Why Does My Dog Smells Really Bad Even After A Bath? 11 Reasons + 5 Tips

My Dog Smells Really Bad Even After A Bath

Pet owners love the smell of their washed dog but sometimes there is a lingering odor that still stays in spite of the bath. The question “my dog smells really bad even after bath” is a recurring one and we will try our best to address it through this article.

You will learn

  • 5 tips for you to deal with the odor
  • 11 possible reasons for your dog’s bad odor
  • And much more…

My Dog Smells Really Bad Even After A Bath

Your dog still smells really bad even after a bath because of its natural oils, microorganisms or bacteria resulting in a wet dog smell. Get rid of the smelly odor in your dog by giving regular baths, and completely drying him. This will prevent a very bad odor in your dog.

12 Reasons Why Your Dog Smells Bad Even After A Bath

My Dog Smells Really Bad Even After A Bath

1. Wet Dog Smell

The wet dog smell after a bath or from swimming in a lake is really awful.

According to the American Association for the Advancement Of Science, the reason for this smell is because of the microorganisms and bacteria living on your dog’s body. These bacteria produce waste matter which then becomes aerosolized as the water evaporates. 

This produces a wet dog smell. Dogs also have glands on their skin that produce sebum that keeps their skin moisturized. This too is responsible for a wet dog smell.

Dogs produce body odor when they are not given a bath as required. This causes a build-up of sebum. Furthermore, say you wash your dog every 3-4 weeks but do not dry them every time after that or after they come home from a humid or rainy day, they are likely to smell.

Thus, wash your dog as recommended by your vet and make sure you dry them well. You can also use scented sprays that are dog-safe. You can also make sure your dog’s bedding is cleaned now and then to avoid the bad smell. 

The AKC suggests that using a heavy towel to dry your dog.

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It is suggested to use a dog hairdryer can help get rid of the wet smell.

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2. Seborrhea 

Sometimes, the glands present on the dog’s skin start to secrete excessive oil and sebum. This skin disorder is called seborrhea. 

Dr.Tammy Hunter, DVM suggests that this is a disorder of the sebaceous glands which produce a lot of sebum initially showing up as dry and flaky skin and slowly leading to greasy and oily skin.

She further goes on to explain the two types of seborrhea which are seborrhea sicca (dry seborrhea) and seborrhea oleosa (oily seborrhea). Most dogs with this disease usually have both these types of seborrhea present. 

Due to seborrhea, dirt and bacteria get trapped into the skin which then produces a bad odor. The odor becomes worse when seborrhea is accompanied by a secondary bacterial or yeast infection. This might explain why your dog still smells even after a bath.

You can look out for these symptoms to check for seborrhea in your pet:

  • Flaky skin
  • Hair loss
  • Bleeding due to scratching
  • Excessive oily skin
  • Bad odor

When it comes to the treatment of seborrhea, a study has shown that dogs who have seborrhea sicca (dry seborrhea) respond well to topical therapy that uses humectants and they also benefit from Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids supplementation than dogs with seborrhea oleosa (oily seborrhea). 

You can speak to your vet for more details for the treatment of seborrhea depending on the type present. 

3. Anal Gland Secretions 

An anal gland infection could be another infection that would explain why your dog won’t stop smelling bad even after a bath. 

Dr. Anna Burke, DVM states that the secretions from the anal glands of a dog are used to communicate with other dogs. A very fishy odor from your dog is probably a result of these anal gland secretions. 

If there is a problem in the secretion from these glands, it results in anal sacs disease in your dog. It can lead to abscesses or even tumors if left untreated.

Listed below are the symptoms of anal gland diseases in dogs:

  • Scooting
  • Leaving a trail behind
  • Bad odor
  • Licking of the rear end
  • Constipation or pain while defecating

If you observe these symptoms in your pet, chances are they have problems with their anal glands. Consult a vet for more information about anal gland diseases in pets. 

Also Read: The Best Food For Dogs Suffering From Anal Gland Issues

4. Ear Infection

My Dog Smells Really Bad Even After A Bath

Ear infections due to various reasons can cause a fruity odor.  So, if your dog is suffering from an ear infection, he will still smell after a bath. You can expect a fruity odor from your dog.

Dr. Leigh Burkett, DVM explains the various sources of ear infections in dogs as:

  • Bacterial or yeast infections. 
  • A flea infestation or the presence of ticks or mites. 
  • An abrasion or a cut can lead the bacteria to feast on it making it foul-smelling. 
  • Built-up of earwax

She goes on to say that these infections can be treated by using anti-fungal drops and preventing dogs from itching their eyes. 

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Dr.Elizabeth Racine, DVM at AKC suggests that you lookout for the following symptoms to check for ear infection in your pet:

  • Bad odor
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Scabs in the ear

Your vet might do a visual assessment of your pet ears, do an otoscope, or in severe cases may even ask to do an X-ray or biopsies to check for an ear infection. 

5. Dead Undercoat, Matts & Tangles 

Dogs with a double coat need to be brushed regularly and before a shower to remove tangles and mats. If they are not bathed properly, or if their double coats are not brushed and dried with care, it can lead to the formation of a dead undercoat.

A dead undercoat can cause your dog to smell, even after a bath.

Dr.Harriet Meyers, DVM says that dogs with a double coat have a soft inner coat that protects them from harsh weather and keeps them warm in summer. 

Examples of dogs who have a double coat are:

  • English Springer Spaniels
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Siberian Huskies
  • German Shepards
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Border Collies

Since they have a dense coat, it is more susceptible to bad odor if not taken care of. Thus, brushing their hair regularly helps in detangling their hair and removing mats. This will also prevent a dead undercoat layer, responsible for causing your dog to smell, even after bathing.

Here is a video that explains how to groom dogs with a double coat.

6. Food Allergy or Unbalanced Diet

My Dog Smells Really Bad Even After A Bath

Most dog foods contain soy and grains which is no doubt filling but doesn’t give your dog the essential nutrients. Also, it may cause allergies in them. 

A study was conducted to diagnose cutaneous adverse food reactions (CAFRs) in dogs to check for food allergies. 

Results of the study showed that the most common food allergens contributing to the CAFRs were dairy products, beef, chicken, and wheat. These food allergens cause skin inflammation which may lead to excess oil production which in turn produces a musty odor in your dog. 

Thus, even if you follow your vet’s instructions of bathing your dog, the problem of your furry friend having a bad odor may be due to an allergy.

Having an unbalanced diet too can cause your dog to smell bad. Food that is high in preservatives, additives, and sugars again increases sebum production on the skin which causes a bad odor. 

Dr.Ryan Llera, DVM says that there are 6 basic nutrients that a dog requires. They are:

  • Water
  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Minerals 
  • Vitamins

She further instructs dog owners to select diets with whole-food ingredients that contain less than 350 calories.

7. Too Frequent Bathing

If we have a smelly dog, we often think that bathing it over and over will get rid of the bad odor. By doing this you are doing your pet more harm than good. 

Leesville Animal Hospital suggests that overbathing one’s dog can:

  • Dry out their skin and cause itching
  • Strip them from their natural oils
  • Make your dog’s skin more greasy and smelly

You should bathe your dog depending on their activity level, breed type, and skin conditions along with tips to bathe your dog. It is always recommended to consult a vet in case you are unsure of the dog’s bathing frequency.

8. Yeast Infection or Malassezia dermatitis

Dr. Tammy Hunter, DVM,  says Malassezia dermatitis or yeast dermatitis is caused due to an abnormal overgrowth of yeast on the skin which causes skin inflammation and a musty odor in dogs. 

Some symptoms of Malassezia dermatitis are:

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Musty odor
  • Flaky skin
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Ear infections

You can treat yeast dermatitis in your pet dog by using topical or oral treatment depending on the condition. Consult your vet for more details. 

9. Diabetes 

If your dog has diabetes, the odor will linger even after bathing your dog. A very fruity scent is associated with diabetes in dogs and a sweet breath may be a sign of diabetes. Diabetes affects dogs of age 6 and up and the most susceptible dogs that develop diabetes are:

  • Terriers
  • Beagles
  • Samoyeds

Following are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs:

  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst 
  • Vomiting
  • Fruity breath

Although this is an incurable condition, medications help in the treatment of diabetes for dogs. Check with your vet to know more. 

10. Liver Disease 

If your dog has liver disease, it probably smells like a dead animal no matter the times you bathe them. 

Below are the common symptoms of liver disease according to Dr.Anna Burke, DVM

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellowing of gums and corneas also called jaundice

11. Kidney Disease

My Dog Smells Really Bad Even After A Bath

Dr. Ernest Ward, DVM speaks of how kidney disease can make your dog’s breath smell like urine. So, if your dog is suffering from kidney disease, he is bound to smell like urine, even after bathing him properly.

 They experience symptoms of:

  • Lethargy
  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest in playing

He says that kidney disease in dogs is sometimes due to aging or wearing out of kidney tissues. For small dogs, the signs of a kidney problem occur around 10-14 years of age while for big dogs it shows up as early as when they are 7. If you see your little pet showing these signs and symptoms it is best to contact your nearest vet. 

12. Urinary Tract Infection

If your dog has a urinary tract infection (UTI), his urine is very likely to have a strong fishy odor. So, you can expect your dog to smell like fish and have an extremely strong odor, which is unlikely to go away even after a bath.

Dr.Malcolm Weir and Dr. Robin Downing, DVM mentioned that dogs with a UTI have difficulty urinating, may experience pain, or even bleed. 

They go on to say that with a UTI pet owners also observe dripping urine which has a really bad odor. A study conducted on dogs with UTI found that Escherichia Coli and Streptococcus spp were the two most commonly seen UTI in dogs.

Other symptoms of UTI include:

  • Accidents at home
  • Fever
  • Wanting to go out more frequently
  • Licking genitals

5 Ways to Stop You’re Dog Smelling Really Bad Even After A Bath

If you have been bothered with the question, “my dog smells really bad even after a bath”, let’s now look at ways to deal with this.

1. Use Dog Blow Dryer

Using a good dog hair blow dryer will help dry your dog properly every time they are bathed. 

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This will reduce the chances of the growth of yeast and other bacterial and fungal infections. Make sure you don’t directly expose your dog to a blow dryer as it might scare them. 

Be gentle and patient and reward your dog with a treat or praise for cooperating with you every step of the way. 

2. Brush and Comb Dog’s Fur

Using a good comb for your dog will help track fleas if any and will also remove dead skin cells which in turn will give them shiny hair. If you have a dog with thick hair, brushing it will help detangle their hair. This will reduce excess sebum production.

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3. Maintain A Healthy Diet

A healthy dog diet is important for the health of their body so that it doesn’t produce excess sebum or oil. Avoid preservatives and additives. A good diet will contain fruits, vegetables. Grains, meat, and fruits. You can learn more about dog food here. 

Also, never feed your dog these 30 food items!

4. Get Anal Glands Treated

If you observe any symptoms mentioned above relating to anal glands, you should get it checked with your vet as soon as possible. Delay in treatment of anal gland disease, can lead to further puss formation and further problems like abscesses and infections. Treating it will also help get rid of the lingering bad odor. 

5. Use Cornstarch Or Baking Soda After Giving It A Bath

Using cornstarch or baking soda on your pet after a bath can help reduce strong odors that emit from them. You do not necessarily have to add it to their shampoo. Simply just adding it to the water can aid in cleaning them. Do not use these ingredients on the face of your dog. 

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