Why does my dog smell?

smellIf you are a fan of the TV show “Friends” you will no doubt recognise the following song which Phoebe sang on several occasions:

Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you?
Smelly cat, smelly cat, it’s not your fault.
They won’t take you to the vet.
You’re obviously not their favourite pet.
You may not be a bed of roses,
and you’re no friend to those with noses.
Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you?
Smelly cat, smelly cat, it’s not your fault.

When thinking about this blog I was reminded of that song. However I will not be writing about smelly cats, it will be about smelly dogs.

If you ask any dog owner they will tell you their dog has an odour.  It might only be the smell of dog but there is one.  However, some dogs will have more than a slight whiff about them. This could be down to something simple that can be sorted straight away or it could be something more serious. Below are a few things you can look at to see if there could be a problem.

Bath time for Bonzo

If your dog really smells it could be that they need a bath. If it’s been a while since the last one and in that time they have been running around, playing in the park, swimming in the sea, rolling in fox poo etc. then a nice bath with a good doggy shampoo will do the trick.  Make sure you dry them properly after a bath because you might end up with the smell of wet dog. However, don’t bathe them too often as this can strip the fur of the natural oils.  Regular brushing and a bath every now and again will help to ensure your pooch smells clean. If your dog has long hair, try and keep it nice and short as there could be issues with urine and faeces being caught in the fur. A clean, well groomed dog is a happy dog


Where does your dog sleep? Does it have its own bed? Make sure that it’s washed regularly and kept clean and flea free. You can read our blog about fleas by clicking HERE

Ear Infections

Ear infections are common.  The results can be very painful.  Symptoms include shaking of the head and scratching their ears.  If you notice your dog doing those things take a look in their ears to see if there is an issue. You may see a discharge which can range from a pus-like liquid to black wax.  Also look out for red, sore looking, irritated skin. Don’t bath your dog if you think there is a problem as trapped water in the ear canal can make it worse.  If you are in any doubt arrange to see our vet or nurse who will take a look.  If the problem is ignored it could result in permanent damage.


Dog breath is not normal. A good clean healthy dog mouth should have little or no odour.  If there is a bad smell there could be issues such as a build of tartar and plaque, gingivitis, gum disease and tooth decay.   We have written a blog on keeping your pets teeth clean. You can read it by clicking HERE

Skin and Coat

As previously mentioned, if your dog receives regular brushing, grooming and a bath every now and again there is no reason for them to smell. However, dogs with skin conditions, like allergic skin, parasite infestation and yeast and bacterial infections that accompany them can cause a really bad smell.  If you notice an issue with your dog’s skin let our vet take a look as they can suggest medicated shampoos or oral treatments that can help.


Farts, proops, guffs or love kisses…..whatever you want to call it; your dog will do them.  It’s completely normal.  Owners will have many a tale of their own dog’s wind problems and the following smell.  However, on a more serious note, if the dog produces gas excessively there could but an underlying problem.  Excessive gas is caused by poor digestion which could be the result of a poor diet, a mild intolerance to one of the ingredients in its food or there may be an issue with guts not working as they should.  If your dog is producing a lot of gas, particularly if it is really smelly or is associated with soft poo, it would be wise to visit our vet.

Anal Glands/Sacs

Anal sacs otherwise known as anal glands are two small pockets either side of the dog’s bottom.  Each time a stool is passed it squeezes the gland and a liquid with a unique scent comes out.  This helps them to mark their territory.  However, if the dog hasn’t been for a while or has had runny poos or diarrhoea, the gland can become blocked.  This can become very uncomfortable for a dog and you may notice one or more of the following:

  • Excessive licking of the anal area
  • You dog is restless and irritable
  • They drag their bottoms across the floor (scooting) When this happens many owners believe their dog has worms but it is usually not the case

If a dog manages to release liquid from the gland it can create a very unpleasant smell.  If there is an issue with a dog’s anal gland it should be looked at straight away as chronic blockages can lead to abscesses and infections.

Hopefully, you now have a good insight into the various smells that could come from your dog.  If you have any questions about this subject please call us at the clinic. Alternatively, for non-urgent questions, you can post them on our Facebook page.