Smelly Skin

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6 Reasons Why a Dog Smells Bad

No one ever said your dog would qualify for the ‘best smelling’ award, but there are times when a normal smell gives way to a malodorous one. Dog smells are a common concern we hear about. What can an owner do beyond giving them a bath?

First, a smelly dog has a reason for their stench. That is why figuring out the cause must come before the treatment.

    Atopy – Dogs who suffer from environmental allergies will often have skin conditions. Atopy can create not only dryness but also hives, inflammation, scabbing, discharge, and other problems that cause odor. If your dog has been scratching excessively, or biting at the skin and paws, they may be dealing with allergies.

Ear infection – Most dogs will have a slight musty or yeasty smell in their ears, and this usually can be remedied by cleaning them regularly. But if the smell is intense or foul, it may be a sign of an ear infection. Not only are ear infections painful, they are also a serious issue that must be treated right away to avoid hearing loss and damage to the ear canal.

Halitosis – Many dogs have unpleasant or bad breath. This is unfortunate because halitosis is due to periodontal disease or other dental diseases that are common among pets. In fact, up to 85% of all cats and dogs over the age of 3 have some form of dental disease.

Gas – Yes, that’s right, some pets are more prone to gaseous outbursts which may have something to do with that smell. Stomach gurgling, passing gas, burping, etc. can occur if your pet has ingested something that is hard to digest, such as people food. If your pet has more flatulence than normal, it could have something to do with what they’re eating or underlying food allergy, or something like inflammatory bowel disease.

Environment – If your pet has been outside, they have been exposed to all of the scents on the ground. Many pets enjoy rolling around on these scents, much to our chagrin. Naturally, if your pet has been traipsing through mud, murky water, and other places, they will bring home some of these bad odors. A good bath with help solve the problem of phew.

  • Poor grooming – If your pet is older or not in good health, they may stop self-grooming. This is especially true of older cats. Without the occasional bath, your pet will develop that doggie or kittie smell that is as a result of a buildup of oils, dander, etc.
  • My Pet Stinks…

    If your pet doesn’t smell like they should, we encourage you to make an appointment. Some of the issues presented above can be resolved through good grooming, but infection and other more serious health concerns need to be treated with urgency.

    For more information about pet odors, or to schedule an appointment with our friendly, compassionate team, please call us.

    Could Yeast Infection Be Responsible For Your Chronically Itchy Dog?

    Many pet owners know vaguely about yeast infection, but most do not know what causes it. Some dog owners assume that their pet just has a stinky doggy smell and they assume it is natural. In reality, there could be a reason for the smell and it may be yeast overgrowth.

    Yeast is a type of fungi that reproduces or develops through a process of budding where parts of the organism’s cell body separate and form new yeast organisms. Yeast infections are quite common in dogs and they form on skin and ears.

    What may be considered a normal yeast amount can become an infection as the organism reproduces uncontrollably. As yeast reproduction grows out of control, the organisms usually invade and move to areas on the dog’s body or skin that are beyond where they are normally found and they do so in larger numbers. It is important to know that yeast is opportunistic and the organisms flourish when the pet is not in healthy or perfect condition.

    Symptoms of a yeast infection

    The most common yeast infection location is the dog’s ears but the infection can occur elsewhere on the dog’s skin. This means that it can appear on skin folds and wrinkles, between the toes and even in the armpits. At the very least, a dog that has a yeast infection feels quite uncomfortable. This discomfort can be anything from mild to terrible depending on the situation. Most dogs with yeast issues become extremely itchy on the area of the infection. If the problem is on the paws, ears or back, it can lead to desperate scratching or chewing that can cause significant pain and trauma.

    The distinctive odor

    Apart from the itching, smell can offer a good indication of a yeast infection. Yeast has a distinctive odor that is often described as being similar to cheese popcorn, moldy bread or corn chips. In some cases, the musty, pungent and unpleasant smell can be quite overpowering. Most pet owners become accustomed to the smell and sometimes they do not realize that their dog has a problem. Many vets can identify a dog with a yeast infection the moment the stinky pet comes through the door. A visit to a Tarrytown, NY veterinary hospital can help to ensure that your dog remains healthy.

    Areas of skin irritation

    Other signs of yeast infection include skin irritation, inflammation and redness, especially around the toes, feet pads, ears, nasal and facial skin folds. The irritation can also occur in and around the anus, on the neck, under the armpits, and on the tail base. The infection can cause hair loss, a greasy coat and oily or scaly skin. Some severe or chronic yeast infections can cause raised scaly skin patches or skin that thickens and darkens. There may also be additional bacterial infection or a thick yellow, foul-smelling discharge coming from the ears.

    Yeast infection can cause behavior changes due to the pain and itching. This means that your beloved pet can experience appetite loss, depression, aggression and anxiety. Getting help for your pet will help to prevent the overwhelming discomfort.

    Smelly Dog Woes

    Is your dog a little on the nose lately? Nadia Crighton chats with Specialist Veterinary Dermatologist Dr Linda Vogelnest, from the Small Animal and Specialist Hospital to discover why some dogs smell and how to tell if your dog’s coat is in need of some attention. Plus learn the age-old question why does a wet dog always smell like a wet dog, even when clean?

    Let’s face it, at some point or another our dogs positively stink! Whether it’s due to a dip in the ocean, a roll in something less desirable, or because of a looming allergy. Keeping tabs on our pet’s coat and skin health and smell is vital. Not only for our noses, but also for the quality and comfort levels of your pet. An itchy allergic dog is not a happy dog. A good coat is also a good indication that everything is OK with your pet regarding nutrition and health.

    Interestingly dogs can also get sweaty! Not in the way we two-legged variety sweats, in fact, a canine’s main sweat gland produces oily secretions to keep their coats healthy rather than producing watery solutions to keep them cool. It’s these secretions that can be rather smelly.

    “There are lots of potential causes, but more often smelly coats relate to overgrowth of bacteria and yeast on the skin surface, which is more common in dogs with allergies,” Dr Vogelnest says. “Some dogs with allergies have no infections, but very active sweat glands. With allergies, these glands can be over-active, and the oils produced are often smelly.”

    Signs of a Healthy Coat

    • Shiny and glossy appearance
    • Thick and luscious in most areas
    • Skin should be smooth and supple
    • No sore spots on skin or open hotspots
    • No flakes or irritation
    • No pungent odour
    • No itchy spots

    “Many dogs with allergies and skin problems are itchy, so that’s often the first sign,” Dr Vogelnest says. “Then variable areas of hair loss, redness, and other lesions occur (‘dermatitis’). A dull coat that has lost its shine suggests there could be health problems, or sometimes it’s dietary deficiencies e.g. low fatty acids from longer term low-fat diets.”

    It is also a good idea to periodically check your pet’s skin and coat for any sore spots, hair loss and inflammation. If you suspect your dog’s coats is not in good condition, a trip to the vet is important to ensure you get on top of any allergies and problems. Dr Vogelnest is quick to remind owners that thicker skin with more wrinkles and darker colour occurs when there is chronic inflammation.

    “Dog’s with skin problems that are smelly, and especially itchy, will often have secondary bacterial or yeast infections, and the itch can reduce markedly if these are accurately diagnosed and effectively treated,” Dr Vogelnest suggests. “Checking with a local vet interested in skin disease, or with a veterinary dermatologist for problem cases, maximizes the chances of effective diagnosis and treatment to help reduce smell and increase comfort for dogs and owners!”

    What Causes Foul Odors in Dogs?

    There can be many reasons why a dog has a foul odor. Sometimes a bath may be all that a dog needs but other times veterinary attention is necessary to fix the source of the smell.

    • Ear infections: Some of the most common pet insurance claims are for ear infections in dogs so the ears are also likely sources of unpleasant odors. Ear infections can either contain yeast or bacteria and both types of infection are malodorous. Simple ear debris will often not have an odor to them like infected ears will have. So if you notice an unusual odor or debris in your pets ears, or they are scratching at them, it may be time to see your veterinarian.  
    • Skin infections: The skin is a natural barrier to infection and when it is compromised, infection is possible. There are several reasons why a dog's skin may be compromised, resulting in a skin infection. Allergies, hormonal imbalances, fungal infections, external parasites, inflammation, wounds, bleeding tumors, and other skin issues can cause bacteria and yeast on the skin's surface to take hold and produce foul odors. Your veterinarian can perform tests to identify the type of infection or the underlying cause of the infection through blood work or directly sampling the skin. Medicated shampoos, antibiotics, and other treatments are usually required to combat these causes of odor.
    • Dental disease: Bad breath is difficult to ignore, especially in a dog that regularly licks your face. If bacteria is left to cause dental disease, foul odors will soon follow.   Dental disease can also lead to infection in other organs such as the heart and kidneys. Regular teeth brushing and professional dental cleanings at your local veterinary hospital are typically necessary to keep bad breath and tooth decay away.
    • Skunk spray: This distinct smell only comes from one source. If your dog has been sprayed by a skunk it will need a special bath to get rid of the smell.
    • Rolling in something smelly: Dogs love to roll around in smelly things but it results in a smelly dog. If your dog has been having a little too much fun outside in the yard, a simple bath will undo this damage.
    • Dirty water: If your dog has recently been swimming in dirty water, an unpleasant odor might linger even after your dog has dried. If this occurs, it's time for a shampoo!
    • Gas: Dogs occasionally experience flatulence and unfortunately we have to smell it. But what causes this gas? Digestive upset from dietary changes like a new food or treat, eating something in the yard, medications, and even just stress can result in some noxious fumes coming from your dog's hind end. Bland diets, probiotics, and decreasing stress may help with this issue. Talk with your veterinarian if the the amount of gas seems abnormal or it coincides with other symptoms such as diarrhea.
    • Anal gland issues: Anal glands are two small sacs in the rectum of dogs that contain foul smelling liquid that is used in scent marking in the wild. Dogs will naturally express their glands if they are defecating or sometimes when scared. If a dog expresses its glands, a very unpleasant odor will sometimes remain. A good bath can easily clean this up, thankfully.
    • Internal organ disease: Some diseases that affect the internal organs of a dog can result in bad breath. Both kidney failure and diabetes can give your dog an unusual bad breath.   These diseases often also cause your pet to feel unwell, eat less, and be less active. If these issues are noticed, contact your veterinarian right away.

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