All Things Dog

Combating Doggie B.O.

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Combating Doggie Odor

The sooner you identify and treat the cause of his B.O., the better your human-canine relationship will be.

There's nothing your dog loves more than spending some close-up, cuddle time with you. But if he's got doggie B.O., you probably find yourself pulling away. The sooner you identify and treat the cause of his B.O., the better your human-canine relationship will be.

Bad breath and gum disease

Good oral care is as important for your dog as it is for you. But many pet owners don’t realize the importance of proper oral care, which may explain why up to 80% of dogs over the age of three have periodontal (gum) disease. These conditions, such as gingivitis, are a leading cause of bad breath in dogs—creating an odor that can make your dog’s loving kisses a less-than-welcome experience.

If your dog has bad breath, check for swollen or bleeding gums, yellow-brown deposits on his teeth, broken or loose teeth, or excessive drooling. Tell your vet if you notice any of those symptoms, and make regular oral care appointments. In addition to treating any periodontal disease your dog may currently have, your vet can recommend an oral care maintenance plan between cleanings to help keep his teeth and gums in the best possible condition.

Skin and coat odors

If your dog's B.O. is coming from his body and not his mouth, the underlying cause could be something as simple as poor or inconsistent grooming. When was the last time your dog was professionally groomed—or even bathed?

Your senior dog's circulation and muscle tone just aren't what they used to be. And his older coat and skin can't revive themselves like they once did. You can make up for the decrease in these functions with a regular grooming routine. Set aside 15 minutes a day (or week, depending on his coat) for a grooming session with a brush and flea comb that suits the length and type of your dog's coat.

When was the last time your dog had a bath? Some dogs tend to be a little greasier, or love rolling in mud and other dirty stuff—so they'll need to be bathed more frequently. If you're not sure about how often you should bathe your dog, ask your veterinarian or an experienced groomer. Frequency of bathing depends on your dog's activity level and lifestyle. Most dogs don't need a bath more than once a month. It’s interesting to note that bathing your dog too frequently can also result in increased odor.

When you bathe your older dog, use:

  • Warm water in a warm room.
  • Mild shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs.
  • Thick, absorbent towels instead of a blow dryer.

If B.O. persists

If routine grooming and bathing doesn't freshen the B.O. situation, the cause could be a more serious condition. Skin diseases, for example, can create strong odors you might find offensive. Allergic reactions that affect your dog's skin can cause a musty smell, and bacterial skin infections and yeast infections can produce very noticeable odors.

Abnormal odors can also arise from other parts of your dog’s body. Maladies of the ear canal are capable of creating an odor that may smell like sewage, and anal sac disease can produce odors that are not easily ignored.

If your dog suffers from chronic and unexplained B.O., see your veterinarian. You vet can diagnose the problem and recommend the best possible treatment. And then, you and your pooch can get back to some well-deserved, close-up cuddle time.

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