Bad Odor

by Deb
(Denver, CO)

Teddy Loves Belly-Rubs

Teddy Loves Belly-Rubs

My chocolate cocker spaniel, Teddy, has a bad odor. He is 3 1/2 years old and is groomed regularly. His skin looks healthy, he eats well, and he poops GREAT.

Lately he has yelped for no apparent reason and sometimes acts like he cannot jump up on the sofa (then later jumps up like all is well).

Is it possible that his anal glands are full even though he poops regularly? Teddy's adoptive brother, Simon, doesn't have a smell. They both eat the same all-natural dog food, Rachel Ray's Nutrish.

Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)

Hi Deb, Sorry to hear Teddy's having problems. I'm not a vet, so I'm not qualified to diagnose Teddy's symptoms, however I can offer you a personal opinion base on many years of dog ownership.

You don't say where the smell is coming from, but as you mentioned anal glands, I'm assuming you believe the smell is from that end of your dog, rather than the other end (although I would check his ears first as this could be the source of the smell).

If he has a bad ear infection you would have noticed him scratching at them and there may be a dark, smelly, waxy substance in them. They may also be tender and sensitive when touched.

If it's an ear infection, I recommend Teddy sees his vet, but you can read more on infections here.

If the smell is not coming from the ears, it could be coming from the mouth, or to be more precise, the folds in the sides of the lips. This is usually more common in dogs that eat 'wet' food as opposed to kibble, but kibble eaters get it too. Bacteria can breed quite easily in warm, moist conditions and unless we keep this area clean and dry, it can get really bad - and the smell is something else!

Now, if the smell is definitely coming from the other end, it could, as you've said, be his anal glands. Although if he's pooping well, I'm not sure this would be the cause. If your dog's poop is firm it should be doing it's job - ie pressing against to anal gland to release a little fluid each time he poops which stops the glands from filling up and becoming impacted or infected and painful - Teddy shouldn't be having any problems.

It sounds like a visit to the vet is necessary - these vet bills sure mount up don't they?

Good luck Deb I hope it's nothing serious (or too expensive) and please let us know how Teddy gets on.

PS: Hugs to both Teddy and Simon please.

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I have spent a small fortune trying to figure out the same thing with my Cocker Spaniel
by: Anonymous

In the past 2 1/2 years, I must have spent $2,000 on vet bills trying to figure out why my dog stinks so much. It is a frequent topic that leads to disagreements from everyone it the family.

I love this dog but it is horrible to have such a smelly pet. You can't sleep when she walks in the room and she loves to sit under the table during mealtimes. A bath only keeps her somewhat smelling nice for only a few hours. IT is horrible and I will never get another dog like this.

Smelly Dog Update
by: Celeste

I have been to 3 vets and spent a small fortune to be told that my dogs are perfectly healthy with no health problems. I bought wipes for their chin and it hasn’t helped. Blood work was done to check for thyroid related issues, nothing. Ear cultures came back normal. They are on the prescription food even though there were no other signs of allergies and it hasn’t helped. Two of the three vets offered that they see this somewhat frequently and the strong odor is common in the breed. So now I am tearing out carpet and having a professional agency come in to clean everything. Daily bathing and weekly skunk baths are the plan for now. The plan moving forward, no more cocker spaniels after these. I just have to live with the stink and not have company to avoid the embarrassment. I find it very difficult to believe that after all of this time, money, and multiple vets that this isn’t common and breed related.

Smelly Dogs
by: Pauline (Web Owner)

Hi Celeste,

Check the mouth and the bottom as these posts advise. If it's not the anal glands it likely to be the lip folds, which can really give off a foul odor it not kept clean and dry.

If it's really bad, the dogs may need antibiotics to clear it up.

The only other reason for smelling so bad is rolling in something that's either in the yard or where they're walked. I somehow suspect that this isn't the case.

My shout would be it's a lip fold bacteria.

Do the 'sniff test' and if you think it's that, why not take them back to the vets and have them check again?

Good luck!

Bad odor
by: Celeste

I recently moved in with my significant other. He had 2 Spaniels and I immediately noticed the "odor" that seems to hover around these 2 like a cloud. I've tried finding the source of the smell and to no avail.

I had a 200 lb Great Dane and when he got into something you knew about it, but a bath did the trick. These 2 Spaniels are bred with skunk I think because hours (hours!) after a bath the smell is back and just as strong as before, even if they haven't been outside yet. I bathe them, cover all the furniture, and my water bill is approaching $200 a month from cleaning rugs and furniture (do your spaniels also rub their faces all over the furniture?)

I'm at my wits end with this and may have to move out. This isn't a slight odor, it's enough to put you off your dinner. The vet says the dogs are perfectly healthy.

I really hope there is something that can be done. ANY helpful suggestions would be appreciated.

Bad Mouth Odor
by: Pauline (Web Owner)

Hi Sandra,

Debbie has given some good advice there (thanks Debbie!).

When Max first had this problem, it was so bad that he was given antibiotics and a special shampoo.

Since I found out about this Lip Fold Fungus I keep the area clean by using disposable baby wipes each day, usually after he's eaten, and it hasn't returned since!

The shampoo I used is only available by vet prescription. I still have the bottle (half empty) in the cupboard so I checked the label for you.

The name of the shampoo is, Malaseb Shampoo and it's antibacterial and antifungal.

The label lists the active ingredients are as follows:

Chlorthexdine digluconate - 20 mg/ml
Miconzole nitrate - 20 mg/ml
Methylchlorolsothiazolinone - 0.0075 mg/ml
Methylisothlazolinone - 0.00025 mg/ml

Wow! Some really great scrabble points there!

Although the label states that it should only be sold on prescription, I did find it on (

If your dog is otherwise healthy and not pawing at his mouth you may want to try and deal with this yourself.

Wash your Cocker's mouth with a mild antibacterial shampoo (or the above if you can get it), but make sure you dry the fur around his mouth thoroughly. If you don't, the moisture will attract more bacteria and the whole problem will begin again.

Cross your fingers, watch and wait.

If there's no change or it seems to be getting worse, take him to see the vet immediately.

It would be great to hear it's worked for Niko!

Kind regards,

To Sandra
by: Debbie

My Teddy's odor problem comes from the folds in his skin around the mouth, not his gums. And it gets worse the longer his hair gets in that area. I bought some cheap washcloths that are only used on him, and I wash the area each day.

I clean around his mouth with a wet cloth, getting inside the folds, then I use a dry one to dry the same places thoroughly. Bacteria breed where it is warm and moist. I use each cloth only once, so I keep enough on hand to be rotated and washed every few days. Hopefully this helps.

Good luck!

Bad mouth odor
by: Sandra

I read your comment on bacteria in the gums. Can you tell me what you do to get rid of it. My 6 year old Niko has had horrible bad breath and we can not get it corrected.

The vet says his teeth are perfectly fine.

This is not an anal glad problem, no other body odor and his ears are fine, there is no doubt it is coming from his mouth. It is a really nasty smell, not sure what to compare it to.

Any insight would be appreciated.

Thank you for your time.
Sandra E.

Thank You Both!
by: Deb

Thanks so much for your input! Teddy did visit the vet since my initial post and it was not his anal glands, but as Pauline mentioned, the folds around his mouth!

And the doc said that Teddy probably hurt himself running outside, and that was the reason he whined when he moved wrong -- after a couple of days he was fine! Go figure!

Now I clean around his mouth daily, using wet wipes then a dry towel. We are both happier now that the smell is gone! Thanks again!

Bad Smell On Dogs
by: Jordan

The smell is more than likely to be from his anal glands. Trust me. I've had this problem with my dog and it's a smell you never forget - it stinks!

It is easy enough to deal with, although I got my groomer to do it for me as I'm a bit of a soft lad!

My groomer advised adding extra fiber in his diet. I did and it seemed to do the trick.

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