VCA Animal Hospitals

Why does my dog smell so bad?

Published: Feb 24, 2012

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Not many people expect their pets to smell like fresh linen - after all, they are animals. However, if your dog has a particularly offensive odor, it can be a sign of illness.

While dogs are known to roll in substances that are less than pleasant, if the smell does not go away after a bath, possible skin infection could be to blame. Veterinarian Mark J. Stickney, a clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M University, told EverydayHealth.com that bacterial or yeast infections on a dog's skin commonly leads to a foul odor.

Yeast dermatitis is one cause of a malodorous pet. VCA Animal Hospitals reports that this fungal infection is an extremely common cause of skin disease in dogs. There are millions of bacteria and fungi on all dogs, but healthy animals are able to keep the numbers in check. However, if the dog's immune system is compromised by age, illness, allergies or hormonal imbalances like hypothyroidism, bacteria and fungus can get out of hand and cause infection.

Usually, your veterinarian can recommend a shampoo or oral medication to treat this condition, VCA reports. You should also look for hot spots on dogs, since these bacterial infections will also need treatment that your vet can recommend or prescribe, PetMD.com reports.

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