Help! My Old Dog Smells Bad

A smelly old dog is taking a bath to help eliminate the odor.

Even if you don’t live with a dog, or never have, you could probably still identify with their distinct stink. Sure, puppies have that sort of sweet-smelling funk to them, but it often wears off as they grow up. Dogs might not always smell, but they can give off a fetid odor as they paw through old age.

What Stinkiness Means

It’s true: dogs can be a bit gross sometimes. They sure don’t distinguish between feces, grass, mud, or garbage. Instead, they seem to really enjoy all the olfactory pleasures that come with canine territory, even if it means we must pinch our noses every once in a while. 

As dogs age, they tend to get into less trouble. Eventually, they’ll prefer their warm, cozy bed to trolling through brackish ponds. If your old dog smells all of a sudden, it’s worth having them checked out. Why? Because foul smells can be caused by or related to many possible health conditions. The longer you wait to investigate, the worse symptoms can become.

Where’s It Coming From?

You might get a general blast of stinkiness from your smelly dog, making it hard to figure out which part of their body the smell emanates from. In this case, we encourage you to look closely at their skin. Do you notice any inflammation that might signal an infection of some sort (fungal, bacterial or parasitic)? Check the ears for any signs of a nasty smell caused by yeast. 

Also worth noting, allergies can cause dry skin, itchiness, and a slightly musty smell.

Checking the Bum

Few pet owners jump at the chance to look at their old dog’s rear end, but that questionable aroma could definitely be the result of impacted or infected anal glands. This can be effectively treated if seen right away. 

Let’s be clear: dogs pass gas. Sometimes, they toot a lot. Supplementing their diet could relieve this symptom, and should be addressed with your senior dog’s veterinarian. Digestion issues can be related to many issues and really benefit from medical care and diagnostics

Old dog smells can also be explained by incontinence. It’s not always noticeable at first, but some dogs leak urine or suffer from softer stools. As your senior dog ages, their symptoms can worsen.

Old Dog Smells

Doggy breath is certainly common, but that doesn’t mean it should be accepted as normal. In fact, foul-smelling breath can be seen as the first stage of periodontal disease. If it’s been a while since you brushed your dog’s teeth, or had them professionally examined, cleaned, treated, and X-rayed, this is the perfect time to get it scheduled

Also, when a dog licks their skin and fur with stinky breath, they can actually transfer some of the rank oral bacteria directly onto themselves. 

Speaking of funky breath, did you know that diabetes can cause a fruity, sweetish breath? We highly recommend scheduling an appointment for your dog when you experience this telltale sign.

Sweet, Stinky Senior

If you’ve noticed a spike in stink as your old dog walks by or snuggles on you, please call us at (916) 737-5670. Our team at East Sacramento Veterinary Center is always here for your dog.