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Ask A Groomer: Why Does My Dog’s Face Stink?

| Published on March 16, 2017

Have you ever noticed a foul odor coming from some part of your dog’s face and wondered what was causing the smell? There are several things you should be doing with your dog regularly to keep your dog’s head and face in top condition to prevent potentially serious health problems.


Image Source: Idlewire Pet Care Via Facebook
Image Source: Idlewire Pet Care Via Facebook


Wiping under your dog’s eyes daily with a warm, wet washcloth or an unscented baby wipe will help prevent their tears from turning into either slimy boogers or hardened crusts attached to the sensitive skin under your dog’s eyes. If left to grow, eye goobers of either kind can cause sores to fester underneath and can be anywhere from annoying to downright painful for your dog. Plus, the goobers can make your dog’s face stink.

Image Source: Santé Animale / Clinique vétérinaire

While floppy-eared dogs are more prone to ear infections than prick-eared dogs, any dog can get one. Even a mild ear infection can be painful, and severe ear infections can cause deafness. Signs of an ear infection include redness, discharge, or foul smell in the ear as well as frequent head shaking or ear scratching. A suspected ear infection should always merit a trip to the vet, since ear infections can be caused by bacteria, yeast, or even ear mites, and only a vet can give you the appropriate medication. But you want to prevent ears infections before they start, right? Using a cotton ball and either an ear cleaner formulated for dogs or a mild astringent such as witch hazel, wipe out the inside of your dog’s ears several times a week and after any time your dog’s head gets wet. Moisture causes bacteria to grow, so ear cleaning is especially important after baths and swims. Healthy ears shouldn’t have an odor.

Image Source: Fern Cottage Veterinary Surgery Via Facebook
Image Source: Fern Cottage Veterinary Surgery Via Facebook

Does your dog’s breath stink? How often do you brush his teeth? If the answer is never, your dog’s bad breath could be caused by anything from rotting food stuck between his teeth to his own teeth rotting and creating abscesses, which can cause serious health problems. If your dog has plenty of appropriate things to chew on, he may be doing an okay job of cleaning his teeth himself, but most dogs need help. There are plenty of products on the market to aid in canine oral health, but all you really need is a toothpaste formulated for dogs (never use human toothpaste as it will make your dog sick) and a cheap toothbrush. Introduce them to the toothpaste first by letting them lick some off your finger. Hopefully they’ll like the flavor, as that should help them tolerate eventually having a toothbrush put in their mouth. Reward them for allowing you to get the toothbrush in their mouth until they allow you to give all their teeth a good scrub. Like brushing your own teeth, this is best done daily.

A little prevention now can avoid future vet visits – and stinky faces!

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