Why Does My Dog Smell? How to Help a Stinky Dog?

You know that your dog has a unique smell if you’re a dog person. And if your dog happens to be stinky, it can be pretty tough to deal with. But don’t worry—we’re here to help! We will outline why dogs smell and offer some tips on how to help a stinky dog. We’ve got you covered, from the best dog grooming products to seeking help from professionals. So read on to find out exactly what you need to know.

Do you have a specific question about the reasons why your dog might smell? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

Why Do Dogs Smell?

Let’s be honest. Dogs can smell bad. Sometimes it’s that “wet dog” smell; other times, it might be more of an icky-roll-out-the-trashcan smell. And if your dog smells bad, you may, unfortunately, smell bad too (sorry!). But don’t worry. You can do many things to help your dog smell fresh and clean. And the first step is to figure out why your dog smells terrible in the first place. Here are a few of the most common reasons your dog might be smelly: 

Dental Problems 

According to research, dog dental issues affect up to 80% of dogs over three years old. Unfortunately, they’re all too common due to the lack of education for pet owners on how to properly brush their dog’s teeth. If your dog has dental problems, their breath will likely be smelly. This is because the bacteria in their mouth is causing an infection. Unfortunately, dental issues can also lead to other health problems. So it’s essential to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect they might have an issue.

Anal Gland Issues 

 Believe it or not, dogs have two tiny sacs located near their anus that contain a foul-smelling fluid. These are called anal glands, and they’re vital for your dog’s health. However, if these glands become full or infected, they can cause your dog much discomfort and make them smell bad. If your dog is scraping their bottom along the ground, they will need to have these glands expressed by a professional unless you learn how to do so yourself.

Skin Conditions 

 Dogs can get skin conditions just like humans, which often leads to a bad smell. Skin conditions can be caused by allergies, bacteria, or even parasites. If you think your dog might have a skin condition, it’s important to take them to the vet or dog dermatologist to get the proper treatment.


 Believe it or not, what your dog eats can affect how they smell. For example, if your dog’s diet lacks specific nutrients, it can lead to skin and coat problems that make them smell bad. Conversely, if your dog eats food that’s high in fat or grease, it can also lead to an unpleasant smell.


Canine flatulence, aka dog farts, is a particular classification of bad smell that can quickly clear a room. While flatulence is normal for dogs (and humans!), it can be a sign of a bigger problem if your dog is farting more than usual. Dietary issues, such as food allergies or intolerance, are the most common causes of excessive flatulence.

Ear Infections 

 Ear infections are another common health problem in dogs, and they can often be the cause of a bad smell. Ear infections occur when there’s an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast in the ear canal. This can lead to a foul odor and itching, redness, and swelling. Suppose you have a breed especially prone to ear infections, like cocker spaniels or poodles. In that case, it’s essential to be especially vigilant about cleanings and check-ups.

How to get rid of dog smell? 

Now that we’ve gone over some of the most common reasons your dog might smell foul let’s talk about how you can help them.

Find the Reason

The first step is to figure out what’s causing the problem. This can be challenging, but it’s important to rule out any medical conditions first. Once you’ve ruled out any health problems, you can look at other possible causes like diet or grooming.

Address Health Issues  

If your dog has medical issues, it’s time to take care of them. In the case of dental problems, you’ll need to take them to the vet for teeth cleaning. If they have an anal gland issue, your vet or qualified groomer can help express the glands. If it’s a skin condition, your dog will likely need medicated shampoo and/or other treatments or allergy relief for dogs.  

If their diet is the problem, you may need to switch up their food. These are possible with a little due diligence, advice from a qualified vet, and patience. Keep in mind that you must wait to see if the changes make a difference.

Give Them a Bath 

If you’ve ruled out medical problems as a source of your dog’s stinkiness, it may be time for a more straightforward approach. Occasionally, your dog simply needs a good bath. Use a dog-specific shampoo that won’t dry out their skin. You should also avoid using human shampoo, as this can be harsh on your dog’s skin. 

If your dog is particularly stinky, you may need to bathe them more often. However, be careful not to overdo it, as this can also dry out their skin and lead to other problems. Talk to your vet or groomer if you’re unsure how often to bathe your dog.

Tend to Their Other Grooming Needs 

Proper grooming is important for all dogs, but it’s vital for those with long hair or double coats. These coats can trap dirt, dust, and other debris, leading to an unpleasant smell. Make sure to brush your dog regularly to remove any buildup, and don’t forget to get their underside, too.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, we have helped you understand the possible causes of your dog’s smell and, more importantly, how to help them. There are many ways to combat doggy odor, but it starts with understanding what may be causing the problem in the first place. Then you can take steps to correct it, whether that means switching up their food, adding some dog supplements to their diet, or simply giving them a good bath. We hope your pup smells better soon.

Thanks for the blog graphics: Canva.com

Thanks for the blog graphics: Canva.com

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