Skip to main content

My Older Dog Reeks: Why Your Older Dog Smells

By May 17, 2022 Uncategorized
dog in bath stinks

Has your older canine companion become more odiferous in his golden years? Most dogs don’t exactly smell like roses one hundred percent of the time; after all, it’s their natural instinct to roll around in something smelly to mask their own scent. But if your dog stinks even after a bath, it’s time to sniff out the culprit of your dog’s pugent aroma.

At Eastside Veterinary Associates, we love helping your pets feel their very best. A thorough senior wellness exam can give us a deeper understanding of your dog’s overall health and reveal the causes of your dog’s distinct odors. 

Common Causes of Stinky Senior Dogs

If your dog stinks no matter what you do, a medical condition could be to blame. 

  1. Kidney disease in dogs occurs when kidney function becomes compromised. Your dog’s kidneys eliminate toxins in his bloodstream, so when they’re not working properly, these toxins build up and cause your dog’s breath to smell foul.
  2. Dogs diagnosed with diabetes can have breath that smells sugary sweet, or they can have breath that’s reminiscent of nail polish remover. 
  3. Dental or periodontal disease is a common condition in older pets. When tartar and plaque builds up in your dog’s mouth, it can lead to tooth decay, bacteria overgrowth, swollen gums, and, of course, halitosis. Brushing your dog’s teeth at home and scheduling regular dental exams can help. 
  4. Urinary Incontinence: Your older dog may experience loss of bladder control, which can cause urine to dribble onto his fur when he’s walking or even when he’s at rest. Incontinence can also lead to full-blown accidents. Frequent bathing can help control odor. 
  5. Arthritis and other health conditions can make it difficult for your dog to properly groom himself, which can cause his fur and skin to smell funky over time. Weekly shampooing or visits with a professional groomer can help. 
  6. Impacted anal glands are also common in older dogs. Your dog uses his anal glands for marking his territory, but when the oils become impacted in these glands, they emit a foul odor.
  7. If your dog’s flatulence can clear a room, it’s likely because his digestive system has grown more sensitive as he has aged. Talk with us about dietary adjustments that can help. 
  8. Infections: Allergies and dermatitis can lead to foul-smelling skin infections. Plus, ear infections and urinary tract infections can cause foul odors. 

Getting to the Root of the Odor

A medical assessment with a full physical examination plus bloodwork can help us diagnose any underlying medical condition or infection that could be causing your dog’s foul smell. Please contact us right away if you notice a foul odor coming from your canine or anytime you have questions about caring for your pet.

Author Mikey Davison

More posts by Mikey Davison