Why does my dog smell bad? 6 reasons why he may be less than daisy fresh

You don’t have to live in an area where your dog gets sprayed by a skunk to experience bad smells coming from your dog.  There are a number of reasons why your dog may be smelling a lot less than daisy fresh.  If you’ve been asking “why does my dog smell bad?”, we highlight 6 possible reasons and what you can do to help make your dog comfortable and help him to smell good.

Wet dog

This is one reason that can more easily be addressed than others.  Whenever a dog gets wet, whether from jumping in a creek for a splash or after a walk in the rain there is the potential for him to start to smell bad. Microorganisms in your dog’s fur tend to emit unpleasant odors when they become wet.  In order to avoid these you’ll need to use a hair dryer to get the dog’s coat fully dry – towel drying just doesn’t cut it.  To avoid that wet dog smell permeating your car after a rainy excursion, simply add a rubber trunk liner, which allows for easy clean up when you get back home.

Bad breath

Bad breath most often is the result of dental hygiene issues.  How often are you brushing your dog’s teeth to eliminate tartar build up, dental infections and gum disease? Why not check out our blog post for tips on improving the dental hygiene of your dog.

If you tend to be thorough with your dog’s dental hygiene it is possible that the bad breath odors are from another source such as respiratory or gastrointestinal issues.  Check with your veterinarian to see if this is the case with your dog.

Ear infection

Some dog breeds are particularly prone to ear infections. If the smell from your dog’s ears is mild, it is likely resolved with appropriate ear cleanser.  For stronger more pungent smells, contact your veterinarian for advice and treatment.

Anal glands

Many dogs experience issues with their anal glands at some point in their lives.  If your dog suddenly starts scooting around on his butt, has difficulties with defecation and you smell a fish-like odor, it’s time to contact the veterinarian.  Treatment may be in the form of expressing the glands to make your dog’s rear end more comfortable and less stinky too.

Skin issues

Skin issues that cause bad smells are particularly problematic for dog breeds with overlapping folds of skin such as pugs or sharpeis. These folds need to be regularly cleansed and dried to prevent bad odors.  

Other skin infections can also cause odors so if you notice skin problems with your dog it’s worth taking a trip to the vet to get them checked out and to ensure your dog is comfortable as well as better smelling.


Occasional flatulence is perfectly normal in a dog.  However, if your dog is regularly emitting noxious fumes from his rear end, a check up with the veterinarian is recommended for solutions to this issue.

Information given in this article is not a substitute for advice from a qualified medical professional. Please consult a veterinarian for advice specific to your dog.