using both flea shampoo AND baby shampoo both of which have a strong scent, and which worked on my bg dog when he rolled in dead animal, and she STILL stinks to high heaven. In fact it seemed like the smell went away slightly after the bath, and now it’s back. Her mouth does not smell, it seems to be emanating from her body, but her skin looks fine too. I am just worried she has something wrong internally, an infection or a disease. She is being treated for Giardia at the moment, perhaps that is related? Should I be worried? Or should I just continue waiting and bathing her?

  112. Doc says:

    Hello, Boone,

    Sounds like “no good deed goes unpunished”.

    The Giardia usually produces diarrhea, but no body odor.

    You’ve probably already checked, and it would be unusual in a puppy, but a bad ear infection produces bad odors.

    In the absence of medical problems, regular bathing should eliminate most odors.

    I am assuming that she has already had her first checkup with your veterinarian (since she is on Giardia treatment). You would be due for a follow-up to start vaccinations (or give a 3-week booster).

    I don’t think that this is one I can do “long distance”. Let’s see what your veterinarian thinks at follow-up time.

    Good luck.

  113. jeff vires says:

    i have a ponarania he smell
    like dirty socks all the time.
    i bath him often, but nothing
    helps. he is losing some hair.
    do you have any suggestions?

  114. Doc says:

    Hello, Jeff,

    Dogs that are losing hair have some type of problem. If the hair loss is due to scratching and chewing because he itches, the constant skin trauma gets the skin oil glands overactive. This produces a rancid smell.

    You have to control the itching to get the smell to go away.

    You need to take your dog do his veterinarian.

    Good luck.

  115. Allie says:

    One great option for getting rid of the smell is a CritterZone air purifier. They remove odors like cat urine, dog pee, litter box odor and other pet smells from the home. My sister uses one by their dogs’ “pee pads” and they love it! Smell is gone!

  116. Doc says:

    This product appears to be an ozone generator. There is some question about their safety in occupied rooms.

    As to efficacy, you have to be your own judge. The only one I ever tried did not appear to do much (it was not the Critter Zone).

  117. Sarah says:

    Hello. I have a four year old Golden Retriever mix. For the last month or so I have noticed a sour milk smell coming from his rear. Sometimes it is terrible and other times it’s not as bad or not there at all. He eats Nutro Lamb and Rice weight management. Don’t think it’s the food being hes been eating it for a year. He seems healthy. Any ideas???

  118. Doc says:

    Hello, Sarah,

    I would recommend that you have your veterinarian check the dog’s anal sacs. That would be number one on my list from your description.

    If he/she doesn’t find anything there, they should still be able to help you find the source of the problem.

  119. Charles Mueller says:

    As mentioned in a couple of posts, my Yorkie also has a problem with sunlight. After being outside in the sunlight for only a few minutes, she will stink! However, the stink is restricted to the top of her head (crown) only; no stink on her back, her rump, her snout, just her head. After returning indoors, the smell dissipates and disappears after about 20-30 minutes. I NEVER leave her in the yard unattended, ALWAYS observe her just in case she ever gets an idea to nibble on an azalea, or lantana, or gardenia (which she never has done), and to be certain she doesn’t roll around on anything. She often just wants to lay down in the sun, which I let her do. But that little bit of sun makes her head REEK! I just can’t figure it out, and I’ve read this same complaint from other Yorkie owners both here as well as on YorkieTalk.com. Any ideas?

  120. Anna says:

    Hi, We have a 9 year old Yorkie. Just last week she came in from outside smelling like she got into poop, she then threw up what looked and smelled like poo (light brown liquid). Since then she has been fine, not vomiting and having regular stools, eating & drinking fine, playing, but her breath still smells like poo. We have bathed her, brushed her teeth a few times and it still stinks.
    A few things to mention – Her diet has not changed. About 2 months ago she had a full dental with a few extractions, At that time she had a blood & fecal panel and all was good. We have another yorkie who is fine and has great breath as far as dog breath goes.
    Any Ideas?
    Thanks, Anna

  121. Doc says:

    Hello, Anna,

    I believe that I would start by supervising her more closely outside. It really sounds like she is eating something nasty when she goes out.

    If closer supervision does not eliminate the problem, then I’d let your veterinarian take a look.

  122. Anna says:

    Thanks so much, Yes I should have mentioned that. She has not gone out unsupervised since she vomited several days ago. I was just unsure how long this smell would last. So you think a vet visit is in order?

  123. Doc says:

    If you see no obvious reason for the smell, and it persists, then I’d say it is time to go back to your veterinarian.

  124. lynn says:

    I have a year old mini labradodle. The last 2-3 months she has had an occasional smell. I can’t connect it to anything. The smell seems like it comes from her face to her tail. It’s a fishy, dirt, weird smell. We have had her anal gland checked not a problem.
    10 months ago she was fixed, two weeks later she had an allergy reaction to the stitch knot. Two weeks ago she got very sick, couldn’t lay down and found out she had another allergic reaction to the last knot in her internal stiches from being fixed. She developed an abcess a 1/2 x 1/2 inch hole where her stitches had been. It was cultured and a staph infection and put on anti biotics.
    Don’t know if this was coming on and could have caused this smell. The abcess is healed and we still have this intermittant smell, sometimes worst than another.

  125. Doc says:

    Hello, Lynn,

    You have certainly had more than your fair share of complications with this kid. Well done on staying in touch with your veterinarian and getting the problems handled.

    As the article says, most odors stem from ears, teeth/mouth, anal sacs or skin problems. If you don’t see any of these, I’m not sure what to tell you.

    This may be too simple, but if it’s just occasional, I’d be wondering if she finds something nasty outside and rolls in it.

  126. Girlie says:

    Our pit is high strung and we’re able to see the oil glands oozing on her back and that smell permeates her dog house and everywhere she lays down. Within minutes of her having a bath, the smell oozes out of her and no one (who’s capable of smelling her) wants to even pet her and that is really sad. She is a very healthy 5 year old and this diagnoses of fear-stink has been continuing her entire life

  127. Doc says:

    Hello, Girlie,

    Dogs that are very nervous often do empty their anal sacs under stress. This is usually obvious, i.e. the smell is coming from under her tail.

    If she oozes excessive skin oil all the time, there are anti-seborrheic shampoos that can slow this down. The most common cause of this is excessive scratching that causes the skin oil glands to become over-active. If this is the case, then the itching needs to be addressed.

    There are dogs that just genetically make too much oil. This is seen fairly frequently in Cocker Spaniels.

    These dogs are managed by giving oral fatty acid supplements (omega 3), and using anti-seborrheic shampoos.

    You might ask your veterinarian about which shampoo would be helpful to you.

  128. SandraV says:

    My dog Scoobie, is 5 years old and weighs 110pds. He is really hairy and sheds unbelievably. I think he’s part wolf. He was abandoned when he was just a pup when we rescued him and his baby sister. The vet can’t figure out his mix, and said his weight fits his bone structure Just recently, he started to smell really bad. I bathe him at least every other week. Recently I changed his food from Pedigree to Purina could that be the problem? This odor It’s really bad, that it almost gives me a headache. It’s a strong, sour smell There are no signs of itching, and I clean his ears every time I bathe him. I love my stinky dog, but it’s getting to the point where I want to put him outside all the time. I read somewhere that baking soda and cornstarch sprinkled on him then brushed would help. What’s your thoughts on this?

  129. doc says:

    Hello, Sandra,

    If he never stunk before, and now he does, then obviously something has changed and he’s not just a “stinky dog”.

    I sincerely doubt it is his diet.

    Despite teh fact that he seems happy, I would be very suspicious of some medical problem. Anything from anal sac problems to a foreign object lodged in his mouth could be a problem.

    When he is stinky (not immediately after a bath), he needs to see his veterinarian to be checked for medical problems.

  130. doc says:

    Hard to say. What kind of camel, Bactrian or Dromedary? Just kidding. Unless he sleeps with a camel, that would probably be out of the ordinary. Not that I know a medical problems that smell like a camel. I’ve only handled a camel twice, and I really don’t remember what they smell like.

  131. Chloe says:

    We have a 3 year old cocker spaniel. Recently she has been smelling like vomit all over her body (or we could not find the source of the smell) she also has started peeing in the room where she sleeps, she doesn’t usually do this as we trained her when she was a pup. We thought she could have yeast inflammation but she doesn’t seem to be itching?

  132. doc says:

    Hello, Chloe,

    It sounds like you may have more than one problem.

    With the inappropriate urination, I would ask your veterinarian to check her for a urinary tract infection. With a bladder infection, you feel like you “have to go” even when you just went. You keep trying to relieve that burning sensation.

    The odor could be yeast, even without the itching.

    Some Cocker Spaniels develop a primary seborrhea, where the skin just produces too much skin oil. This fatty oil gets rancid in a hurry, resulting in a bad smell. It would be unusual for this to show up in a 3 years old dog for the first time. The dog would feel greasy, too.

    With Cocker Spaniels, we always worry about ear infections, too.

    Time for a visit to your veterinarian.

  133. Teri-lea says:

    I have an 3 year old staff cross pitbull. Lovey she is she has the most stinky paws. I’ve got ocd and the smell is like cheese. I’ve tried bathing her from top to bottom but her paws still smell. She is an healthy dog but how do I control her cheesy paws. Any other ideas.

  134. Doc says:

    Hello, Teri-lea,

    I have not heard of this particular problem. Possibly there is a nail-bed infection. I would suggest that you take her to your veterinarian for a hands-on exam.

  135. Gina Jimenez says:

    So I have a 6 year old male chihuahua and man oh man does he stink I can bathe him and 2 days later he is right back to being greasy and smelly… He also has things that looks likes scaled patches its real bad I feel bad for my little man… It goes from the front shoulder blades to the tail area it’s so bad he now has patches of hair from him biting what can I do for him please help me

  136. Doc says:

    Hello, Gina,

    It sounds like your dog has some serious itching problems, and the other changes you describe (including the odor) are most likely secondary to the constant scratching and chewing.

    You will need to let your veterinarian determine the cause of the itching and treat it appropriately. Your dog will also need treatment for any secondary skin infections and so forth, as even when the itching calms down, his body has to repair the damaged skin.

  137. Kristy Durick says:

    My 11 year Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a horrible sour vomit smell. He eats Blue Buffalo food and takes Trifexis once a month. He gets an occasional Paul Newman brand biscuit treat. The smell does not seem to be coming from his ears or his anal glands. His breath doesn’t smell foul either. He rarely if ever really scratches at all. The smell is so oppressive it can clear the room. It seems like his face is where the odor is coming from. His eyes do drain a little and I clean his face daily with a baby wipe but it does no good. His brother Cav also “cleans” his eye drain when he licks his face from time to time as well. He’s pretty spunky for his age but does sleep most of the day. I’d appreciate any advice. He’s my baby but I can hardly stand to be around him sometimes because of this sour vomit smell.

  138. Doc says:

    Hello, Kristy,

    It seems you have ruled out some of the common causes of odor.

    I have some pretty stinky skin fold dermatitis problems, but I think you’d notice a greasy skin fold.

    Diabetic dogs can have a smell on their breath like acetone (fingernail polish remover). Dogs with poor kidney function sometimes have an ammonia odor on their breath.

    With an eleven years old dog, I would recommend a checkup by your veterinarian, with some blood tests, especially a blood chemistry panel.

  139. sharon says:

    we have a black lab mix. She is a sweet dog, she has gotten progressively more timid with age. we have always treated her as a member of the family. we keep her clean, and take her for well checks and updates. She has anal sac problems, that oder is differrent from the new odor that smells like vomit.she is afraid of loud noises such weather or my washing machine(?) loves getting in our pool, but that is not the reason she started to smell like rancid vomit. Our vet insists it is her anal sacs but this is a different odor. vet seems like waste of time and expense to investigate further. we have heard that if a dog develops a new smell it could be disease or cancer. this odor began within the last 6 months to a year.never had it before. Could it be hormonal?I think im going to have to see another vet to be taken seriously! this smell makes you not want to be around or affection with your pet. I really am worried about her. she is at least 10 years old.

  140. Doc says:

    Hello, Sharon,

    If you are pretty sure that the odor is coming from the anal sacs, I would get that investigated, since it is different than it has been in the past.

    It could be an infection in the sacs, and it could possibly be a tumor, though that’s less common in females than in males.

    Nothing wrong with getting a second opinion.

  141. J Smith says:

    I have a 10 yr old male shih tzu with recent eye problems. it looks like the white part of his eyes is liquifying, covering the black part of his eyes, glunking up around the corners and lids, and turning black and hard. i have to wash his face and clean his eyes 2-3 times daily. He walks into things as well and sometimes squints. HELP!

  142. doc says:

    Hello, J Smith,

    I woudl be very concerned that your dog has “dry eye”. Tears have a watery part and a mucus part. If there isn’t enough water to keep the mucus dissolved, it gunks up on the eye. A dry cornea is easily damaged. Sometimes the body will grow callus-like tissue over the cornea to protect it.

    Buggy-eyed dogs like Shih T’zus, Lhasa Apsos, Pekingese, Pugs, etc need a greater than average amount of tear film present ot ekep their corneas healthy.

    This guy needs a checkup with your veterinarian as soon as possible. He could lose his vision, possibly even his eyes.

  143. melanie says:

    My dashound recently broke out in small bumps around the bottom of her mouth and her genital area what are they and how can I get rid of them?? Thanks

  144. Doc says:

    Hello, Melanie,

    What you are describing sounds like a pustular eruption (pimples), but in those areas could also be an eruption due to auto-immune disease, like the pemphigus diseases.

    If it is a pimple-type thing, your veterinarian can prescribe oral antibiotics, or possibly a topical treatment.

    If it is auto-immune disease, this can really only be diagnosed for sure with a biopsy. The treatment would be dramatically different, with immuno-suppressive doses of a cortisone type drug, or other immunosuppressive drugs.

    She really needs to see her veterinarian on this.

  145. Ja'mir says:

    I have a coming up to 9 year old Bouvier.
    for the last few weeks, she has smelt awful even bathing her once a week with Biogroom shampoo and conditioner. She is brushed every 2nd day . She has a summer cut, no skin problems, no anal sac problems, no ear infections or breath problems. Her skin is very healthy, no scratching or licking unless she missed a crumb . Her beard and moustache are cut short at the moment so no food lingering
    Every time there is a breeze, you can smell the awful sour milk type scent coming from her.
    She suffers a little with arthritis, other than that is healthy, happy, a vacuum for food, but has never had this nasty smell about her and is not ill in any way or form …. and seeing she considers herself a lap dog at 40 kgs, it is a tad in your face !

  146. Doc says:

    Hello, Ja’mir,

    You have covered all the bases that I could cover without actually seeing the dog. Sounds like a trip to your veterinarian who can actually see/smell your dog is the next step.

  147. Jean Carew says:

    I am a trainer with an off the wall question. In the many years I have been doing puppy socials I have run across this twice. I have a pup that smells strongly of cat urine. Both dogs happen to be some type of boxer mix. Neither lives with or is around cats. What could cause this smell? These are both pups age range 9-12 weeks. I encountered them years apart and they are not related by any connecting that I know of.
    Curriously they both have showed bite hold shake behaviors toward other dogs. I’m really looking for a physiological connection also.

  148. Doc says:

    Hello, Jean,
    I have not seen this, and do not have an explanation. I did a search on Veterinary Information Network, and didn’t find any instances. I found several case reports of dogs who smell like maple syrup, and this has been associated with ingestion of fenugreek, or supplements containing fenugreek.

    I also found a thread that mentions that binturongs smell like popcorn. I never noticed it at the zoo, but I wasn’t very close to the binturongs, either.

  149. Allen says:

    I have a french bull dog and every time she goes pee it smells really bad, it’s been happening for awhile and I change the bedding constantly. What should I do?

  150. Jen Lay says:

    I have a Staffordshire Terrier who only stinks after she’s been sleeping. Once she’s up and moving around she smells fine, but her bedding is left stinking as is mine when she sleeps with us. This is the first short-haired dog I’ve had. Could it have something to do with it?

  151. Doc says:

    Hello, Jen,
    I don’t think that having short hair has anything to do with it.

    Sounds like there may be some incontinence, leaking urine possibly.

    You might try putting a white sheet on her bedding area to get a better idea if there is a leakage or what it might be.

  152. Claire says:

    Hi I have a Northern Inuit/Husky cross the last couple of months his back end occasionally smells fishy like he’s farted it’s not a constant smell but I also notice wet patches were he lies I never thought anything of it because sometimes when he licks himself he leaves big wet patches also in the last couple of weeks his hair has really thinned out I think he had a hot spot on his thigh which has recovered fine but I don’t know his fur feels horrible it used to be soft and thick but it feels kind of rough and his chest I can see his skin but he still has all his hair down f that makes sense but it’s Snow White on that part anyway I’m just wondering if the hair thing is because he’s just lost his summer coat and is just waiting for his winter coat to grow back also he is 2yrs and 6months so the roughness might be his adult coat as people have commented in the past that he was abnormally soft 🙂 he also just had his boosters around about the same time all this started so he’s seen the vet recently and I mentioned this but they didn’t examine him fully it was more like from what they can see he looks in really good condition he’s not acting sick like he’s not more tired than normal or not eating normal he goes to the toilet normal so my question is really am I worrying over nothing or should I go straight to the vet thx any reply is welcome 🙂

  153. Doc says:

    Hello, Claire,
    It sounds like he is having some anal sac leakage. That’s unusual in a big dog unless he’s suddenly stressed in some way.

    You might have your veterinarian check the anal sacs to see if they are emptying normally, and if the secretion is normal.

    I cannot speak to what’s going on with the hair coat without seeing the guy. Ask your veterinarian to look at that while you’re there.

    Not an emergency, I think.

  154. Mitch Kern says:

    We have a 2 yr old border collie and have noticed when she wakes in the morning and her body is warm she exudes a kind of musky dog smell from her chest and armpit area. I have grown accustomed to it. It’s kind of her smell. Sometimes it is kinda stinky so we bathe her once a month or so but it always comes back slowly. Is this normal. I told my wife when we got her I expected her to smell like fresh cut flowers. Your advice most welcome and appreciated.

  155. Doc says:

    Hello, Mitch,
    Those are areas that can be prone to a yeast skin infection. Your veterinarian can do a quick test to check that out, and treatment is usually not complicated.

  156. Jacqueline says:

    Hi: I have an 11 y/o rotweiller who has hot spots, itchy skin, and extreme shedding. He is smelly within 2 days after his bath. He has arthritis in his hip and occasionally has problems getting up, but otherwise is o.k. What can I do about the hot spots. His previous owner had him Ol Roy dog food since his birth. He doesn’t seem to like the food. Could this be causing his problems. When he passes gas, you have to leave the room. HELP!!!

  157. Doc says:

    Hello, Jacqueline,
    If you go to my website, http://www.kennettvet.com, check the informational pages tab, then the Pet Library. This links you to the Veterinary Partner Website. Search “flatulence” to find an excellent article on the gas problem.

    With all the itching and odor, it sounds like your dog has allergy problems, possibly with some skin infection as well. You should see your veterinarian about this. Relief is available.

  158. Dee says:

    I have a 12 year old Shih Tzu. She’s always had allergies, and sensitive digestive system… we’ve only given her vet approved allergy food & treats… she’s always been a licker. In the last few months, her licking has aggressively become chewing. So much so that it will actually wake us up from the sound of it… even tho she’s sleeping on the floor. Now, her stink, has become rancid. Absolutely intolerable. Her white fur is also starting to turn yellow-ish, just on her front legs and chest. She gets groomed every 4-6 weeks, regular vet checks… healthy all around I’ve been told. I’ve tried the vinegar solutions. The stink is seriously like nothing I’ve ever smelled before…. is it just from her chewing?? Help!

  159. Doc says:

    Hello, Dee,

    Excessive chewing causes excessive skin oil production. This gets rancid and stinks. It also predisposes you to secondary skin infections, both yeast and bacterial. If these are present and not treated, they increase the amount of itching, and the amount of stink.

    Talk to your veterinarian about this.

  160. Doc says:

    Hello, Debra,
    I don’t have any personal experience. Chlorophyll is considered pretty safe. If you have a tablet that is recommended for an adult, remember how small your dog is and reduce the dose accordingly.

  161. Marie says:

    I have a 4 year old rough haired border collie and for the last 6 months he has started to reply scratch and chew his skin us all scale and he smells could you tell me if this type of breed is known for this as I have tried washing him applying a sort of spray for irritable skin but nothing has worked what do you recommend I do.

  162. Doc says:

    Hello, Marie,
    The constant scratching will CAUSE scaling and odor. The skin gets replaced too fast, and flakes off, and the skin oil glands get overactive and the secretion gets rancid and stinky, even shortly after a bath.

    You should have your dog checked by your veterinarian to rule out sarcoptic mange, but I suspect you are dealing with allergies. Your veterinarian can help with this.

  163. Miranda says:

    My one year old male Aussie pit mix has been extremely itchy for most of his life. This summer and fall he had rashes on his belly and groin area. He also has flakey skin on his back and tail area. The vet said this could be due to allergies but never helped me figure out what he could be allergic to. He has been on antibiotics and steroids and they help but the issues come back. Due to all the itching, he smells horrible just a week or less after a bath. He also is getting hard bumps randomly on his body which the vet said could be because of his skin allergies. We have tried salmon oil and antibacterial shampoo and it hasn’t helped much. I just my pup to feel better and not itch so much.

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Miranda,
      Allergic patients have something fundamentally wrong with their body defense system. It over-reacts to things that it should ignore. The immune system is there to kill germs, not go crazy because there is pollen in the air. However, allergic patients have an immune system that makes the patient miserable by releasing histamine and other chemicals when exposed to allergens. Allergens can be airborne, like pollens, mold spores, and house-dust. They can be contacted directly with the skin. They can be components of food, usually the protein source, though it can be other things (the “grain-free” fad probably doesn’t help as many patients as people hope it will).

      The point here is that allergic patients will never quit being allergic. You don’t cure allergic patients, you manage them. One way to do this would be to test and find out what the patient is allergic to, and avoid it. Unfortunately, allergic patients often have allergies to many different things, to so many different things that you can’t just stay away from them. Those patients need medical management.

      Allergy testing can be done with intra-dermal skin testing by a specialist, or with a blood sample. Knowing the allergens, you can inject the patient with tiny amounts of them over a long period of time to build up a tolerance to them. That doesn’t work for food allergies. For them, you do a dietary elimination trial, eating a hypo-allergenic diet for 6 to 12 weeks to see if the patient improves.

      Medical management can be corticosteroids that suppress the allergic reactions and reduce inflammation, but they do have side-effects, so have to be used judiciously. There are other meds that suppress the reaction with fewer side-effects, like Apoquel and Atopica. Cytopoint injections don’t suppress the allergic reaction, but rather block a protein that triggers the itch receptor on the nerves.

      You also need to treat any secondary problems. Dogs that scratch constantly often have secondary skin infections with bacteria or yeast. These must be treated thoroughly, as they cause itching as well.

      Dogs that have food allergy usually don’t respond well to medication, as they have such constant intimate contact with what they are allergic to – they’ve eaten it, and it’s inside them from one end to the other. They also have year-round problems.

      You need to work with your veterinarian to develop a long-term maintenance plan. You might also consider asking for a referral to a veterinary dermatologist.

      • Doc says:

        I forgot to mention that in a dog this young, it is also super-important to rule out parasitic skin disease, like mange mites.

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