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The Chew: How to Treat a Smelly Dog

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

By Rae Patterson, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Everyone knows that animals smell like animals and dogs smell like dogs. But does it seem like your dog has a special talent for smelling bad? There are ways to combat and reduce problem smells. Bark + Boarding is here to help you figure out the origin of the odor and what to do about it.

Dogs don’t drip sweat like people do, but their skin does perspire a small amount and it produces oil to keep the skin and coat healthy. This, combined with a dog’s anal glands that carry a personalized scent that tells other dogs about him or her, are responsible for the common doggy smell. And daily dog smell can build up, just like human smell does.

It’s important to bathe and groom your dog regularly; not only for the sake of your nose, but also for the health of your dog’s skin and coat. If your dog swims, lives outdoors, joins you for runs, or has a thick coat, these are all reasons to take your dog to a professional groomer often.

Grooming can make a big difference in how your dog smells by doing more than the average at-home bath to remove dandruff, dirt, and organisms matted in the fur. Bark + Boarding offers full grooming services or individual services for both dogs and cats. See the article How to Deal with Your Dog’s Summer Shedding to learn more about the benefits of grooming.

If your dog is particularly smelly, there may be another cause, besides your dog just being “dirty.” The source of the smell could be internal. Your dog may have dental or stomach issues causing bad breath or gas. Oral health is directly related to the overall health of your dog. Bad teeth can cause a myriad of other health issues, not to mention truly bad breath. For this reason, dogs need regular dental cleaning, the same as humans.

If tooth-brushing is traumatic for your dog or if you prefer to spread out the cost of dental care, you can try daily dental chews like Greenies or Whimzees, and try water additives that work like drinkable mouthwash. Take a look at your dog’s teeth to see if tartar buildup, a cracked tooth or rotting is the cause of your dog’s stench. If the dog’s teeth are in bad shape already, you’ll want to take him to the vet.

If your dog’s gas can clear a room, you can start by trying a different food that has a different protein source or is grain free. You could also try topping your dog’s food with probiotics to see if that helps. If the problem persists, you should see your vet to ensure there aren’t more serious gut issues going on.

One of the most common but least expected causes of overpowering doggy odor is an infection in your dog’s anal glands. It is possible for these glands to become irritated, and your dog may excessively lick or nip at this area if it is bothering him. If you suspect your dog’s unwanted scent is caused anal gland problems, it is always time for a vet visit!

One last possible cause of stink is your dog’s ears. Ear buildup, bacterial infections, or mites can create a strong smell. When checking your dog’s ears, look for excessive wax, moving spots in the ear canal, or any red or painful spots. Particularly if your dog has floppy ears or if your dog swims often, be sure to check your dog’s ears regularly.

Similarly, if your dog suffers from a food allergy he/she can develop a nasty yeast infection in the ears that stinks! If your pup is consistently getting ear infections you might want to speak with your vet about a possible food allergy. There are many ear wipes and fungus treatments available at your local pet store. If the problem is severe, schedule an appointment with your vet.

If you need any supplies or advice while de-scenting your dog, drop by Bark + Boarding where we have the experts and the tools you need!

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