Reasons for a Dog's Fur or Skin to Smell Bad

by Amy Brantley
    Dogs love to roll in smelly stuff.

    Dogs love to roll in smelly stuff.

    Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

    You pick up your dog for a quick hug and notice something unpleasant. The odor coming from your pup is quite offensive and a little worrisome and you're unsure where the odor came from. There are many reasons why a dog's fur or skin may stink, and it can usually boil down to diet or contact with a wild animal. It's important to find the source of the odor, though, as it could also be an infection.

    Dead Hair

    A common cause of odor in dogs is dead hair. As the dead hair piles up, it can block the pores that excrete essential oils, and this can lead to a bad smell. It's important to brush your dog daily to remove loose hair. You dog will smell better and require fewer baths.

    Skin or Ear Infections

    A poor diet can often lead to skin infections. It's important to feed your dog a high-quality diet with high-quality protein to help avoid these skin infections. However, skin infections may also be caused by allergies. An ear infection may also be the cause. When a dog gets an ear infection, the bacteria can build up and cause a strong odor. It's important to clean your dog's ears regularly.

    Impacted Anal Glands

    The anal glands are supposed to secrete an oily substance whenever the dog has a bowel movement. When this doesn't happen, the dog's anal glands may be impacted. This is not only uncomfortable for the dog, it can also be smelly. If you notice your dog scooting on the carpet, there's a good chance her anal glands need to be expressed. This can be done by your vet or groomer if you're not comfortable with the procedure.

    Rolling in Something Smelly

    Dog odor can also come from the dog rolling in something smelly. Dogs have a primal instinct to mask their odor. This means they may roll in another animal's feces or even the remains of a dead animal to cover their own scent. If you see your dog rolling on his back in the grass, there's a good chance he found something wonderfully smelly to roll in. Correct the behavior anytime you catch your dog doing this and give him a bath.

    Skunk Spraying

    Your dog may also have come in contact with a skunk. Skunk spray can be very powerful, and your dog may come running in the house and hide after the incident. A good bath in tomato juice can usually remedy the odor. If not, a visit to a groomer may be in order.

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    About the Author

    Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.

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