Why Do Some Dogs Smell More Than Others?

Why Do Some Dogs Smell More Than Others?

Why Do Some Dogs Smell Worse Than Others?

While not all dogs have a strong odor, some definitely smell worse than others.

Allergies, hormonal imbalances, fungus, parasites and localized inflammation can lead to an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria on the skin and cause an unpleasant smell (think frito/popcorn feet). Your dog’s discomfort will lead to excessive scratching and licking which causes localized trauma to the normal skin barrier and can cause a secondary bacterial infection. A secondary bacterial infection worsens the odor even more so. Any unpleasant smell to your dog’s skin should be brought to your vet’s attention before it progresses into something damaging.


Seasonal & food allergies can cause inflammation of the skin which leads to excessive secretion of oil from certain glands in the skin. Allergic reactions actually change the immune chemistry of the skin and microbes can grow more easily. Dog odor happens when bacteria and yeast normally found on the skin start to break down surface oils creating a musty smell. Diet definitely contributes to this condition. High carbohydrates and processed foods metabolize as sugar which feeds the yeast.

In 25 to 35 percent of odor-related cases seen in small-animal practices are related to skin and ear problems , and during warmer months, that number jumps to about 50 percent  when fleas proliferate and allergies to pollens and house-dust flare up.


Dogs that have overlapping folds in the skin, (think bulldog, sharpeis, pugs, some mastiffs, etc.) can retain too much moisture and microorganisms resulting in the buildup of infection-causing bacteria. Skin folds require consistent cleaning to keep them dry and odor free. If your dog’s skin appears irritated, red or smelly around the folds, he may already have dermatitis or an infection. 


Over-bathing in an attempt to fend off the stink can strip the natural moisture barrier of the skin. Veterinarians say this will cause the skin to dry out and crack, leaving openings for bacteria and sickness to enter.


Canine seborrhea, is a condition that, when not controlled, results in a musty, sort-of stinky cheese smell due to the buildup of sebum and yeast on his skin. Primary seborrhea is an inherited skin disorder. Because of heavier sebaceous gland secretion in American Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, Basset Hounds, West Highland White Terriers, Dachshunds, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, it’s more frequently seen in these breeds. Among dogs with seborrhea, there is usually a family history of the disorder, suggesting genetic factors are involved. The disease begins at a young age (usually less than 18 to 24 months) and progresses throughout the dog’s life. Secondary seborrhea can be caused by underlying conditions, such as flea or food allergies, hormonal disorders, external parasites, ringworm or nutritional disorders. Seborrhea causes excessive scaling, crusting or oiliness and is often accompanied by pus filled inflammation, infection and hair loss.  


You may have to use medicated shampoo prescribed from the vet. PetPotion sprays also help with the in between stink. 

In many cases, vets prescribe Omgea 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and E to help keep Seborrhea in check. Whatever is happening inside the body will show on the outside. We believe it’s important to pay attention to what you’re putting IN and ON our pets!



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