My Puppy Stinks! What Do I Do?

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HerePup! > Grooming & Care > My Puppy Stinks! What Do I Do?

My Puppy Stinks! What Do I Do?

There is no denying that you love your dog. Yet as cute and charming as your four-legged friend can be, there are times when he also comes equipped with an unpleasant odor that can fill up - and clear out - any room. And let’s face it: Those times need to be put to a stop. So what can you do?

First, don’t freak out. There could be many reasons your puppy is stinks, and some of them are pretty easy to fix. That said, there are a few health problems you should be aware of, and, of course, if your puppy really stinks, you need to figure out why—just so you don’t have to live with weird dog stench.

Why does my dog stink?

Dogs can stink for a bunch of different reasons. Here are a few of the most common.

Bad Breath

Sometimes, dogs just have stinky breath. On some occasions, the source of this stink has to do with what your pooch is putting in his mouth, which could range from seemingly innocuous materials like grass and dirt to much more nefarious stuff like poop.

This could especially be true if you’re dealing with a puppy, as the curiosity that comes from having a lack of life experience could translate into exploring his surroundings one jaw scoop at a time.

If you want to combat stinky breath, try giving your pup a doggy dental chew or having their teeth cleaned. If that doesn’t work, a trip to the vet may be in order, since bad breath can sometimes be caused by a disease, such as diabetes.

Bad breath could also be a prime indicator of one of several different issues related to a dog’s gastrointestinal track - something that makes sense, considering a pooch’s mouth is the system’s de facto point of entry.

Here's some more good info on "dog breath":

Infected or Backed up Anal Glands

If your puppy has been stinking for quite some time and the odor will not go away, it could be due to impacted or infected anal glands. These small “marking” glands in a dog’s anal area release an oily and stinky secretion whenever a dog has a bowel movement. 

If those glands are not able to empty properly or get infected, they may release the stinky secretion on the surrounding fur whenever your pup is overly excited or scared. If this is the case, you’ll probably know it.

The good news is that most groomers will empty your pup’s booty bags for a small fee, provided that it is allowed for them to do so in the state they practice.

With that being said, there are some vets that feel that squeezing a dog’s anal sac when the glands appear normal is a bad idea. If you fall into that category yet still insist on taking your pup to the groomers, you may want to have a discussion with the groomer to let him or her know that you don’t want the procedure done.

You never want to assume that anal sac pinching is not part of the grooming process unless it’s not permitted by the state.

And yes, a dog’s natural cleaning of his anal sac may cause an occasional bout of bad breath. While this act may make us recoil in horror because of our human sensibilities, to your pooch, biting his bum to release the glands is part of his natural grooming instinct. He’s merely doing what his intuition is telling him what should be done.

Diseased Gums & Teeth 

Another reason there may be a foul odor coming from your puppy’s mouth could be dental disease and/or infected gums. If you notice that your puppy is excessively drooling, likely because of a sore mouth, then your puppy may stink because her fur is coated in the smelly saliva.

Here's some more good info on doggy dental health:​

Puppies and Teething

If you own a relatively newborn puppy, you should also prepare yourself for bad breath once your little guy starts teething. This particular stink is due to the presence of bacteria that collects along the gum line as the baby teeth break through, and eventually get replaced by permanent choppers. The tell-tale sign of this issue is breath that tends to smell a little fishy.

You can expect the teething process to last for around four weeks. Because this is a natural process that essentially clears itself up, you can get away with stepping back, holding your nose, and letting nature take its course. If you do insist on brushing your pooch’s teeth during this time, proceed with caution - newly formed puppy teeth can be surprisingly sharp.

Ear Infection

If you smell an unpleasant odor upon entering the room your puppy is present in and you notice that your pup is scratching or shaking his/her head, it could be possible that your pup has an infected ear.

Bacterial infections of the ears can be super smelly. Vets often diagnose this type of infection by smell upon entering the exam room. Your dog will usually be scratching or shaking her head, but not always. A bath may make ears worse if water is trapped in the ear canal, so make sure to talk to your vet.

Here's a really good explanation of this:

Flatulence

Flatulence is another name for “gas” - or a nice way to say farts. This nasty odor often catches us by surprise, because dog farts fall into the “silent but deadly” category.

This is largely due to your pooch’s physiology; because the horizontal positioning of your dog’s rectum tends to make their sphincter looser than a human’s, gas tends to pass with a lot more ease and a lot less sound.

This often isn’t a big deal unless your pup’s toots are really smelly. Some dogs are just gassy. That said, if your pooch farts enough that you think it’s a problem (believe me; I’ve been there), talk to a vet—it could be due to a dietary or intestinal problem.

What should I do if my puppy stinks?

First, bath your dog.

If your puppy hasn’t had a bath in a while, looks dirty or may have rolled in something smelly, you might be able to get rid of the stink simply by giving her a bath. Wet your puppy completely using warm water and shampoo him/or her with a dog-formulated shampoo.

Once you’ve shampooed your pup, rinse and wash the shampoo out of his/her coat. You can also use conditioner, repeating the process. Use a hair dryer or towel your puppy immediately after the bath, and you’re good to go!

Do some basic grooming.

If your puppy’s ears look dirty inside, cleaning them using an ear cleaner, mineral oil or wipes may eliminate the unpleasant odor.

You might also be able to keep your puppy from stinking if you brush or comb her daily to remove any debris and dirt. Similarly, you can keep stinky breath under control by cleaning her teeth using a just-for-dogs toothbrush and toothpaste.

Here’s the important thing, though: never apply a deodorizer, perfume or scent on your puppy. These can be harmful to your pooch's skin and nose.

Try to reduce puppy farts.

If your puppy isn’t eating a healthy and natural diet, then flatulence might be the reason behind the unpleasant odor. To combat this, make sure the food you’re feeding your pup doesn’t contain any fillers that cause bad breath, dulled coat, or unpleasant odors. That said, the cause of your dog’s farts may be due to a specific type of food insensitivity on his end (no pun intended).

For instance, your dog could suffer from lactose or gluten intolerant in a manner that’s not too dissimilar to us humans. In that vein, veggies and legumes that are known for causing gas in people have the same effect on our four-legged friends, like asparagus, cabbage, and of course beans. Oatmeal also has a rather notorious reputation for causing gas to develop in pooches.

Other ways you can reduce your puppy’s farts.

Be sure to keep an eye on your puppy and make sure she’s not eating the trash, since it’s a really good way to get digestive problems. Remember, your pup is curious and will have a tendency to indulge that curiosity by picking things up with her mouth. This could include garbage, and if it’s even remotely edible, it may get devoured - much to your eventual chagrin.

If you believe the source of your dog’s odor is stemming from an impacted anal gland, you could express them yourself to potentially alleviate the problem. If this grosses you out, you could have your vet examine your pup, where he or she may prescribe medication to help alleviate the problem. Your vet may also teach you how to do the trick at home if you decide that you think you may have the stomach to do so in the future.

 Could over-the-counter drugs help reduce a dog's stink?

While your vet may write up a prescription for a gas-reducing medication for your pooch, there are also several over-the-counter, or OTC, drugs that can alleviate the problem. A lot of these items can readily be found in a local drug store, so you won’t necessarily have to worry about having to make an out of the way trip to the local pet shop to help out your pooch. Others may not really strike you as a flatulence minimization aid.

Some of the more obvious OTCs are items specifically built to target gas and the digestive materials that cause the toots to occur, such as Gas-X or Beano!. Other substances designed to promote digestive system health, such as zinc or various probiotics, could be effective allies in the fight against farts. And there are some naturopathic substances, such as yucca, that are known to naturally reduce gas.

The right way to exercise.

Lastly, if your puppy is leaving behind an odor, make sure she’s getting enough exercise, whether it’s from playing, running, or walking. Dogs need to move, and lazy dogs tend to be more prone to tummy troubles. It doesn’t have to be strenuous - just a routine, low-impact moderate exercise regiment will do.

And keeping things on the down-low is pretty important. You especially don’t want to push the exercise envelope too far right after your little buddy just downed a large meal. If you wonder why is the case, all you have to do is think about how uncomfortable you may feel trying to exercise when you’d rather be loosening your belt in a post-feast celebration.

And just because farts are funny.

A stinky pup can be a nuisance that can wreak a bunch of havoc with the odor in your home, and it may drive you crazy. If the stink is coming from your dog’s derriere due to breaking wind, however, it can be rather humorous if it’s delivered in the right context.

This video isn't going to help you reduce your puppy's smell at all, but it's related and it'll definitely make you laugh!

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