Have A Smelly Dog? 5 Reasons And What To Do

Our dogs are perfect. With their sweet faces, those puppy dog eyes, and the way that they love us unconditionally, even when we’re at our worst, they have earned their important, prominent role in the family ten times over. There’s nothing quite like the love of your fur baby, right? 

No one at WINPRO Pet would disagree with you. However, as much as we adore our dogs, there are times that they’re just a little smellier than others. If you’re dealing with a smelly dog, here are a few things that may be going on, and some helpful tips for what you can do about it. Don’t miss one more minute of quality snuggle time because of a dog that doesn’t smell their best. 

#1) “Wet Dog” Syndrome

You’ve probably heard the phrase that something bad smells “like a wet dog.” But you might not know that there is actually truth to that statement! 

The reason that wet dogs tend to be stinky really comes down to their microbiome… basically, the microscopic living organisms that live both on the outside and the inside of their bodies to help keep them healthy. Humans have them too, although we don’t often pay them much mind (this is why people take probiotics, in case you were wondering!). While they’re usually a good thing when in balance, they do leave behind certain “organic compounds (AKA microorganism poop).” 

These compounds by themselves don’t have a smell but, when they mix with moisture after a bath or a swim in the lake, it can get iffy. When that moisture starts to evaporate, that’s when smelly dog syndrome really kicks in. 

#2) Dogs Get Gas, Too

There’s a reason that people have a tendency to blame it on the dog… Dogs can get gas just like we do. The only difference is that they haven’t developed the shame surrounding it that humans have! A little toot here and there is normal for dogs, and most of the time you will probably smell it instead of hearing it. However if your pup’s gas has gotten more frequent or stinkier (or both), it may be worth a trip to your vet to make sure everything is ok. 

Smooshy faced dogs, like boxers, pugs, and bulldogs, tend to have this problem a little bit more often than dogs with longer snouts. This is likely because the way that their faces are shaped cause them to also take in extra air when they’re eating, which is something to watch out for. 

If your dog’s rear end smells particularly bad or “fishy,” they may have a problem with their anal glands. These tiny sacs are an important part of your dog’s anatomy, and they sit just inside of their rectum. If you’ve ever seen your dog greet another dog by smelling their butt, this is actually part of what they’re smelling for! 

Normally, anal glands don’t cause any issues, but they can get blocked or infected, leading to a specific smell that you won’t forget once you’ve smelled it.

#3) Stress Stinks… Literally

Did you know that stress has a smell? Not only can dogs smell stress on both humans and other dogs (specifically adrenaline and cortisol), it can also make them more smelly too! Just like people, dog’s body chemistry changes when they’re under stress. 

While we can use more deodorant to help, dogs just have to deal with it. If you’ve noticed that your dog has been smelling extra stinky and you’ve ruled out physical issues, take a look at their environment. Not every source of doggy stress is immediately obvious to us, so try to think on your dog’s level.

#4) Dog Breath

Dogs aren’t known for having the best smelling breath (except for puppies, because everyone knows that puppy smell is the best). Just like with people, bacteria in the mouth can build up and cause not so fresh breath… especially as our dogs get older. In some cases, though, smelly dog breath may actually be a sign of a larger issue like an infection, a broken tooth, or even a problem on the inside. 

Be careful if you’re trying to check your dog’s mouth yourself, even the best dog can nip when they’re in discomfort. 

#5) UTIs… Not Just For Humans

If your smelly dog seems to have an odor more like urine than dog breath, it’s possible that their issue may be related to a urinary tract infection. Female dogs are more likely to develop UTIs than male dogs, but it can happen to any dog at any time. 

If you’re noticing an odor alongside with a change in your pup’s behavior, like wanting to go outside more frequently than usual or drinking more water than they normally do, schedule an appointment with your vet to check it out. If you’ve ever dealt with a UTI yourself, you know just how uncomfortable these can be. 

What You Can Do About Your Smelly Dog

Hopefully you now have a better idea of why you’re dealing with a smelly (but still loveable!) dog, but now what?

Helping Your Smelly Dog From The Outside

If your smelly dog’s issue is coming from the outside, the trick is to establish a consistent bathing routine. But it’s actually less about the bathing and more about the drying! As we know, wet dogs are also smelly dogs, thanks to the microorganisms that live on their skin. So bathing them can’t fix the problem all on its own… you also need to make sure that you’re drying your dog afterward. There are blow dryers meant just for dogs, or you can buy a heavy duty pet drying towel. There’s also no shame in taking your dog to the groomer, and letting the professionals handle it! Either way, a few times a month is all you need to keep your dog looking, smelling, and feeling great.

Helping Your Smelly Dog From The Inside

If you’re dealing with more of an inside issue, the first step is making sure that you address any health issues with your veterinarian. 

Keeping your dog’s mouth and gut healthy is essential to helping prevent issues, as are regular trips to the vet or the groomer for anal gland expression if your dog gets frequently blocked or infected. And always make sure that you’re taking your pup for his or her regular annual visits, too! This can help catch issues before they have a chance to get bigger. 

Recognizing and managing stress in your smelly dog can also help, both outside and inside. Working on behavior modification and changing their environment to lower their stress levels is important (check out these tips that the crew at WINPRO Pet has rounded up for you). 

In Summary

Occasionally dealing with a smelly dog is a normal and expected part of dog ownership. However, if your dog seems to be extra smelly, or something seems to have changed with the way that they smell (or are acting), it’s essential to get them checked out by your veterinarian to rule out a larger issue. 

Keeping your dog healthy both inside and out is one of our most important goals at WINPRO Pet, and we want you to have all the info and tools at your disposal to be able to live a long, happy life alongside your furry family member. Now take that pup for a nice, long walk. 💛



Why Do Wet Dogs Smell So Bad? | American Kennel Club 

Disorders of the Stomach and Intestines in Dogs | Merck

Signs Your Dog is Stressed and How to Relieve It | VCA Animal Hospital (vcahospitals.com)