Often, it is hard for owners to notice when their pet has an increased odour because the scent of their pet is present at all times and sensory stimuli are most noticeable when they are novel.  That may mean that you may not register a slowly changing odour in your pet as strong.   Thus, if notice any changing odour in your pet (or if perhaps a friend gently mentions that your best friend is stinky) you may want to investigate with your veterinarian.

If you notice your beloved pet smells a bit off lately, there is no need to panic, but a visit to your veterinarian may be wise.

That’s because there are a range of possible causes, from the harmless (your dog rolled in something) to the significant (infection). If you’ve tried obvious methods of alleviating the stench, including giving your dog a bath, a good combing and maybe a trip to the groomer, then you should ask your vet to take a closer look.  

Sources of Dog Odors

Dr. Louis Crupi, a veterinarian in Nutley, New Jersey, says dog odors most often emanate from the ears and mouth. “Check to see if your dog is pulling at its ears or shaking its head,” which could indicate an infection.

Another common cause of dog odor is a yeast infection, which prompts a sickeningly sweet odor, says Dr. Tracy Dewhirst, a veterinarian based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and a regular contributor to Exceptional Canine. “Any time you smell a sweet or sour odor on your dog, you should get it checked out,” she says. Yeast infections often signal an allergy of some sort. While yeast is normally found on the skin and ears in small amounts, a dog with allergies doesn’t have normal skin defenses, says Dr. Corrina Parsons of the Longwood Veterinary Center in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Yeast infections can be a problem for dogs in an environment that promotes yeast growth, such as a dog that swims and always has wet ears, notes Parsons.

Your dog’s breath might never smell like roses. But if it’s excessively malodorous, then it could also be a sign of dental disease or tartar says Dewhirst, who acknowledges that some dogs naturally have better breath than others. Of course, a regular program of canine dental care, including teeth-brushing, can help prevent dental problems.

You Won’t Miss This Dog Odor

If your dog’s anal sac is ruptured or partially or fully emptied for one reason or another, a telltale, fishing-like scent signals something’s amiss. Dogs often make the irritation in the area worse by rubbing their hind end on the floor in an effort to scratch the area. Dewhirst says an anal sac rupture or leak is usually an indication of an infection. Obesity and food allergies could be potential causes of anal sac inflammation.

Finally, there’s flatulence. Though it’s normal for your dog to pass gas on occasion, you should watch for an excessive degree of flatulence, which could indicate a digestive upset. The important thing, caution experts, is to not dismiss your dog’s odors as commonplace. “Your dog shouldn’t smell,” says Dewhirst. “It’s not normal.”