My dog smells bad, when should I be concerned?
You don't need to be an expert to identify a new unpleasant smell. When it happens, ask yourself the right questions and don't wait to make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
We've compiled the main "dangerous" odors you should be aware of.
- Your dog smells bad - it could be because of his anal glands
Your dog has two glands on each side of the anus that produce fluid when he has a bowel movement. Unfortunately, your dog may have stomach problems that cause loose stools so he won't be able to naturally release the fluid from his anal gland. If this is the case, your dog may suffer from an infection or, worse, a rupture.
A healthy anal gland has a pungent odor, but when it is infected the odor is unavoidable and you will be able to smell it.
- The ears: Ear infection
Some breeds have floppy ears like the cocker spaniel for example. The ears of these dogs are deep, warm and humid which constitutes a favorable environment for the proliferation of bacteria and consequently infections. Ear infections are more common than we think.
They can be caused by an overproduction of certain types of bacteria, such as yeast. If your dog has healthy ears they should not smell.
If you notice an odor or oozing from your dog's ear, take action immediately. The intensity of the odor varies depending on the type of infection: it is pungent, rancid and often accompanied by pus and blood.
- Dental Disease
As a dog parent, you should pay close attention to his oral health, brushing his teeth once a day, giving him a dental stick. It is common to associate dogs with bad breath, but dental disease is a visible phenomenon. To start, check his gums: are they red, bleeding or swollen? Healthy gums are pink and turn white when squeezed and then turn pink again after a few seconds.
Then look at their teeth. They should be white/creamy. They should not be discolored, broken or surrounded by tartar and thick plaque. Tartar buildup can lead to infection and gum disease, which will be uncomfortable and painful. It is important to know that dental disease can also lead to more serious and life-threatening diseases, such as liver, kidney or heart disease.
Consider taking your dog to the vet for a thorough cleaning at least once a year, preferably twice a year.
Very similar to a skin infection, an abscess can create a rather unpleasant odor. These pockets of pus accumulate under the skin from an infection (possibly skin), injury or bite from another animal or insect. Abscesses can cause extreme discomfort and irritation, and many also trigger a fever, lack of appetite or energy. Sometimes these abscesses can rupture, producing an ugly pong that you can't miss.
If your dog has a thick, full coat, such as German Shepherds or Akitas, the abscesses may grow larger and not be detected by the long hair coverage. For your dog to make a full recovery you must take him to the vet.
- Skin infection
If your dog suffers from a skin infection his skin will give off a strong unpleasant smell. Both bacterial and fungal skin infections produce similar odors, making them difficult to differentiate. This is why you should always consult a veterinarian.
If you notice a bad odor, as well as itching, biting, hair loss or a greasy-looking coat these may be signs that the skin infection is getting worse.
Therefore, if you notice any of the above signs, seek the advice of your veterinarian as soon as possible.