Why Does My Dog Smell So Bad?

“Why does my dog smell so bad?” Fear not, pet parent, in this blog, we’ll learn about 4 smells that could indicate your pup needs a helping hand. 

As a pet parent, it is imperative that you’re aware of your pup’s wellbeing; what healthy dogs look like, sound like… And, even what they smell like! 

Oct 04, 2023·5 min read
Why Does My Dog Smell So Bad?

Lucky for us, a bad smell is normally very noticeable and unpleasant – none of us want to be around a horrible stench! So, what do you do if that pungent smell is coming from your dog? 

We all know that our canine companions have an incredible sense of smell, one that is far superior to ours, but, did you know that your vet can discover some illnesses or health problems from the odors coming from your pet? 

When you visit the vet with your fur baby, they will visually examine your pooch, listen to their heartbeat and check for any lumps or pumps…but you may also find that they sometimes sniff for tell-tale odors that could indicate your pup may need a helping hand. 

Does your dog smell bad? Here are the 4 key smells you need to be aware of; 

Why Does My Dog Smell So Bad?

It could be their anal glands

Sometimes more commonly known amongst puppy parents as ‘fish butt’, your dog’s anus can produce an unpleasant odor – and it isn’t caused by your pup passing gas! 

Every dog has two glands either side of their anus that produce fluid when a bowel movement takes place. Why does this happen, you may ask? Well, some scientists believe that it could be another way of marking their scent, just like urine. 

And, unfortunately, just like us humans, your dog may sometimes suffer from a poorly stomach, which can lead to loose stools and result in your pup not being able to release their anal gland fluid naturally.  

A healthy anal gland does have a pungent smell which is completely normal!

PetLab Co.’s Anal Gland Support for dogs can help with those foul pongs! This unique supplement contains a blend of ingredients that focus on optimizing stool consistency, putting pressure on the anal glands, to help them empty naturally, while the probiotics can help support healthy gut and bowel functions.

It could be their breath

dog teeth blue sky

When it comes to your pup’s dental hygiene, nothing is more important as a puppy parent than keeping on top of their oral health. Whether it is brushing their teeth once or twice a day, using a specific dental mouth wash or giving your pooch a dental stick; actively looking after their oral hygiene is paramount… 

Now, although it is very common to associate dogs with bad breath, if you notice your pup’s kisses are becoming incredibly pungent and verging on unbearable, look inside their mouth… 

First, check to see the color and health of their gums; healthy gums should be bubblegum pink, turning white when pressed, then quickly returning to pink after a few seconds. 

Secondly, look at their teeth. They should be white/cream, not discolored, broken or surrounded by thick tartar and plaque.  

It’s important to take your dog to the vet for a deep tooth clean at least once a year, preferably twice. These visits also give your vet a chance to do a thorough check, enabling them to spot and respond to any issues before they become big (and expensive!) problems. 

Simple changes like adding dog friendly dental formula to your pet’s routine every day could contribute to maintaining their oral health…

PetLab Co.’s Dog Dental Formula contains premium ingredients inspired by science that can help support healthy teeth and gums. Its deep, cleansing nature targets those tough-to-target areas that are so important. The flavorless, odorless formula (once diluted), also supports the structures surrounding the teeth in a quick, hassle-free way – simply add one teaspoon to 8 ounces of water daily.

It could be their skin

Did you know, dogs do not sweat the same way as humans do? 

Although they still perspire a small amount, it should only leave a subtle ‘doggy’ odor in their fur – nothing too offensive. However, if the skin smells unpleasant, cheesy, and sweet, there may be an underlying issue. 

If you notice itching, biting, hair loss or a greasy looking coat., take your pup to the vet as soon as possible.  

It could be an abscess

Shaggy black white and brown dog in garden

Dog smells bad? Abscesses can create quite an unpleasant smell, too. These pockets of pus build up under the skin, originating from an infection, a wound, or a bite from another animal or insect. Abscesses can cause extreme discomfort and irritation, with many also triggering a fever, lack of appetite or energy. Sometimes these abscesses can rupture, which will produce an awful pong that you won’t be able to miss. 

If you have a pooch that has a thick, full coat like German Shepherds or Akitas, abscesses can grow large and undetected by the cover of long hair. As long as you visit your vet and have them treat it, your pup should be able to make a full recovery. 

Dog Smells Bad

Any horrible odor coming from your pup may be a sign that something isn’t right. Your vet will be able to tell what is wrong with your pup through these bad aromas and pinpoint the cause easily. As a puppy parent, your job is to try to keep your fur baby healthy, so, as soon as you notice any of the above pongs, seek out the advice of your vet ASAP. 


Author Racine, Elizabeth DVM “Dog Ear Infections: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention” American Kennel Club, Sep 02. 2019 https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-ear-infections/

Author Dr. Klein, Jerry CVO “Anal Glands in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know” American Kennel Club, Aug 31. 2021 https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/vets-corner/anal-gland-disease-in-dogs/

Becca TriggB

Becca Trigg

An all round animal lover, who absolutely adores writing and researching anything puppy! Over the past few years, I have been able to gain ample pet knowledge; specifically joint health and dental hygiene. When I'm not typing away in the office, I can be found sitting in a country pub or growing chillies

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
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