9 Health Problems You Can Blame for Bad Dog Smell


Last Updated on January 17, 2020

© Dog struggles

Wondering why your dog smells fishy? You probably shouldn’t be looking for how to make your dog smell good but rather what hidden health problems he or she might be suffering from in silence.

Sometimes, your furry friend doesn’t need to take a shower, start using a better-smelling shampoo, or a thorough tooth-brushing session. Lingering smells can sometimes be a sign of potential ailments that need immediate veterinary attention.

Check out these 9 medical reasons you can blame for bad dog smell.

When bathing your dog is not enough

Dogs smell, and we love them anyway. It’s a fact. Also, our pups may occasionally eat garbage, roll around it, rifle through it, or do any other gross activity that they find entertaining.

However, if you’re sure that your furry love didn’t do anything like that yet he or she has a persistent bad odor, it could be a medical problem that needs immediate attention. Actually, a strange smell is a big alarming sign that your pet is suffering from a hidden illness.

So when you give your dog a nice, thorough bath but they still smell abnormal, you certainly need to rule out any health conditions they might have.
Keep reading for 9 conditions that could cause dogs to have unnaturally smelly breath, skin, or poop.

This is a skin infection that appears between the skin folds, causing a powerful, musty odor. Skin fold pyoderma commonly occurs in overweight pups or dog breeds that have skin rolls, including mastiffs, shar-peis, English bulldogs, and pugs. However, this type of infection can still occur in pups of any breed, size, and age.

The infection-related odor is pungent, and the problem itself can generate pain and itchiness. In this case, you should visit your vet ASAP to treat the infection because if it was ignored, it can quickly worsen and might even require surgery.

8. Anal gland infection

If a rank, the fishy smell is coming from your dog’s behind, then the culprit could be your pup’s anal glands, which produce a viscous liquid that gives dog poop its unique scent.

So it’s awfully smelly when the dog is not pooping, the reason might be that she/he discharged the glands involuntarily. This can happen if the dog has an infected gland, is full, or has been frightened.

If this smell is a one-time incident, there’d be no reason to worry, but if it keeps happening, then it’s probably an infection or super full glands that need freedom.

7. Dental disease

If your dog’s breath smells like poop, then it’s a sign of dental disease. You should keep in mind though that a faint doggy breath is totally natural. Unlike popular beliefs, dogs wouldn’t stop eating even if they had a toothache, fractured teeth, or painful tooth-root abscesses.

If you notice a terrible odor coming from your pup’s mouth, then it’s time for a trip to the veterinarian.

To help keep dental disease at bay, use veterinarian-approved dental chews for dogs, or better yet, brush your dog’s teeth at least twice a week.

6. Oral cancer

Even though poor oral hygiene may lead to canine halitosis, it isn’t the sole potential cause. If your dog’s breath has suddenly changed from mild doggy breath to something more like old rotten garbage, then it may be a sign of oral cancer.

Try not to freak out, but make sure to start acting right away. A regular pet owner can almost never successfully identify the actual cause behind an oral problem, so it’s best to visit your vet immediately to get your dog’s mouth examined properly and rule out scary diseases.

5. Diabetes

Dog breath must never smell sugary or sweet. Just like in humans, a sweet-smelling breath can signal diabetes. Unfortunately, 1 in every 4 pups develops diabetes, which can happen for various reasons that range from pancreatic disease to genetics.

This condition is commonly seen in dogs aged over 6 years old as well as certain breeds, like Samoyeds, terriers, and beagles.

Not only a sugary smell, other signs of diabetes include increased urination and thirst.

To diagnose diabetes, your vet must run a test, and in the unfortunate case that the dog is diagnosed with this untreatable disease, you’ll need to do your best to manage it with meds and diet.

4. Yeast infection

It’s not uncommon for dogs to get yeast infections in various body parts. Pups that regularly get these infections usually have food allergies.

If your dog emits a yeasty smell (like if you’ve accidentally spilled some old beer), then he or she most likely has a yeast infection.

To treat such infections, vets usually recommend wipes to keep the infected area dry and thus decrease the yeast population.

Yeast infections, particularly in ears, can usually be treated using just topical anti-yeast meds. But generally, the allergic disease itself requires veterinary attention.

3. Kidney failure

A urine-like odor on doggy breath means they’re experiencing kidney failure, in which these crucial organs are no longer able to properly get rid of waste from the blood. Kidney failure in dogs has multiple causes, such as infectious diseases, hereditary problems, and cancer, leading to declining kidney function over time.

Any dog showing signs of kidney failure requires urgent medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

2. Parvovirus

If you notice that your dog started having remarkably foul-smelling runny stool, it may be a sign of parvovirus, which is a severe viral infection that’s contagious and needs urgent medical care so the dog can survive.

Veterinarians concentrate on treating the secondary symptoms, including vomiting, loss of appetite, and dehydration to make the pet feel healthy again. Parvovirus can specifically affect puppies aged between six weeks and six months old, but vaccinations can prevent it.

1. Urinary tract infection (UTI)

A scent that can indicate a urinary tract infection can differ from one dog to another, but in most cases, it’s a strong odor that’s noticeably different from the dog’s usual urine scent. Other symptoms of UTI include genital licking, whimpering while peeing, cloudy or bloody urine, indoor peeing, and increased thirst and urination.

If you have the slightest doubt that your furry family member has a urinary tract infection, head to the vet immediately. If left untreated, a UTI can lead to kidney failure.

Please don’t hesitate to share this article with fellow dog lovers/owners and leave a comment if you’d like to add interesting information or advice.