If your older dog has a certain, shall we say, distinct odor, then you are not alone. A common complaint we hear from pet owners is that their senior dog smells funky. No matter how many times they are shampooed, they remain stinky. 

If your older dog stinks, we are here to help! The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital can explain the causes of the disgusting scent and what you can do to make things better for all.

6 Reasons Why an Older Dog Stinks

Unless your pet has been out in nature, rolling on all the gross things they can, there is no reason for a putrid or rank odor coming from them. Most dogs do smell…just a little doggie, of course. There shouldn’t be a smell that is disconcerting unless there is a problem at hand.

As a rule, most older dogs don’t have a bad odor to them unless they are dealing with an underlying medical issue. 

  1. Periodontal disease – Periodontal or dental disease in dogs is a key factor in how they smell. Halitosis is one of the indicators that your dog is struggling with dental disease, rotting teeth, and/or a buildup of plaque and tartar. Since over two-thirds of senior pets will develop a form of this, most require periodic dental cleanings to avoid the problems associated with periodontal disease.
  2. Incontinence – Urinary incontinence, when a pet cannot “hold it”, is also common among geriatric pets. Over time, the muscles of the urinary tract system weaken for some dogs. Without bladder control, urine leaks onto a pet’s fur, which leads to odor over time, unless given frequent baths.
  3. Allergies and skin conditions – Most pets with allergies deal with chronic skin conditions and infections. From dry and scaling skin to hot spots, fur loss, and infection, this can produce stinky odor. Issues with the skin can cause discomfort, as your pet seeks to sooth the itch by biting and scratching. There are several ways we can address skin conditions for your pup, including allergy testing to determine the allergens causing the problem.
  4. Kidney disease – Kidney disease can often produce a mouth odor because the kidneys are not adequately eliminating toxins from the body, which in turn, builds up in the system. Over time, halitosis develops and causes a pet to generally smell bad.
  5. DiabetesDiabetes mellitus is an endocrine disorder that poses health risks to millions of pets diagnosed with the disease. One of the effects of diabetes is a condition called ketosis, when the body is forced to burn its fat supplies. This can result in a strange smell from the mouth, a mix between foul and somewhat sweet.
  6. Poor grooming – Your pet, as they age, may be more reluctant to self-groom, which leads to unkempt and unhygienic skin and coat condition. Unless you intervene with weekly shampoos and grooming, odors can arise. This can be increased if your pet doesn’t express their anal glands. Without this occurring, the oils can become impacted and cause additional smells. Your professional groomer at Wheaton can be your pet’s best friend in keeping them healthy and smelling great.

Help! My Older Dog Stinks

If you are dealing with a Pepe le Pew, we can get to the bottom of the odor through a thorough examination. Bad odor can give us insight into a previously undiagnosed condition so we can get your furry loved one the treatment they need.

A stinky pet is often an unhealthy one. Please call us to schedule an appointment and answer the question of why your older dog stinks.