Why Does My Dog Stink ?
Does your dog stink? Dog odor is a problem that many dog parents have. If your dog persistently gives out a bad odor, do not just dismiss it as “doggie smell”. The odor may be caused by some underlying health issues. Read this page to find out some of the common causes of dog odor.

We all want our dogs to smell heavenly all the time, but the reality is, sometimes they smell bad. Most dogs have the occasional “doggie smell”, especially when the weather is hot and humid, and that is quite normal.

But some dogs seem to give out a bad odor all the time. When the dog odor persists and does not go away even after a thorough cleaning, then we need to look for a possible underlying cause.

Almost always, persistent dog odor is caused by an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed and dealt with.

So, what may cause a dog to smell bad? Here are some possible reasons:

External Causes That Make A Dog Stink

If your dog suddenly has become smelly, first check for external causes. For example, has he been rolling on something stinky, such as dead fish, feces, etc.?

Another possibility is that he has been skunked! If that is the case, you need to handle your dog carefully and remove the skunk odor before your dog has the opportunity to spread the odor to your whole house.

What Makes Your Dog Stink

Possible Health Problems That Make A Dog Stink

If you are sure that your dog’s bad odor is not caused by an external problem, then check your dog carefully to see if you can identify any physical problem that may be causing the odor.

Check your dog’s mouth, ears, skin, and rear end:


Does your dog stink because of his breath? Examine your dog’s mouth. Look for signs of infection, injury, or bleeding. Use a flashlight to see if anything is stuck between two teeth, or in the gums. Also take a good look at the dog’s teeth. Do they all look healthy? Are there any broken teeth? How about the gums? Can you see any abnormalities, such as a growth or an abscess?

Injuries and infections tend to be the main reasons for bad breath. Infections can be treated by antibiotics. Once the infection is gone, the bad breath will go away as well.

Dental problems such as gingivitis and periodontal disease can also cause bad breath. Sometimes bad breath is caused by something more serious such as oral cancer.

If you suspect your dog has some form of dental problem, be sure to take the dog to the vet for treatment, as dental problems not only cause pain to the dog, they can also affect other body organs, such as the heart and the kidneys.

Bad breath can also be caused by digestive problems such as indigestion and constipation. If your dog has gas and/or is constipated, it’s likely that he has bad breath as well!


Does your dog stink because of his ears? Examine first his external ears for wounds or lacerations. Infected wounds are a common source of foul ear odor.

If there is no external wound, use a flashlight to examine the inside of the ears. 

Ear infections can cause discharge such as pus with quite offensive smell. Dog ear infections can be caused by allergies, ear mites, bacteria, fungi, and so on.

The best way to prevent ear infections caused by mites and bacteria is to check and clean your dog’s ears regularly.


Skin problems can also make a dog smelly.

Take a look at your dog’s skin and see if there are signs of injury and/or infection.

If there is a wound on the skin and it has become infected, the wound will give out a bad odor. Clean and dress the wound if it is not so serious.

Otherwise, leave it to your vet.

If there is no external wound, check the condition of the dog’s skin. Is it dry and flaky, or does it feel oily but still flakes and smells? If so, this could be the result of seborrhea.

Unless the smell is really offensive, seborrhea can be treated using special shampoos and the odor should disappear in a week or so.

Rear End

Sometimes, a dog smells bad because of his rear end! Dogs with anal gland problems such as impacted anal glands give out a very distinctive, foul “fishy” odor. You may also see your dog scooting on the floor from time to time if he has an anal gland issue.

If your dog’s anal glands are impacted, you need to have the glands expressed – either by yourself or by a groomer or a vet.


Sometimes the odor may be due to gas (flatulence), which is mainly caused by digestive problems, such as indigestion, constipation, bloat, etc.

Other Health Problems

Dog odor can also be a sign of some form of more serious health problems, such as diabeteskidney failure, and cancer.

As you can see, dog odor can be an indication that your dog has some form of underlying health problem. If you cannot identify the problem yourself and the odor persists, be sure to take the dog to your vet for a check-up.

Ways To Make Your Dog Smell Better

Here are some ways that can make your dog smell better:

Groom Your Dog Regularly

Make it a habit to groom your dog on a regular basis. This includes brushing his coat, cleaning his ears, brushing his teeth, and if needed, expressing his anal glands.

Give your dog a bath as needed. Some people are concerned that giving a bath to a dog frequently can dry out the skin. However, if you choose a mild and gentle dog shampoo that your dog is not allergic to, it is perfectly fine to bathe the dog as often as needed.

Try out these great natural products:

Watch The Diet

As mentioned above, poor digestion causes gas and bad breath in dogs. It is therefore important to give your dog a natural and healthy diet. Make sure that the dog is not allergic to any of the ingredients in his diet.