Why Do Dogs Smell Bad? – 12 Possible Reasons Your Dog Stinks

No matter how much we love our furry friends, they can smell pretty bad at times. Of course, it is never fun to cuddle with a smelly dog, even though you would love nothing more than to do that.

So, where is that stinky scent coming from?

Have you wondered why do dogs smell bad?

While most of the time it is something as simple as their breed or the hygiene routine, it can be as complicated as severe health issues or allergies.

Either way, let’s take a deeper look right away!

Why Do Dogs Smell Bad?

Here are the main reasons why an average dog might have an unpleasant smell:

#1 – They have oily skin.

Dogs naturally produce oils (sebum) which are secreted by the sebaceous glands. These oils act as lubricants, defend against bacteria and fungi, and waterproof their fur.

Sometimes, due to seasonal or food allergies, your dog might start producing more oil than usual. Increased oil secretion usually leads up to some pretty nasty smell around the house.

Additionally, when dogs lick themselves, these oils can mix with saliva to create an odor that is not very pleasant, as you may know.

#2 – They get dirty fast.

Since dogs are naturally inclined to be physically active, they’ll often get sweaty and dirty during the day.

That’s why it is important to bathe your dog regularly, even though they might not always smell as clean as right after the bath. However, please don’t overdo it, as you can make things worse. Once in three months or so will do perfectly fine.

In the meantime, you can make sure to brush your dog regularly, removing any dirt or stinky goo in the process.

A dirty dog that smells bad.

#3 – Their diet doesn’t help either.

Dogs who eat a diet high in simple carbohydrates will have a worse smelling breath than dogs who eat healthy foods with lots of fiber.

In addition, their fur can develop an unpleasant odor from being exposed to these excess carbs for too long.

In other words, if you want your dog’s scent to be pleasant all the time, take them on daily walks and feed them a low-carb diet. It takes some effort, but it’s definitely worth it.

#4 – They have skin problems.

One of the most common reasons why dogs might start smelling bad is when their skin becomes irritated or when they get an infection in one part of their body.

If your pup has dry, flaky skin or flakes are collected near his tail, they could be getting a yeast infection. This causes them to secrete extra oil that makes him smell horrible for weeks at a time.

If your dog is suffering from allergies, it’s not only the bad smell that makes them feel uncomfortable. You will also notice some other side effects like reddish eyes, itchiness, and even sneezing.

Related: ‘Why is My Dog Sneezing?’ – The 7 Most Common Reasons

#5 – Some breeds just stink!

Certain dog breeds naturally have stronger scents than others because they’re used to being around humans and how much sebum they produce.

Breeds with short noses tend to have more oily fur, so you might notice them smelling pretty bad on a more regular basis.

On the other hand, breeds with long noses can have dryer skin, which isn’t an issue on its own, but might make them more vulnerable to skin infections.

Some dog breeds smell more than others.

#6 – They have smelly feet.

One more reason your dog might smell bad is that they have an unpleasant body odor, and the most common place where this might occur is on their paws.

If you notice that your pup’s foot smells like corn chips (or worse), it could be because they walked through something that messed up their pH balance.

It would be best if you washed your pet’s paws with water to clean them properly after each outdoor walk.

#7 – Their ears stink.

Dogs might develop unpleasant smells in their ears for a variety of reasons, and one of them is the wax buildup.

If the wax builds up inside your dog’s ear canal, bacteria will start feeding on it and thus creating smelly toxins. You should clean your pet’s ears regularly to prevent this situation from happening.

Ear infections are also a common reason for the bad smell. You will know that your pup has an infection when you notice some smelly liquids coming out from their ear or if they are shaking their head often to try to stop the pain and itching.

The best way to solve this problem is by taking your dog to the vet because you might harm your furry friend if you try to clean their ears yourself without knowing how.

#8 – They have bad breath.

Some dogs are blessed with fresh, minty breath (sort of) that would make anyone jealous, but others are not so lucky.

For instance, if your dog has gobbled up something really stinky, like garbage or their own poop, they might end up having an unpleasant taste in their mouth for hours.

However, sometimes bad breath results from poor dental hygiene, which you can prevent by regularly brushing your pet’s teeth.

Related: How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth – 4 Easy Tips for Best Results

#9 – Something is wrong with their anal glands.

Dogs might start producing smelly odors from how they eliminate the waste and release the liquid from their anal glands (by doing a wiggle dance).

When this fluid mixes up with your pup’s feces, you should expect a repulsive smell, usually reminding people of fish.

If you notice this problem, it’s better to take your dog to the vet and have their anal glands emptied professionally. Make sure never to try doing it yourself because you can hurt them really bad that way!

We have written an entire article on the topic, so make sure to check it out below!

Related: Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fish? – Causes & Treatments

A gassy dog stinking.

#10 – They might be gassy.

There are many reasons why your dog might be gassy, from how they eat to how they behave.

One way how you can stop this from happening is by not feeding them anything from your dinner table and not giving them any human food at all. This includes things like chocolate or raisins, which could kill a pup if they eat too much of them.

Some dog breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs, naturally fart more than other breeds. This is because of how they intake a lot of air while eating because of their facial structure.

In any case, if your pet starts passing wind more often than usual, you should take them to the vet and ask for advice there because you might need to change their diet.

#11 – Bacterial and fungal infections.

Bacterial infections may be the reason for the foul odor, and it’s even a sign that your dog is not well.

If you notice an unusually bad smell coming from your furry friend, take him to the vet immediately to err on the side of caution.

Also, it may be a fungal infection that causes this awful scent. Many other side effects of this type of infection are irritation on paws or belly, itching skin along with rashes, and even hair loss.

In these circumstances, you should know that this is a serious health concern and needs to be taken care of immediately.

#12 – They may have parasites.

The bad dog smell can also be due to parasites. This is an infestation on your dog’s body that results in the discharge of pus accompanied by fever. The discharge has a potent, putrid odor.

You should do a complete check-up of your dog and find out what the cause is. 

If you notice that it’s just your dog’s mouth that smells bad, in most cases, this smell comes from rotten teeth or gum problems. It may be severe!


Several different reasons can be behind a bad smell in dogs.

If you notice the odor, make sure to investigate your dog’s lifestyle and how they behave because there may be something wrong with them!

Now, let’s hear it from you:

Did you manage to find out where does your dog’s bad smell come from?

Let us know in the comments below!