Why does our dog smell after being in the sun, and what can we do about it?
December 12, 2004 12:37 PM   Subscribe

StinkyDogFilter: Our 4-year-old vizsla gets really, really stinky after being outside in the sun for a while, to the point where it's almost unbearable to be in the same room with her when she comes inside. After 15 minutes or so the stink subsides and she's tolerable again. Any ideas?
posted by mr_crash_davis to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)
Try giving her a nice thorough bath, then go outside with her for a while. There is the odd chance she just might be finding something stinky to play around.

However, with the stink leaving so fast, I'd have to wonder if it's a reaction to something outside, or even sunlight. If so, you might want to consult a vet about this.
posted by Saydur at 1:14 PM on December 12, 2004

Stinky glands? Oil in the coat? Both could be aggravated by heat. Both can be (temporarily) cured by a dog groomer.

Also I was wondering to what extent you are acclimatising to the smell after 15 mins, rather than it going away?
posted by carter at 1:41 PM on December 12, 2004

The smell definitely goes away. Also, we know she's not rolling in anything, and there's nothing stinky in the yard for her to get into.

Additionally, it doesn't matter if it's been a few weeks or a few minutes since her last bath - if she goes out in the sun for more than a few minutes, the stink is back.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:03 PM on December 12, 2004

we know she's not rolling in anything

Is she not rolling, period? Or, is she rolling, but you can't see any obvious stinky thing? Is she peeing/pooing and rolling in that? Speaking as a lab owner, if she is rolling, it probably is in something stinky ...

That's weird about the bath, though. When we bathe ours, she remains fragrant for a few days, before she manages to get the stink back.
posted by carter at 2:14 PM on December 12, 2004

She's not rolling, period. The whole thing is purely sunlight-activated. Let her out on a cloudy day, no smell.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:22 PM on December 12, 2004

What are you feeding her? Certain foods can produce a particularly rank smell in some dogs, and it's more noticeable when their fur is hot - I presume it's some oily substance being excreted. In particular, try switching off dry food for a while, or from corn-based to rice-based, and see if that helps.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:23 PM on December 12, 2004

Could it be her breath? Dogs sweat through their mouths. On sunny day, it would be worse. After she cools down and gets a drink of water, she stops sweating and the smell goes away? Could be one scenario, anyway.
posted by Doohickie at 5:59 PM on December 12, 2004

My parents used to breed vizslas. They are great dogs with ALOT of energy. One thing about them, is that they definitely have a distinctive smell. I don't think that we ever noticed the smell in correlation to the sunlight, though. Ours seemed to have that smell all the time.
posted by trbrts at 6:40 PM on December 12, 2004

My friend used to have a basset hound, a breed known for being stinky. I remember her bathing it with something the vet gave them for just that problem. Perhaps the next time you go in, you could ask.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:52 PM on December 12, 2004

A persistently smelly dog is likely a dog in need of ear or teeth cleaning (or who has something else medically wrong), or in need of a better diet (healthy dogs who do not have naturally oily coats should not smell), but a dog like yours who only smells for a short while after being outside isn't unusual. Bathing is really only necessary if the dog is actually dirty, bathing too frequently actually makes a dog smell more, because it causes more oil to be produced than normal (because the oil gets removed during the bath) - most of the time doggy smell comes from the inside (ears, teeth, skin, health or diet), not the outside. I have no idea why this happens, but I don't think it's something to worry about unless the smell gets worse or becomes permanent.
posted by biscotti at 8:26 PM on December 12, 2004

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. She's just been to the vet for a small tumor removal and he checked her over pretty well, so we're fairly confident it's nothing serious. We'll try varying her food (she eats IAMS dry food exclusively now) and see if that makes any difference.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:18 PM on December 12, 2004

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