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Is your dog a bit funky? A guide to freshening up their scent!

Posted by Reedy Creek Vet on 16 April 2024
Is your dog a bit funky? A guide to freshening up their scent!

As pet owners, we all want our furry friends to smell fresh and clean. However, sometimes our beloved dogs can develop unpleasant odours that can be indicative of underlying health issues. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the common causes of smelly ears, teeth, skin, and anal glands in dogs, what you can do at home to address these issues, and when it's time to seek professional veterinary treatment.

Smelly Ears:

One of the most common reasons for smelly ears in dogs is the buildup of wax and debris. This can lead to infections, which often produce a foul odour. Other causes include ear mites, allergies, or foreign objects lodged in the ear canal. At home, you can gently clean your dog's ears with a veterinarian-approved ear cleaner and cotton balls. Be careful not to probe too deeply into the ear canal to avoid causing damage. If the odour persists or if your dog shows signs of discomfort, such as scratching or shaking their head, it's essential to seek professional treatment. Your veterinarian can diagnose and treat any underlying ear infections or other issues causing the odour.

Smelly Teeth:

Bad breath in dogs, also known as halitosis, is often caused by dental problems such as plaque and tartar buildup, gum disease, or infected teeth. Poor dental hygiene can lead to bacterial growth in the mouth, resulting in a foul odour. To combat smelly teeth at home, establish a regular dental care routine for your dog, including daily tooth brushing with a veterinarian-approved toothpaste and dental chews or toys. However, if your dog's bad breath persists despite proper dental care, it may be a sign of an underlying dental issue that requires professional attention. Your veterinarian can perform a thorough dental examination and recommend appropriate treatment, such as professional dental cleaning under anaesthesia.

Smelly Skin:

A variety of factors can contribute to smelly skin in dogs, including yeast or bacterial infections, allergies, hormonal imbalances, or underlying medical conditions such as hypothyroidism. Signs of smelly skin may include excessive scratching, redness, inflammation, or a greasy, foul-smelling coat. At home, you can help manage smelly skin by bathing your dog regularly with a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo and ensuring they are adequately dried afterward. Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet rich in essential fatty acids can promote skin health. However, if your dog's skin issues persist or worsen, it's crucial to consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Your veterinarian may recommend medicated shampoos, topical treatments, or oral medications to address the underlying cause of the odour and improve your dog's skin health.

Smelly Anal Glands:

Anal gland issues are a common cause of smelly odours in dogs. These small sacs located on either side of the anus contain a foul-smelling fluid that  is normally expressed during bowel movements. However, if the anal glands become impacted or infected, they can produce a strong, fishy odour. Signs of anal gland problems include scooting or dragging the bottom along the ground, excessive licking or biting at the rear end, or swelling around the anus. While some dogs may naturally express their anal glands during bowel movements, others may require manual expression by a veterinarian or groomer. If your dog's anal glands become impacted or infected, professional treatment may be necessary to relieve discomfort and prevent further complications.

If you have any concerns about your dog's odour or overall health, don't hesitate to consult our friendly vet team for guidance and support.


Author:Reedy Creek Vet