Dogs do often smell. It is a part of their hygiene. Many dogs smell when they have stepped outside for play or have foraged for food inside the dust-bin, however, there is always a difference between funny smell and stink.
Although common in many dogs, stinking isn’t noticeable until they have been diagnosed with different physical ailments. Stink is one of the earliest signs of underlying pet healthcare problems. Bad smell is more common in geriatric dogs who often encounter age-related diseases and ailments such as bowel disorder, cancer, oral disease, and anal sac problem.
It is essential that you keep track of how your dog smells over the time to ascertain there are any underlying physical problems with them. Once you begin noticing unusual smell or stink, you should immediately consult your veterinarian.
7 reasons why your old dog smells bad
Here are seven major reasons for an old dog to start smelling bad.
a. Dental Disease
Dental problem is common in many elder dogs. You should take elderly dogs to the vet every six months, so any underlying problems can be figured out before it gets serious. Depending on the dental problem, your dog might require tooth extraction, gum surgery, or a thorough cleaning.
By the age of 3, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some form of gum disease. Periodontal disease is common in dogs from a young age. It becomes more prevalent in elderly dogs. Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth combine with food particles to form plaque. Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar resulting in a deteriorating gum line. It produces toxins that lead to bone and tissue damage.
While a slight odor is normal for pets, stinky breath indicates deteriorating oral hygiene. Sometimes the underlying dental infection or cancer can cause smelly breath.
Another problem specific in dogs is Gingival Hyperplasia, the overgrowth of the gums that can harbor food residue and produce a rotten smell. Boxers, Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, and Great Danes are more prone to this oral disease.
Urinary incontinence, also known as lack of bladder control, is more frequent in elderly dogs. The aging dogs are more prone to weaker bladder and bladder infection. Over time, the muscles of the urinary tract system start to weaken in elderly dogs. Without bladder control, urine leaks onto a pet’s fur, which leads to odor over time, unless given frequent baths.
The condition has been seen occurring more frequently in senior spayed females than male dogs. Certain breeds are predisposed to urinary incontinence, including the springer and cocker spaniel, Old English sheepdog, and Doberman pinscher.
If you begin noticing foul smells in your dog, you should certainly take them to the vet. Once diagnosed, your vet will prescribe medication to strengthen your dog's sphincter muscle for better urine control or offer hormonal therapy. Sometimes it could be the sign of kidney disease.
c. Kidney disease
Bad breath (Halitosis) isn’t always caused by poor oral hygiene, sometimes it could be deteriorating kidney problems. Pets with kidney disease are unable to eliminate toxins from the bloodstream, which build up over time and create an ammonia-like odor to your dog’s breath. A metallic odor to their breath could also be a sign of kidney disease.
Kidney disease is a frequent occurrence in elderly pets. Dogs diagnosed with kidney diseases are often thirsty. Excess water consumption and increased urination, dull coat, appetite loss, and mouth soreness are few of the symptoms of underlying kidney disease. When you notice the earliest signs of kidney diseases, you can consult your vet who will prescribe a special kidney diet. For chronic kidney diseases, a kidney transplant is a more common solution.
Elderly dogs are more prone to diabetes. Diabetes mellitus or Diabetes in general is a common disease in middle-aged and older dogs. It’s a complex disorder of carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism in dogs. It can be the result of a relative or absolute insulin deficiency or of peripheral cell insensitivity to insulin which is characterized by high blood glucose concentrations such that the renal threshold is exceeded.
Elderly dogs are unable to produce enough insulin or aren’t using insulin properly. The body fails to use the food they eat for nutrients. Over time the body will begin to weaken. It is an endocrine disorder. One of the effects of diabetes is a condition called ketosis when the body is forced to burn its fat supplies. When your dog is creating ketones, their breath will have a distinctive odor, which some say smell like nail polish remover, while others say the odor is sweet.
e. Skin Infection
There are many reasons for skin infection in dogs. Secondary bacterial infections from constant scratching, dogs with wrinkly skin, and allergies are often the major reasons for skin infection. Incessant scratching can lead to a bacterial infection which can give off a putrid odor.
Dogs with wrinkly skin, such as English bulldogs, Shar Pei's, or pugs, are more prone to developing skin fold dermatitis when two skins come close in contact. It creates a warm, moist environment perfect for an overgrowth of surface microbes which can produce toxins that cause irritation and inflammation.
Allergy is one of the major reasons for skin infection in dogs. It often manifests in itchy skin allowing bacteria to enter through breaks in the skin, leading to a stinky infection.
f. Anal Sac Issues
Anal sacs issue occurs because of anal sac infection or impactions. This often leads to a nasty smell. Anal sacs are two small glands located on either side of the dog’s rectum. If untreated, it can lead to anal sac rupture and forms an abscess which can also create quite a stench. Common signs of anal sac issues are when they drag their bottom on the ground, scooting, and licking of anal.
Flatulence occurs when your dog eats something it isn’t supposed to. On occasion, your dog’s diet may simply not agree with their gastrointestinal system, and a food change is in order.
Get in touch with Urban Pet Supply & Resort, a premier doggy daycare in Des Moines, to find more useful tips and ideas taking proper care of elderly dogs.