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August 14, 2006 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Stinky dog!

We have a new puppy. She's great—if tiring—and we love having her.

Except that she smells. Reeks. Stanky, stanky dog. Actually, she has two bad-smelling modes: one is puppy gas, which we assume is just the stress of switching living quarters and maybe some variation in the treats we give her.

The other, though, is just a really strong dog smell. I've had other dogs, and none of them smelled this strongly. Bathing her (with a puppy shampoo whose name I can't remember now) doesn't really seem to help… she just stanks up again after a couple of hours. Are there any good shampoos/ointments/unguents/depilatories that we can use to tone down her overpowering dog stench? Failing that, are there any good products (sprays? plug-ins?) we can use to mitigate the smell around the house?
posted by COBRA! to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: And for motivation, this is the puppy in question (although her name is now Freja and I strongly suspect that she didn't write the first-person prose on her posting).
posted by COBRA! at 9:39 AM on August 14, 2006

You've had her wormed, right?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:47 AM on August 14, 2006

Are her poops pretty firm?
posted by k8t at 9:52 AM on August 14, 2006

Take a good whiff of the inside of her ears. It could be a fungal infection in the ears, or also on the skin. I'd have the vet rule out medical causes.
posted by COD at 10:05 AM on August 14, 2006

Purely anecdotal, but my Boxer was really stinky with gas when he ate cheap dog food, but once I switched to a higher-quality dog food like Nutro, he is less stinky and gassy.
posted by cass at 10:08 AM on August 14, 2006

Is this your first puppy? Are you smelling the puppy smell? I love the way puppies smell, but I guess it's not for everybody.
posted by crunchyk9 at 10:14 AM on August 14, 2006

seconding cass' suggestion of better dog food that has meat, not corn, as the main ingredient. I switch back and forth between nutro and iams with my dogs, both of which are similar in breed to your new pup.

Also, I'm assuming you've had her looked over by a vet for the aforementioned worms, as well as skin disorders, such as mange?

And finally, is she rolling in nastiness when you're not looking? One of my dogs will obsessively roll in anything discarded, from dead birds to dropped hamburger wrappers, and they make her smell.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:15 AM on August 14, 2006

I second COD. Many times, bad dog smell comes from the ears. Also, some dogs have anal glands that fill with poop and must be squeezed periodically.
posted by wsg at 10:22 AM on August 14, 2006

Our vet told us our hound smelled from the feet. Try wiping the dog's feet with a damp cloth. It works for us, though not for long.
posted by sevenstars at 10:25 AM on August 14, 2006

She could be having a yeast problem. Yeast will present itself like flakes between the pads, as infection in the ears, and thru the skin (itchy and stinky) an almost moldy smell.

Have her ears checked first.

Then change her to a lamb and rice or chicken and rice formula food. carbs turn into sugar sugar feeds the yeast. This may take a week or two to see any improvement but its noninvasive. If she is itchy dogs can safely have 1mg/pound of benadryl (I am not a vet but have ran a boarding/grooming kennel for the last three years...)

Some of my clients would keep their dogs shaved down in the summer so they were easier to bathe everything from golden retrievers to beagles to german shepherds. It cuts down on shedding too. Oh and get some good shampoo like from our groomers ordered from there depending on their need.
posted by meeshell at 10:29 AM on August 14, 2006

Thirding changing the kibble to help with the windy-ness. I had a similar problem and upgrading from Iams (which I learned is actually crappy dog food, by the way) to Nutro Ultra Premium made a huge difference.

As for the doggy B.O., some dogs get stinky faster than others, it seems. Maybe biscotti or ROU_Xenophobe can enlighten us...
posted by ambrosia at 10:29 AM on August 14, 2006

Hey, she looks a lot like my puppy! Mine shepherd mix is a year old now, I think she smelled more when we got her, and either my sensitivity to it lessened or she really does smell less now that she's older. However, she was never as bad as you describe. I would take her to the vet--she may need her anal glands expressed (my shepherd does sometimes), or have an infection as COD described. Also, re farts, we fed my puppy expensive food from the get-go and she was still gassy sometimes, but she isn't much any more. That was probably a getting used to the food thing or a getting older thing.

Also: Febreeze is the best ever. I use it on sofas, carpets, dog beds, cat beds, on wood floors, in the air as air freshener. If I thought it was safe to spray on the cats and dog I would (very tempting!), I wish they would branch out that direction, because it sure does work well!
posted by sLevi at 10:31 AM on August 14, 2006

Best answer: Healthy dogs eating a good diet do not generally smell (unless they are a breed with a naturally oily coat, like a Lab). A vet check to make sure her ears, teeth, digestive tract and skin are in decent shape is the first step. Second, get her on a good diet (not Iams, not Science Diet, not regular Nutro, all contain corn and by-products) - here is a great website with information about how to read labels and some specific food recommendations. If your dog is eating a good diet, has no medical problems and still stinks, it could be a food intolerance issue, in which case the thing to do is put the dog on a high-quality single-protein source food with a short and simple ingredients list (e.g. the Wellness Simple Solutions line, California Natural) until you find a food that doesn't make your dog stink and then work on finding out what the problem ingredient is. Skin issues and persistent doggy odour are very often caused by food intolerances and/or low-quality food (cheap food contains cheap ingredients which have lower quality control standards, garbage in: stinky dog out). Good food costs more per cup but you feed less of it.

Frequent bathing can actually increase odour, since it strips the oils from the coat which makes the skin secrete even more oils to replace those removed by the bathing. My dog gets bathed only when he's actually dirty (like after rolling in something dead and stinky or getting in the way of a bigger dog's urine stream...ahem) or before a show. Bathing is a band-aid which isn't addressing the underlying problem here, you need to find out what's causing the smell, and odds are very good that it's either a tooth/ear/digestive tract/skin issue or a food issue.

That said, if the pup's teething right now, she will probably smell no matter what you do, and this will pass once the teething is over with.
posted by biscotti at 10:57 AM on August 14, 2006

Response by poster: Wow, thanks for all the info. I thought there'd be maybe one or two replies by the time I got back from lunch.

You've had her wormed, right?
Yep; she was wormed while in foster care.

Are her poops pretty firm?
They could be firmer. We have her eating some sensitive-stomach Nutro stuff that her foster person recommended.

Is this your first puppy? Are you smelling the puppy smell? I love the way puppies smell, but I guess it's not for everybody.
Had dogs growing up (and so did my wife), and I certainly remember them smelling like this, but nowhere near as strongly. That was ten years ago, though, so it's possible that my memory's faded.

With the suggestions to check her ears: we did notice over the weekend that her ears were really, really waxy. Is that a sign of anything, or just run-of-the-mill puppy crud?
posted by COBRA! at 11:07 AM on August 14, 2006

Bad food/food intolerance/food allergies can often cause ear problems.

Really waxy ears need attention, it could be food-related, it could be an infection, it could just be how she is, but they do need attention. See your vet and get a good veterinary ear cleaner (there are gel ones now which are great).
posted by biscotti at 11:22 AM on August 14, 2006

As biscotti suggested, it could be food intolerance. I knew a dog that was allergic to wheat (which is a very very popular filler in dog food) - she stank to high heaven when there was an iota of the stuff in her food. Is she loosely pooping? Is she very itchy?
posted by Eudaimonia at 11:25 AM on August 14, 2006

Response by poster: Is she loosely pooping? Is she very itchy?
Yes to both.
posted by COBRA! at 11:33 AM on August 14, 2006

Aww, poor thing. And poor you for having to deal with the olfactory onslaught =( Again, like biscotti said, Wellness is a good brand for allergies (owner of aforementioned dog used it with great results). I hope it works out!
posted by Eudaimonia at 11:41 AM on August 14, 2006

I just want to add that even stupidly super-mega-premium food doesn't really cost all that much. Like biscotti said, you don't use as much of it 'cuz it's all food instead of food mixed with indigestible, useless crud. And it's just not that expensive anyway.

I mean, yeah, it costs some insane multiple of what a 50 pound bag of generic dog food from Wally World costs. But it's still not that much in absolute terms. Chez Xenophobe, our dog is not big (30 pounds), but the embarrassingly high-end food we give him, made only by vegan hippie food scientists under rabbinical supervision by the light of the full moon, still costs us maaaaybe $10--15/month. It's an utterly minimal part of the cost of caring for a dog.

Also, some dogs have anal glands that fill with poop and must be squeezed periodically.

Praise be to all that is holy and some things that aren't, I've never had to deal with this directly.

But that ain't poop. It's anal gland crud. Concentrated dog butt smell.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:16 PM on August 14, 2006

How to solve anal gland problems = feed your dog canned pumpkin.
posted by k8t at 12:20 PM on August 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

Our dog has a stink cloud, too. With him, it's a skin problem - he gnaws at his dandruffy skin all the time, and the minor relief from a bath lasts only a day or so. We'd thought it was seborrhea, so we tried tar shampoo and then sulfur/salicylic acid shampoo. Neither helped. He's still preceded everywhere he goes by a tsunami of nasty dog smell.

We just got back from the vet - she thinks it's a flea allergy. Of course, your new little princess certainly doesn't have fleas, but if anyone else reading this has a flea-riddled stinkbag, it might be time to break out the Advantage.

Also, no kidding about food causing gas. Austin's fine if he eats his own food, but those times we catch him sheepishly scurrying away from a cleaned-out catfood bowl, we know we're in for a night of TORTURE.
posted by granted at 3:51 PM on August 14, 2006

Yay new puppy! She's gorgeous, congrats.

I can sympathize with the overwhelming dog smell of the non-gas variety. Our mutt's corn-chip aroma would re-emerge just hours after bathing...and two days later, this combined with fresh-scent shampoo fragrance made it that much worse. And the stink came from everywhere - belly, back, flanks.

We found relief using a tea-tree dog shampoo that also touted moisturizing affects. The tea-tree oil had antibacterial properties, and her skin wasn't dried so badly as to produce a lot of dander. (Hertz used to sell this in a bright orange bottle, but I haven't looked for it in a while.) We also coordinated bath-time with laundering her bedding in hot water with a drop of bleach to kill bacteria.

The only downside was that the dog would strongly reek of tea-tree for a day (it helped that I like the smell). But she wouldn't smell like 'dog' for at least a week.
posted by cdadog at 7:38 AM on August 15, 2006

Response by poster: So, we switched her to a Wellness puppy formula, and that helped a lot with the general dog smell. As for the gassiness, we've figured out that limiting her pig-ear consumptions cuts back on the gas. She's not odorless (but, then is a dog ever going to be?), but you can breathe around her, and that's good enough.
posted by COBRA! at 2:42 PM on September 5, 2006

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