Yuck! Why Does My Pet Stink?

cat sleeping

Let’s face it, pets have an aroma that isn’t always so pleasant. They love to explore in the rain, snow, and mud. They roll around in mystery muck. They use litter boxes or squat outside to do their business. It’s understandable why your pet doesn’t smell like a bouquet of roses, but if they are really stinky, there may be a medical problem at play.

There are several reasons why pets have bad odor. The team at Harpeth Hills Animal Hospital is here to answer your question: “why does my pet stink?”

6 Reasons Why Pets Have Foul Odor

Stinky pets are a problem that we often hear about at Harpeth Hills. Sometimes, and in the best case scenario, it is something as simple as what a pet has gotten into, like rolling in another animal’s urine or feces. But, just as common, it can also be a signal of concern of an underlying condition or illness. It’s always a good idea to think of regular grooming like mini health checkups.

Here are some of the more common reasons why your pet stinks.

  1. Yeast infections – This parmesan cheese, or stinky feet, odor is caused by a yeast infection that typically occurs in the ears. When left untreated, a yeast infection can lead to a more serious infection, pain, and secondary issues like hearing loss.

  2. Atopy – Skin odors are often caused by allergies and skin conditions. Dry skin, redness, infection, and numerous other problems with the coat and skin can cause your pet to smell bad. Some pets have parasitic infections that are caused by fleas or internal worms that burrow into the skin, such as hookworm.

  3. Anal glands – These two small glands located in a dog’s rectum produce odor that signals their territory and presence to other animals. Sometimes they can become “impacted” and cause discomfort and more odor. The anal gland smell is an unfortunate yet natural part of your dog’s anatomy. 
  4. Bad breath – Stinky breath in pets relates to dental disease, infection, or other dental issues that should be looked at right away. Untreated dental conditions can lead to problems of the heart, kidney, liver, and other body systems.

  5. Gas – Some dogs or cats pass gas more than others, and this is often due to diet or eating quickly, where they gulp down air. If your pet is tooting more than usual, there may be problems with how they are digesting their food. Food allergies can also be a culprit of gassiness. Give us a call or schedule an appointment so we can help give you personalized input on nutrition and diet.

  6. Smelly cat – It’s hard not to think of that catchy song, but cats are expert groomers. If your cat’s coat is starting to look greasy or generally unkempt, it means they’re having a hard time carrying out this natural, instinctive behavior! Sometimes underlying conditions such as arthritis may be to blame as they make it painful to reach what were once easy to reach spots.

Why Does My Pet Stink?

If you have asked yourself this question, it is time to schedule an appointment with us. Most cases of pet odor can be easy to remedy or are no big deal, while others can be a sign of a health condition. There’s also an overwhelming variety of products and advice out there on how to groom at home, so it can be hard to know where to begin. 

We’re happy to help you answer the question of why your pet stinks and what you can do about it, and of course we’re always happy to see our patients in person! Stinky or otherwise! Give us a call today.