Why Your Old Dog Smells Bad and Other Mysteries of Pet Ownership

Smelly dog gets a bath.

Your love for your dog is unconditional. It can be hard to remember that, though, when your oldest best friend has an odor that can clear a room. Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care knows how important the human-animal bond is, and we are ready to help you solve the mystery of why your old dog smells bad, even after a good bath. 

Getting to the Bottom of the Stink

There are many reasons why a dog might maintain a musk despite your best efforts. Senior pets, in general, have a more difficult time with certain things that contribute to odor. 

If your old dog smells bad or an unpleasant odor returns after cleaning, there are a few key areas to pay attention to. 

Skin—Skin infections, in general can be stinky. Problems like allergic skin disease, overproduction of oil, immunosuppressive diseases, and pressure sores from mobility issues can result in the overgrowth of bacteria and/or yeast that emit a less-than-pleasant aroma.

Ears—When an ear infection occurs, inflammation and overgrowth of normal skin flora can result in a pungent odor only a mother could love. 

Urinary tract—Urinary tract infections may result in a powerful odor that may cling to the fur in the genital area. Some pets may also experience incontinence resulting in urine dribbling. 

Digestive tract—Disturbances to normal digestion stemming from dietary changes, systemic disease, or gastrointestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease can be stinky. Flatulence or changes in defecation habits can manifest in some smelly ways.

Anal glands—When the anal glands are infected or otherwise abnormal, these usually unpleasant-smelling secretions can become downright foul. 

Mouth—While dental disease can cause bad breath in pets of all ages, older pets are more likely to have advanced dental disease and infection in their mouths that can smell awful. 

GrowthsGrowths, particularly fast-growing cancerous masses, may outgrow their blood supply, resulting in areas of necrotic tissue. 

My Old Dog Smells Bad, and I Can’t Figure It Out!

If you have run through the most common offenders on the list and still can’t figure out why your old dog smells bad, it is probably time to make an appointment to see us. Even if you have identified the odor source, the chances are that you need the help of a veterinary professional to get it fixed. 

An excellent senior pet wellness plan is key to finding the source of potential problems like odor long before your nose does. By bringing your pet to see us for routine wellness visits, we can stamp out things like dental disease, early urinary tract infections, and suspicious tumors early. 

Treatments like medicated baths with our spa services may also be recommended to keep skin irritation and infections under control. 
While we can’t solve all the canine mysteries out there (why do dogs eat grass, by the way?), we can likely help you identify why your old dog smells bad. The sooner we can do that, the sooner you can get back to enjoying your pet.