5 Reasons Your Dog Smells Bad — And What You Can Do About It!

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If your dog smells bad, it can be a sign of a bigger problem. (Picture Credit: DmitryTkachev/Getty Images)

Like any responsible dog parent, you bathe your pup as needed. You keep up on flea and tick medications, you feed them a healthy, well-rounded diet, and you know for a fact that your dog has not been sprayed by a skunk recently.

Not all dog’s stink; yet, somehow, your dog smells bad. Some dogs are just stinkier than others, right?

There are a myriad of reasons why your dog may smell funky, even if you’re keeping a strict hygiene routine. Here are things to look for if you find your dog smells bad even after the most thorough of baths.

1. Ear Infections

dog with large ears

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Even with routine bathing, certain dogs are prone to ear infections, which can lead to odorous bacteria buildup.

Dogs with large, floppy ears, such as Basset Hounds, are more susceptible to these smelly infections. Not only are these infections unpleasant to the nose, they’re also painful to your pup and can lead to hearing issues or loss if left untreated.

To avoid these infections, be sure to routinely clean out your dog’s ears. Ask your vet for some tips on how to get started with cleaning your dog’s ears at home.

Be careful about going too deep and accidentally injuring your dog. Use apple cider vinegar or a dog ear rinse and gently wipe the outer parts of the ear down with a wet cotton ball.

If your dog already seems to have an ear infection, be sure to take them to the vet immediately to start a course of treatment.

If your dog suffers from chronic ear infections, it could be allergy related, as well. Talk to your vet about allergy testing for your dog and a course of treatment.

2. Impacted Or Infected Anal Sacs

Anal sacs, also referred to as anal glands, are located on each side of the dog’s anus. The glands fill up with a nasty-smelling substance, some of which is released every time your dog poops.

For some dogs, however, the anal sacs can become impacted or infected, causing that nasty smelling substance to subtly leak and put your dog in an extreme amount of discomfort.

Signs that your dog’s anal sacs are bothering them include sliding their bottom on the floor to relieve itchiness and constant licking of the area, along with a not-so-pleasant, musky scent.

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, take them to the vet or groomer to have their anal sacs expressed manually. Failure to do this will lead to further discomfort and pain for your dog and can lead to abscesses and ruptures.

You can also ask your vet to teach you how to manually express the anal glands if this is something that happens often for your pup.

Like ear infections, impacted anal glands are more common with dogs who suffer from allergies. Be sure to keep as many allergens out of your dog’s environment as possible to avoid chronic anal sac irritation.

3. Skin Problems

bulldogs on couch

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If you have a “wrinkly” dog — a dog with skin folds such as a Shar Pei, Pekingese, or Bulldog — then you have to keep an eye on your dog’s skin folds.

Dogs with this type of skin are prone to skin fold dermatitis, which is science talk for “smelly skin condition.”

Talk to your vet for some tips on how to keep your dog’s skin folds clean and healthy.

Use specially made skin fold cloths or baby wipes to gently and regularly clean the folds to avoid infection and funky smells.

4. Flatulence

dog looking back at rear end

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If you have a dog who smells bad, ask yourself this: is the smell on them, or is it coming from them?

Intestinal issues can lead to doggy gas so powerful it can clear a room. Occasionally, that stink can stick with the offender long after it has been released.

If your dog has been extra gassy as of late, talk to your vet about possible dietary changes or medical treatments to help relieve the symptoms.

5. Dirty Beds

dog lying in bed

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So you have allergens at bay, your dog’s ears and anal glands are getting all the treatment they deserve, and yet your dog still stinks? Your dog’s bedding may be the culprit.

A clean dog who rolls around and sleeps on a smelly bed will get smelly. After being bathed, some dogs may even roll on “dirty” bed surfaces to get back their signature doggy smell.

To avoid having your clean dog become smelly right after bathing, wash your dog’s bedding and give them a bath on the same day.

Does your dog have any stinky issues? What was the cause, and what did you do to fix it? Let us know in the comments below!