Whether you’ve got yourself a new puppy, or you’ve had your dog for a while, a doggy smell is something that all owners can relate to.
However, sometimes the smell can become overpowering, which prompts you to ask yourself “Why does my dog smell so bad or have a weird odor?”
You may notice in a larger dog like a German Shepherd that this smell is stronger than a small dog, but this is not always the case.
Regardless of the type of dog you have, it can be such a relief to get some control over the issue and IDENTIFY the reasons the smell or odor may be hanging around.
Identifying the CAUSE of a smell or odor is the first step to getting rid of it.
We’ve put together a list of questions and reasons you can ask yourself and identify with dog smells and odors.
Let’s jump into them…
(NOTE: this is an informational/educational list and not professional advice. Please see a vet or animal professional for expert advice).
10 Reasons Why Your Dog/German Shepherd Smells So Bad Or Has An Odor
1) Is it really a bad smell/odor – or is it a natural doggy odor?
Before asking why your dog smells so bad or has an odor, first ask yourself whether that is just naturally the way they smell.
Dogs have light doggy type scents that are emitted from the fur, skin and ears and a result of light perspiration, oils and glands – which is the ‘dog’ smell that people refer to.
A bath/shampoo once every month to two months should keep most dogs from smelling too strong.
You don’t want to overdo the doggy washes too often though as you can strip the natural oils the dog has in their coat.
2) What have they touched or picked up recently?
What have they rolled in? What have they picked up in their mouth? What have they eaten?
If your dog is rolling in poop or picking up dead animals regularly – it makes sense they would smell bad.
The same goes for rolling in seaweed or dead/washed up sea animals down the beach.
Also, note that a dog’s coat can absorb smells and trap them under the top coat (for double coat breeds) much more effectively than what human skin does which is exposed.
This is why it’s so important to make sure the areas your dog is playing in are clean!
3) Is your dog’s fur wet or damp?
If your dog has recently gone for a swim or had a bath,
Yeast, bacteria in your dog’s fur which doesn’t smell when your dog is dry.
In a nutshell, the water molecules react with the compounds in your dog’s fur and release the smelly/stinky wet dog smell.
Drying your dog properly when they are wet is an important step to minimising this
4) Has your dog been running around recently?
Dogs don’t sweat in the same way that humans do.
But, we do know that dogs do perspire from their paws and secrete a very light perspiration from their hair.
If your dog’s scent is a little stronger after running around, this might be why as the smell may be slightly stronger after physical activity.
5) Is it actually your dog, or is it something else in the environment?
Sometimes it might not actually be your dog that smells in the moment.
It could be a bin with organic waste in it, a damp carpet, someone else in the house or even you – and you don’t notice it!
Similarly, ask yourself when the last time you washed the inside rugs, carpets, linens and got the furniture cleaned was. Do you regularly let fresh air in the house?
What about the dog’s bed or the rug or blanket they sleep on – has that been washed recently?
Whichever room the scent is in, make sure the odor absorbing materials in that environment
6) Stinky breath and mouth odors
A dog, like a human, will have a natural mouth and breath scent.
However, if the smell is overpowering and it goes on for days and weeks, your dog might have either a tooth infection, or an organ or body disease.
If you think this might be the case, take your dog to the vet for a health check because teeth infections and diseases like kidney diseases or diabetes can lead to serious problems that you need a medical professional to help you with.
7) Skin problems and skin disorders
Skin problems that cause funky smells can come in a range ways.
The first is not usually a problem with German Shepherds, but more so with dogs with skin flaps or rolls. If you dont clean between their skin folds regularly, the dog might develop dermatitis.
Other types of skin problems may develop if the skin gets infected or broken down in some way – and this can produce a funky odor.
Look for flaky, dry or red/discolored or inflamed skin as signs of skin disorders.
See a vet if you believe your dog has a skin disorder.
8) Ear infections
Ear infections can produce yucky smells – and they are usually caused by bacterial or yeast infections in the ears.
Dogs with allergies might have a higher frequency of ear infections compared to dogs who don’t.
You’ll want to see a vet for the best way to treat ear infections.
If you notice your dog pawing at it’s ear, or you lift up the ear and see it looks red, inflamed or one inside of one ear looks different to the other, there might be an ear infection.
A dog with smelly farts might be caused by:
- Something they ate (especially rotten food)
- Digestive or organ issues
- A poor diet (diets high in grain can lead to bad smelling flatulence and poor digestive health in dogs)
See a vet about gas problems if they are really bad.
10) Infected or ruptured anal sacs/glands
Dogs have anal sacs/glands either side of their anus.
When a dog poops, they will naturally secrete from these glands. However, if these glands become enlarged, infected, ruptured or abnormal in any way, you might notice:
- Your dog smells like poop all the time
- Your dog secretes a horific smelling substance that may be brown/black
- Your dog incessantly licks their anus
- Your dog slides its butt along the floor trying to get relief
Damaged or inflamed anal sacs should be inspected and treated by your vet.
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