What causes dogs to have offensive odor? The reason behind the smell can vary, the cause may be fast or slow to diagnose, the underlying reasons may be simple or complex, treatment may be easy or may require a lengthy and involved process. The three main reasons for offensive odor in dogs are: cleanliness, infection, or disease.
Cleanliness can include animals with excessively oily skin, animals who are not bathed regularly, or animals that have come into contact with an offensive substance. The latter two are easy enough to rectify with a bath or more regular bathing routine. In the case of animals with oily skin there may be underlying reasons for the production of excessive skin oils, such as Canine Seborrhea (an inherited disease that causes the skin to exude a waxy, greasy substance that can form clumps and cause dirt and bacteria to remain trapped against the skin) or it may be a secondary reaction to another condition or disease such as allergies, dietary deficiencies, parasites or autoimmune disorders.
Most infections are caused by bacteria or yeast, an infection is usually either localized (affecting a specific area or internal organ), or systemic (whole body). For localized infections you will notice the odor is coming from a specific body part such as the ears, mouth, vulva or anal area. In each of these cases the treatment varies because there can be underlying reasons for the infection. For example, ear infections may be caused by ear mites, excess moisture, lack of oxygen/air flow or allergies, the first three are easy to treat and can be avoided in the future, allergies on the other hand must be dealt with first in order to prevent a recurring issue. For systemic infections such as a blood infection there is almost always an underlying or beginning cause, systemic infections are extremely serious and can be fatal. Preventing a systemic infection can usually be accomplished by keeping the animal in good health and treating any issues, infections, or injuries as soon as they appear.
Diseases and disorders such as Kidney Disease, Dental Disease, Diabetes, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Anal Gland Impaction can all cause offensive odors. Treating or keeping the disease in check can help to decrease or remove the odor.
Wet dog odor is caused by microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast that are living on the skin and in the fur. As long as the fur stays dry the odor is minimal, but introducing water causes the smaller microorganisms to be displaced which brings the odor out. Regular bathing and grooming can help to minimize the amount of normal (non health related) odor your dog has. Bathing should take place about once a month depending on the length of coat, and brushing should be done a couple times a month with the amount increasing during shedding seasons.
Other options for keeping your dog smelling nice are to use waterless shampoo, doggie cologne or other pet fragrance. Baby powder or cornstarch can also be used in small amounts to help absorb odors. Applying baking soda and lavender to your dog’s fur can help soak up the oil give them mild and pleasant scent while also repelling bugs and other pests.
Dog colognes and pet fragrances are common products that are used in the dog grooming process nowadays. As your dog's smell can be a long-term thing that you might have to deal with day in and day out, especially if your dog has a thick undercoat, it’s important to know ways to keep your dog smelling fresh.
Essential oils can also be a great resource to combat your dog’s body odor. But you have to be careful while choosing the oil because they can be toxic and even fatal to your dog’s health. Using dog fragrances scented with natural oils is the best way to avoid using deodorants containing chemicals.
Whatever be the cause that leads to a smelly dog, it needs to be treated. Maintain the health and hygiene of your dog on a regular basis.