Why does my dog smell? How can I fix it?
A smelly dog, huh? Well, that’s not fun. Let’s help you with some advice on making your dog smell better.
It’s very normal for your dog to get a bit dirty or smelly, especially if they love rolling in dirt or swimming in the creek; you know... just being dogs.
Kinds of smells:
But some smells in dogs can be a concern as an off-putting smell from dogs usually indicates a skin issue. Some symptoms to look out for are:5
- Hot spots
- Hair loss
- Scaling or dryness
- Your pet excessively scratches or bites its paws (observe your dog for any other unusual behaviour).
- Shaking its head, possibly a sign of an ear infection.
Any of these issues need to be examined and diagnosed by your vet because, if severe, it will need to be treated to alleviate pain and ward off infection.5
Paws that smell like corn chips:
For example, quite a few people claim to smell corn chips from their dogs’ paws! The corn chip smell is also known as a yeast infection, picked up from outside bacteria. It is harmless to us humans and dogs. However, when the bacteria mixes with sweat or salvia due to the pet licking its paws, it adds moisture and creates a trap for the odour.5,6,7
How to fix corn chip-smelling paws:
A simple solution can be to wash their paws or wipe them with a damp cloth after a walk.6 If they have extra smelly paws and are willing, you can let them soak their paws in soapy water (from dog shampoo only, of course) for 30 seconds to 1 minute each paw. Make sure you dry in between those toes thoroughly, though! A great and natural shampoo that we love is from Shy Tiger, that you can check out here! Plus, it is a shampoo bar, which means it is equivalent to approximately 3 plastic bottles of shampoo, and we love being kind to the earth!
In general, here are some tips on how to help your dog smell better.
Dogs with many overlapping folds tend to retain too much moisture, resulting in the build-up of infection.8 So those with Pugs and various breeds of bulldogs etc. need to keep an extra eye on their pup’s skin, and it is always important to talk to your vet to achieve healthy skin folds!
However, a good place to always start is washing your dog, but we recommend only doing it every 3 months because washing your dog too often can dry out their skin or cause skin irritation.1 When you are giving a bath to your pup, we recommend using natural or organic shampoo for dogs.2 There is no need for harsh chemicals because they will strip away their essential oils. Shampoos with tea-tree or citrus are best for fighting a bad smell.1
Although it can be hard to remember, brushing your pet’s fur is actually very important. Doing this at least 2-5 times a week will help distribute their natural oils, get rid of dead fur and limit shedding.1 So, put that vacuum away!
It only makes sense, right? Your pups coming home from a long play in the dog park; who knows what they have carried back home, duck poo? Check. Mud? Check. Keeping his bed clean is just as important as cleaning them!
Diet sometimes comes as a surprise for pet parents, and it can affect how your dog smell. Have you ever heard of the “you are what you eat?” Well, there’s some truth to it! Canine Nutritionist, Narelle Cooke, famously says, “good health starts in the gut”.3 If you want your dog to shine on the outside, they must shine on the inside too.
A highly processed diet can cause the microbiome in the stomach lining to weaken. The toxins from the food then flood into the bloodstream, which is what causes the inflammation of the skin. We also know this to be called a leaky gut.3
Why food affects gut health?
Here is how having higher quality food can benefit the gut:
- High-quality bioavailable animal protein which is a more species-appropriate, whole food diet. This means fewer synthetic additives, less processed foods and less sugars.
- Anti-inflammatory ingredients such as salmon, eggs, flaxseeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds are a dream for the skin!
- Pre-and probiotics to strengthen the integrity of the gut, support immune function and promote overall health and wellbeing.3
Feeding your dog, a healthier, more natural diet can help support their immune system by making it stronger! Which in turn will help their skin condition, and then, of course… yes, you guessed it, getting rid of that bad smell!
- Don’t go crazy with spray-on fragrances. It is only a temporary fix; you will not get to the source of the problem. If anything, you may cause more skin irritation. And some fragrances can actually be toxic – read more here at one of Dr Edward’s article.
- Don’t use home remedies such as Vinegar, Bleach etc.4 You could just cause more harm than intended!
At the end of the day, we all smell a little, but on a more serious note, if you feel that the smell in your dog is ongoing and could indicate a serious underlying issue, it is best to book an appointment with your vet straight away.
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- Smelly Dog? Here are 5 Dog Hygiene Tips. https://www.animalmedcenter-appleton.com/smelly-dog-5-dog-hygiene-tips/
- Herbon 6 Benefits of Using a Natural Shampoo for Your Dog.
- Leaky gut and the importance of diet for dogs with allergies. https://www.bigdogpetfoods.com/guides/leaky-gut-and-the-importance-of-diet-for-dogs-with-allergies
- Why Does My Dog Smell So Bad?
- Funky Feet: When your Pet’s Paws Smell like Fritos. https://www.androscogginanimalhospital.com/blog/funky-feet-when-your-pets-paws-smell-like-fritos/
- Frito Feet: Why Does my Dog Smell like Corn Chips? https://neaterpets.com/blogs/news/frito-feet-why-does-my-dog-smell-like-corn-chips
- Here’s Why Your Dog’s Paws Smell Like Corn Chips. https://www.rd.com/article/why-dog-smells-like-corn-chips/
- Stinky Dog Skin: Why your Dog’s Skin Smells & How to Make it Stop. https://naturaldogcompany.com/stinky-dog-skin/