What to Do If Your Dog Has Unpleasant Odors

Dogs are funny, lovable companions that are great to have around. They are also smelly and oftentimes stink up the house or car with their unpleasant dog smell. While it is possible the odor is because your dog needs to be washed, or they need a bath, there can also be other causes of this odor. The good news is that you can do something about it. Here are some things that you can do if your dog has unpleasant odors:

Heavy metal poisoning.

The first thing to do is to figure out if your dog has heavy metal poisoning. The best way to do this is by taking him in for a blood test. If the results come back positive, see your vet right away and ask them what kind of treatment you should follow.

In addition to these steps, there are some other things you can do to avoid heavy metal poisoning: make sure all of your pet’s food and water bowls are stainless steel or glass instead of plastic; keep any medications out of reach; don’t allow your pet access to any paint or paint thinner; and wash their paws after they’ve been outside playing so that they don’t ingest any dirt containing toxins or chemicals (like antifreeze).

Dental disease.

Dental disease is the most common cause of bad breath in dogs. It can also cause a bad taste in your dog’s mouth and pain while chewing, which may lead to vomiting or refusal to eat. If you notice that your dog has any of these symptoms, you should take him or her to the vet for a checkup.

The signs of dental disease include:

  • Changes in eating habits (e.g., refusing food)
  • Yellowed teeth and gums
  • Staining on the teeth (from plaque accumulation)


Fecal odor is often a sign of a medical condition, such as an upset stomach, so it’s important to speak to your veterinarian. If your dog is eating specific foods that may cause him to have bad gas or stool, he may need to be switched to something else. If you find yourself noticing this unpleasant smell, take note of what he eats and how much exercise he gets each day.

If his feces are hard and dry, this could mean that your dog isn’t getting enough water or fiber in his diet—and could be contributing to the unpleasant odor coming from his rear end!

Ear infections.

Ear infections are another common cause of foul odors. Ear infections can be caused by bacteria, yeast, or mites. A dog with an ear infection will typically have redness and/or swelling around their ears as well as an unpleasant odor coming from them.

If you notice that your dog has any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately. If treated quickly enough, an ear cleaning solution and medication will usually clear up the problem within a week or two. However, if left untreated for too long this condition can lead to serious health issues such as hearing loss or even brain damage in severe cases (if left untreated long enough).

To prevent this from happening again in the future it’s important that you keep your dog’s ears clean at all times—this will help prevent bacteria buildup which could result in another round of ear infections!

Skin infection.

A skin infection is one of the most common causes of unpleasant odors in dogs. It can be caused by bacteria, fungus, or parasites. Skin infections can be treated with antibiotics or antifungal medications. If the cause is a food allergy, your veterinarian may recommend switching to an alternative diet with limited ingredients and no grains. This can help reduce inflammation on your dog’s skin and make him less itchy overall.

Anal gland issues.

Anal gland issues can result in an unpleasant odor. The anal glands are two small glands located on either side of your dog’s anus. When they are full, they produce a foul-smelling substance that can leak out when your dog poops or pees. Anal gland problems are most common in male dogs who have not been neutered yet and older dogs who don’t get enough physical activity.

Vets usually recommend emptying the anal sacs manually to avoid infections and other complications (such as abscesses). If you want to do this yourself at home, wash your hands thoroughly with soap before handling any part of your dog’s body; then gently massage each gland until it opens up into a small pouch filled with fluid that resembles thick toothpaste or pus (depending on how inflamed he is). Pluck out this sample using an old eye makeup brush or cotton swab dipped in mineral oil.*

If you suspect something more serious may be going on—such as cancer—consult a vet immediately so they can rule out other causes for his odor problem first before attempting any treatment plan themselves


Diet can be a factor in unpleasant odors. You should pay attention to the types of food your dog eats and how much he eats, if you have any concerns about his diet.

  • If your dog eats a lot of meat, he may have unpleasant odors. The kinds of meats that are most likely to cause this problem are beef, lamb, venison and duck.
  • If your dog eats a lot of fish, he may have unpleasant odors. The kinds of fish that are most likely to cause this problem are salmon and tuna.
  • If your dog eats a lot of dairy products (meat or cheese), he may have unpleasant odors that come from bacteria thriving on dairy products

After ruling out the serious possibilities, you can try some simple remedies such as a diet change or a bath to address unpleasant odors in your dog.

Before you get your heart set on a diet change or bath, it’s important to rule out any serious causes of odor. If your dog has an unpleasant odor from inside his mouth, he may have dental disease or periodontal disease (a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and damage to the tissues surrounding teeth). If the problem is in his ears, he might have an ear infection. And if it’s coming from below his tail or between her hind legs, it could be something more serious than just unpleasant-smelling poop—it could be a skin infection caused by allergies. But don’t worry: most unpleasant odors aren’t symptoms of anything serious at all!


In short, there are many possible causes of an unpleasant odor in your dog. Be sure to see the vet if you’re worried about a serious condition and address any infections as they arise. Thankfully, most bad odors can be treated with a little extra care on your part!