Almost every dog suffers from bad body odor. We have to understand the cause of that bad odor to get rid of it.
Whenever I think of bad odor in the dog I get reminded of Shakira the pug. Every time she walks into our pet clinic in Ranchi we try not throwing up. Shakira used to smell like shit or urine. The owners tried everything whatever the vets in town advised but the effects were only temporary.
On skin scraping test and cellophane test I noticed superficial pyoderma in Shakira due to yeast infection, prescribed cephalexin, changed from carbohydrate-rich diet to protein-rich diet, applied Epi-soothe and Ketochlor Shampoo and Shakira smelling like a rose in two months. Yes, two months is long but it takes time to heal skin problems.
This is not an isolated case but I have treated many such cases.
Now, let's understand dog odor, from where it comes and what can be done to cure.
Puppy body odor
Cause- Bad smell in puppies comes from urine. Our little pups love to roll themselves a bit in urine. Sometimes, they do not drink enough water and their urine becomes turbid. Then, their body becomes smelly too.
They smell like urine.
Cure- Let them drink enough water if they do not like to drink water, add some chicken flavored additives in water and they will certainly love drinking water.
Wrong feeding can be smelly too
food rich in carbohydrate encourages yeast growth in the skin. This is more true for sedentary dogs. dogs that do not go out often. such as the pug, chihuahuas, poodle etc. The dog yeasty wet dog smell is usually caused by feeding dry kibble which is low nutrition, too high in carbs so this food feeds the yeast which causes yeast overgrowth in the skin and ears, and they stink when wet, and some the yeast is so bad, they even smell when they dry.
Cure- Stop feeding dry kibble and stop feeding canned pasteurized food. This cheap processed food causes yeast overgrowth which makes your dog stink wet and when really bad, your dog will even stink when dry.
Switch to either dehydrated raw with veggies, cook your own. You may get an idea from here. Look for raw pet food with NO HPP, No pressurization, as the pressure kills the nutrients and enzymes, which would defeat the point in feeding raw.
Stinky Smelly pugs
Pet owners complaints their pug smells like urine. This urine smell is due to yeast infection. Pugs skin has numerous folds, though we love their folds, it is actually these folds that cause trouble, bacteria and fungi make their home inside these folds.
Cure- The shampoo becomes useless because shampoo or drug in it don't go inside these folds. This is why I generally prescribe a proper antifungal drug or antibacterial drug along with the shampoo. Of course, a protein-rich diet is also necessary. I saw some tips on the internet telling to rub white vinegar on their body, never do that. Dog skin is slightly alkaline, rubbing vinegar shall make their skin acidic and this aggravates your dog's bad odor problems.
Bad odor due to anal glands
dogs and cats have anal glands that are located on either side of the anus.
Each time the animal defecates, the pressure of the stool causes the glands to release their noxious contents. This enables the dog or cat, to leave their personal calling card on the poo! So, when I say noxious - I mean an ungodly odor, that you will not forget. It's potent and difficult to eradicate (clean, spray, ventilate, repeat).
Sometimes, dogs and cats cannot discharge the glands normally and they can become impacted and or infected. This could be a source of the odor.
Cure- Simple emptying the anal glands solves the problem. If the gland is infected a proper antibiotic will be given by your vet or surgical draining may be done, but that's pretty rare.
Dog odor due to infected urine.
This is when urine smell is due to an infection in the urine.
The most likely reason could be a urinary infection. Causes of a urinary tract infection can vary widely, from diabetes to bladder stones, just to name a few. The urine may appear cloudy and have a fetid/rotten odor.
Cure- The dog will need to be seen by a vet and a urinalysis performed. The doctor will be able to obtain a sterile sample for you. Other diagnostics may need to be done and antibiotics to treat the infection.
Dehydration also, causes urine to have a stronger odor and darker color. So, ensure the dog has access to plenty of clean drinking water and is not vomiting or having diarrhea, which causes dehydration.
Did your wife complained about that nasty smell in your urine!
My wife does.
Male dogs that are "intact" (not neutered / still have testicles) produce stronger urine due to the release of hormones. They also, urinate everywhere, to mark their territory.
Dog odor due to the ear infection
Ears can be tricky, an ear infection can be yeast, bacterial or mites.
Dogs don't get ear infections the way we do, for them, it's a secondary problem. The most common cause is ear anatomy (poor air circulation, making the ear hot and damp) and allergies.
Once you have the infection dealt with you may want to groom any excessive hair around the ear - and especially in the ear if there is any - and get in the habit of airing her ears out daily by turning them inside out for a while (if they are floppy ears).
Cure- Get a cotton tip (Q-tip) and gently run it around the opening to the ear (never insert the tip in to the ear) what happens is the mites create this brown mess that's what smells so awful (and is ear mites) in fact if you have a small little finger you can run this around the ear opening too but make sure that its clean before and after!
If this does not help, contact a vet, 'cause ear mites and yeast infection cause brown wax formation.
Besides these, there are many other causes of bad odor. Such as Atopic dermatitis or food allergy might be the primary cause and bad odor may be caused by secondary bacterial infection. Some dogs are born with severely itchy skin. I didn't discuss those here, better leave those problems to your vet.