We love our dogs, but sometimes… they stink. While this doesn’t change our unconditional affection for them, caring pet parents may be wondering: is this normal, or should I be concerned?
We at iHeartDogs asked Dr. Michel Selmer, DVM, CTCVMP, about what is considered “normal” odor, and when we should consult a vet. Also known as “The Caring Vet,” Dr. Selmer is a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist (CVFT) who uses principles from Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) to treat his patients.
In the words of Dr. Selmer:
In order to address dog odor we first need to recognize that dog odors have many sources. Dogs naturally produce secretions that enable other dogs to recognize them by smell, as canines and as individuals.
These odors are most prominent near the anus, near the ears, and around the footpads. These are areas where the body creates normal secretions that have an odor we may find unpleasant. Sometimes odors from these areas can also be a sign that something is wrong. A good general rule is, if you smell something offensive or different on your pet, you may want to contact your veterinarian.
Another source of odor that can be considered natural and results from a common dog behavior: dogs like to roll in and mark themselves with animal products in their environment, including poop from natural prey animals like rabbits. If your dog smells bad and you see that he/she has just been rolling around on the ground, it may be just your dog trying to get that scent on him/or her. A bath for your dog would be my next step.
Other odors you may smell on your dog can be a result of poor grooming, skin diseases, anal sac diseases, dental disease, dietary items and some medications. So, if your dog is offending you with an odor, first give him/her a bath. If the odor persists, call your veterinarian. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
We want to thank Dr. Selmer for sharing his knowledge with us. If you want to learn more about taking a holistic approach to your pet’s healthcare, check out his book The Best of Both Worlds: An Advanced Guide to Integrative Veterinary Care for Happier, Healthier Pups.
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