Five Things that Cause an Increase in Canine Body Odor

Five common things that often cause an increase in a dog's body odor and how to treat them.

All dogs have some degree of body odor but if a dog begins to suffer from an excessive, unpleasant smell the owner should consider taking the pet to the veterinarian to determine the exact cause of the odor. A strong body smell is often one of the first symptoms of a serious underlying condition.

Some forms of cancer, mange, endocrine disorders, Cushings syndrome or parasites may cause an increase in body odor and will require prompt treatment by a veterinarian.

Here is a list of five common disorders that commonly cause canine body odor:

Yeast Infection

A yeast infection of the dog's skin folds or ears will cause the dog to smell unpleasant. A veterinarian may prescribe medication to place in the dog's ears or an ointment to apply to the infected skin folds. Yeast infections often occur from food or environmental allergies. A weakened immune system from aging or disease can also predispose the dog to ongoing yeast infections. Determining the underlying cause of the infection will help prevent it from reoccurring.

Impacted Anal Glands

A veterinarian will exam the dog from head to tail in order to locate the exact cause of the odor. Impacted anal glands often produce a strong odor from the hindquarters. A veterinarian may have to expel the contents of the gland to make the unpleasant odor go away.


A sudden change in the dog's diet can also cause an allergic skin reaction to occur that might make the dog's body smell unpleasant. Consider changing the dog's food to see if the skin condition clears up and the odor is removed.

Aging and Oil Production

As a dog ages the oil glands within its skin can produce an excessive amount of oily buildup which may make the dog's odor smell stronger, especially when the pooch gets wet or excited. Regular bathing with medicated shampoos may help reduce the unpleasant odor. Dogs bred specifically for water sports often have a stronger body odor than other dogs due to the extra oil that helps to insulate its fur from the water. Most dogs benefit from a bath once per month to maintain the pet's coat and keep its odor down.

Dental Disorders

A dog may also have bad breath due to an infected tooth or gum disease. Regular dental cleanings can help reduce the strong, often pungent doggy breath. Dogs also have the notorious habit of consuming cat box waste or other fecal matter that it finds outdoors. Keep the dog away from such unpleasant substances. If the dog does consume them consider brushing the dog's teeth thoroughly to help remove the odor particles.

When bathing the dog do not forget to also wash its collar and bedding. The buildup up of oily debris on the pooch's collar or bedding can produce a strong and often unpleasant odor.

Keep the dog's outside area picked up and clean. Dogs enjoy rolling in unpleasant odors. Keep the dog away from cow or horse manure so it cannot roll in the substances. Unfortunately, many dogs also have the habit of seeking out dead things and rolling across them. Look over the dog's area closely to make sure that there are no dead squirrels or other small animals that the dog might be compelled to roll on.

All dogs have some degree of odor but its a small price to pay for the animal's love and devotion. With regular maintenance the dog's odor can be controlled and even eliminated.