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Why Does My Dog Smell Rotten? Causes & Solutions (2024)

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You’re not alone if you’ve noticed your dog smelling a bit off lately. After all, spending more time at home with them during the pandemic meant we were likely to notice any changes in their smell. But what could be causing this bad odor and how can it be stopped? From dental problems to allergies, there are many potential causes of why your dog smells rotten – but thankfully, they often have simple solutions too.

Key Takeaways

dog smells rotten

  • Rotten dog smells can be caused by dental problems, allergies, ear infections, and impacted anal sacs.
  • Regular dental cleanings and brushing can help prevent bad breath caused by dental problems.
  • Dietary changes may help reduce flatulence in dogs, which can be a sign of food intolerance.
  • Prompt veterinary attention is necessary for dogs with urine-like breath to prevent further health issues related to kidney disease or bladder infection.

Causes of Dog Odor

Causes of Dog Odor
You may have noticed a distinct odor coming from your dog that wasn’t always there before. This could be due to many issues, such as dental problems, flatulence, atopy (allergies), ear infections, or impacted anal sacs.

Whatever the cause of this unpleasant smell is, it’s important to take steps towards resolving it for your furry friend’s sake.

Dental Problems

You may notice your furry friend’s breath is less than pleasant, caused by plaque and tartar buildup, gum disease, or periodontal disease. Brushing regularly and dental cleanings can help keep your dog’s teeth healthy. Bad breath could be a sign of other issues like canine ear infections; regular dental exams are essential to identify the cause of bad breath in dogs.


Frequent flatulence in your pup can be a sign of food intolerance, so it’s important to check for that if you’re noticing an especially smelly situation. Dietary changes, health checkups, dental care, and grooming tips may help combat canine flatulence.

Excessive flatulence could indicate allergies or another underlying issue; try a different diet and watch for allergy symptoms to determine the cause.


Atopy is a common cause of skin allergies in dogs, leading to an unpleasant odor if left untreated. Allergy testing and treatment options such as environmental control, diet changes, and symptom management can help.

Urinary incontinence and ear infections are also potential causes of odors that require attention.

Ear Infections

Ear infections can cause bad smells in dogs, so watch for signs like excessive scratching or shaking. If left untreated, they can worsen – think of them as an unkempt potluck! Prevention strategies, diagnosis methods, symptom recognition, and treatment options are all key.

Home remedies such as healthy ear hygiene and pet insurance plans help with consistent problems too.

Anal Sacs

Bleeding from the backside and a stench that won’t quit can indicate an anal sac issue in your beloved pet. Checking symptoms, cleaning glands, maintaining a proper diet, and giving regular baths are key.

Veterinary care is essential to identify yeast infections or gingival hyperplasia as the root cause of your dog’s smell.

Solutions for Dog Smells

Solutions for Dog Smells
You may be wondering what you can do to help stop your dog from smelling so bad. While some odors are caused by medical issues, there are several steps that you can take on a regular basis to help reduce or even eliminate unpleasant smells coming from your pup.

Dental hygiene is key in preventing bad breath and tartar buildup. Skin and ear care should also be part of the routine for keeping bacteria at bay. Diet plays an important role too, as does bathing regularly with a mild shampoo.

If none of these options seem to work, it’s time to consult professional advice since strange smells could indicate underlying medical conditions that need attention.

Dental Hygiene

Implementing a dental hygiene routine can help prevent bad breath and other odors from developing in your pet.

  • Regular dental cleanings, plus plaque removal and tartar buildup control.
  • Teeth brushing with vet-recommended toothpaste or dog kibble that promotes oral health.
  • Switching to high-protein, non-processed dog food for better overall nutrition benefits the mouth too! Keeping your pup’s teeth healthy helps avoid unpleasant odors caused by common canine dental problems.

Skin and Ear Care

You can help keep your beloved pet’s body odor-free by taking care of their skin and ears. Grooming supplies, vet visits, and allergy medication are all part of a comprehensive hygiene plan for older dogs.

Regularly cleansing the folds with gentle products helps prevent painful infections from developing.


Feeding your furry companion a balanced, high-protein diet can help reduce odors and maintain their health in their senior years. Homemade diets or raw food may be worth considering for older dogs with food intolerance.

Small bits of healthy foods eaten throughout the day are good options as well; pet insurance may even cover allergy tablets to help manage symptoms! There’s a good reason why switching to a nutrient-rich diet is beneficial – it helps keep bad smells away while promoting overall well-being.


Regular bathing is an easy and effective way to keep your furry friend smelling fresh. 89% of pet owners have noticed a difference in their dog’s smell after regular baths. Preventive care, grooming tips, cleaning supplies for odor removal, and the right pet shampoo are key! Regular dental exams help prevent issues like bad breath that can come with older pets or health conditions.

Medical Issues

It’s important to consider medical issues causing your pet’s odor, like diabetes and kidney disease. Allergies, urinary incontinence, impacted glands, and digestive problems can cause foul odors. Sweet breath may signify diabetes, while urine-like smells could indicate a kidney problem or bladder infection.

Cleaning the dog’s teeth regularly is key for health as well as smell! Foul-smelling skin infections require vet care to determine an underlying medical condition in canine companions.

Sweet or Fruity Breath

Sweet or Fruity Breath
If your dog’s breath has a sweet or fruity smell, it could be an indicator of diabetes. Diabetes in dogs can lead to dehydration and breathing difficulties, so make sure to contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that this is the cause.

Other symptoms include excessive thirst and urination, weight loss, lethargy, and poor coat condition.

Additionally, allergies can also result in sweet or fruity smelling breath as a side effect of the body trying to fight off allergens — such as pollens from grasses or trees — or food intolerances.

These conditions will require treatment by a vet using anti-allergy tablets, depending on the diagnosis.

Finally, regular dental cleanings are important for all dogs, but especially those prone to gum disease due to bad genetics (such as small breeds) or who have not had their teeth brushed regularly by their owners.

Tartar build-up often leads to halitosis, causing bad breath, even though some cases may mimic the odor of nail polish remover due to hormonal imbalances caused by age-related issues like Cushing’s Disease.


  • Get professional advice if your dog’s mouth smells different than usual.
  • Have regular dental cleanings done.
  • Consider switching diets for allergy relief.

Urine-like Breath

Urine-like Breath
If your pup’s breath is giving off a urine-like stench, like the smell of a public bathroom on a hot summer day, it could be an indication of kidney disease or bladder infection. Both conditions can cause bad breath and require prompt veterinary attention to prevent further health issues from developing.

Symptoms such as excessive thirst and urination, weight loss, lethargy, and poor coat condition may also accompany either issue.

Diabetes Kidney Disease Bladder Infection
Excess Thirst & Urination :x: Weight Loss :heavy_check_mark: Lethargy :heavy_check_mark:
Poor Coat Condition :x: Bad Breath :heavy_check_mark:: Veterinary Bills ::exclamation::

A full physical examination by your vet should help diagnose which condition is causing the problem — if not both! If left untreated for too long, they can lead to inflammation of the skin along with other problems that will become more difficult to treat over time.

The veterinarian might recommend allergy tablets if allergies are suspected or switching diets to provide relief from food intolerance symptoms that may present themselves alongside any other existing medical issues affecting your dog’s kidneys or bladder infections.

Contacting pet insurance company AKC Pet Insurance can help cover necessary veterinary bills associated with diagnosing these conditions so you don’t have to worry about unexpected costs while trying to do what’s best for Fido!

Canine Flatulence

Canine Flatulence
You may notice your pup’s gas levels rising, which could be a sign of food intolerance or an underlying medical issue. Allergic reactions can cause excessive oil secretions and the unmistakable whiff of foul air in certain breeds with floppy ears who are more prone to pet ownership with accidents than others.

Treating flatulence often involves making dietary changes or trying natural remedies like probiotics, enzymes, prebiotics, and digestive aids that help break down fats and carbohydrates for better digestion.

In some cases, however, it is necessary to investigate further if the stench persists as there could be medical causes such as infections or pancreatic disorders causing the problem.

Dog Ear Infections

Dog Ear Infections
The stench of a canine ear infection can be unbearable, leaving your furry friend uncomfortable and in distress. To ensure your pup’s comfort and health, it’s important to identify the cause of the odor and seek medical attention if needed.

Here are some tips for diagnosis:

  • Examination Tips: Use gloves when examining their ears as infections often make them sensitive to touch. Look for redness, inflammation, or discharge from their ear canal. Take note of any head shaking or scratching at their ears, which could indicate discomfort.
  • Treatment Options: Depending on what is causing the smell (allergies vs bacterial infection), there may be various treatment options available, such as antibiotics or antihistamines prescribed by Eastside Veterinary Associates.
  • Diagnosis Strategies: If allergies are suspected, then allergy testing can help narrow down which allergens trigger a reaction in dogs’ mouths, resulting in malodorous breath that resembles urine odors.
  • Prevention Tactics: Regular dental cleanings with an experienced veterinarian, like those found at Eastside Veterinary Associates, can prevent tartar buildup on teeth – one of the leading causes of bad breath in pooches! Additionally, using special products designed specifically for cleaning a dog’s mouth/teeth helps keep plaque away too!
  • Allergy Solutions: A healthy diet low in carbs and high in protein, along with eliminating common triggers like pollen and dust mites, while adding omega fatty acid supplements into meals, goes a long way towards improving overall allergen sensitivity levels.
    With these steps taken care of, you have better chances of preventing allergic reactions before they start.

To sum up, identifying problems early through examining symptoms and taking appropriate action based on diagnosis results from professional veterinarians ensures timely resolution, helping restore a pet’s quality of life back again!

Canine Anal Sacs

Canine Anal Sacs
Anal sacs can give off a nasty stench, enough to make your nose curl like a rotting banana. This smelly culprit of your dog may be caused by impacted anal glands that haven’t been properly emptied. Regular cleaning and emptying of the affected area can help reduce this odor. However, sometimes there is an underlying medical condition causing it.

Alternative diets or home remedies may also work depending on the severity and cause of the problem.

If regular cleaning does not improve matters, then surgical procedures might be necessary.

Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance
Investing in pet insurance can be a great way to reduce financial stress if your pup’s odors are caused by an underlying medical condition. Preventive care coverage provides peace of mind and protection should anything happen, while medical treatment policies help cover the costs associated with additional tests and treatments for illnesses that may have gone undetected or were previously undiagnosed.

Financial aid from pet insurance can go towards kidney function testing, dental cleanings for older dogs, or even specialized diets that keep their teeth healthy.

When researching coverage options, look out for claims processes that are straightforward and easy to understand, as well as companies providing several different levels of plans tailored specifically to the needs of you and your furry friend.

Small breeds especially benefit from preventive health care due to their increased susceptibility towards certain issues such as Gingival Hyperplasia.

No matter what type of pet ownership you choose, there is always a risk involved. However, having access to financial support via pet insurance helps ease some burdens, so don’t forget about it when looking into ways on how best to take care of our four-legged friends! Whether it’s heartworm prevention medications or emergency surgery after an unexpected incident, being prepared ahead makes all the difference in giving them long, happy lives together.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I do to prevent bad odors in my dog?

Take proactive steps to prevent bad odors in your dog, such as daily dental hygiene, regular baths and grooming, switching to a high-protein diet with limited processed foods, or using tablets for allergies.

Check for infections and bacteria that can cause ear problems or impacted anal sacs.

How often should I bathe my dog to keep them smelling fresh?

Bathing your pup regularly will help keep them smelling fresh! Aim for every 3-4 weeks or so, depending on their breed and lifestyle.

What is the most effective way to clean my dog’s teeth?

Brush your pup’s teeth regularly with a soft-bristled toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste for the best results. Professional cleanings from the vet are also recommended to ensure optimal dental health in older dogs.

Are there any natural remedies to reduce dog smells?

Yes! There are natural remedies to reduce odors in your dog. Try brushing their teeth regularly, keeping their skin and ears clean, switching to a healthier diet or allergy tablets, and giving them regular baths.

Are there any home remedies to help with dog ear infections?

Yes, there are home remedies that can help with dog ear infections. Cleaning the ears regularly and using an appropriate solution for flushing out dirt and wax buildup can prevent infection. If your pup is already infected, consult your vet about safe treatments such as topical ointments or herbal supplements to reduce inflammation and eliminate bacteria.


Nobody likes a smelly pup, so it’s important to identify the source of the odor. Regular bathing and a healthy diet can help reduce odors. It’s important to be aware of underlying medical issues that can cause a rotten smell.

Sweet or fruity breath can indicate diabetes, and urine-like breath can be a sign of kidney disease or bladder infection. Ear infections, anal sacs, and flatulence can also cause a smelly pup. Consult your vet for more advice and consider pet insurance to help with veterinary bills.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.