Why does my older dog smell?

When younger dogs are smelly, there is a good bet they rolled in something stinky or tangled with a skunk. With your senior pets, however, you may notice they smell more often, even when they haven’t been outside recently. Health issues are most often the source when an older dog starts to smell bad. In some cases, a wellness checkup with your veterinarian may be necessary to begin treatment to help your pet feel and smell better. The team at All Pet Animal Hospital has put together this guide to help explain why your older dog may smell bad, and what you can do about it. 

Smelly Dog Breath Can Mean Trouble for Older Pets

If your older pet develops objectionable breath, it could indicate dental issues or other internal diseases. Poor dental hygiene, obesity, and kidney failure can cause breath odor. Please call us at (724) 444-6600 for an appointment if you suspect any of these health conditions:

  • Periodontal disease: most dental and gum diseases are preventable and treatable. Check your dog’s mouth for broken or abscessed teeth, swollen gums, and abrasions or cuts. Contact your veterinarian for a dental exam if you see tartar buildup or other evidence of dental/mouth disease. If their mouth smells like rotten meat, they need a cleaning!
  • Obesity and diabetes: Older and overweight pets are at a greater risk of developing diabetes. A sweet breath odor could indicate diabetes.
  • Kidney failure: If your pet’s kidneys are in distress, they can become toxic and cause terrible dog breath.

Your Older Dog Smells From Head to Tail and Toes!

An overgrowth of bacteria most often causes odors. Nose to tail daily grooming can help you spot health issues early on. Contact your veterinarian if you find evidence of any of the following health concerns:

  • Ear infections — Inspect your dog’s ears, inside and out, for redness or sores
  • Skin infections — Look for flaky patches, insect bites, inflamed areas, or open sores
  • Anal glands — The musty odor is unmistakable. If you are uncomfortable expressing the anal glands, ask us to recommend an experienced pet groomer or call us for an appointment.
  • Foot odor — Your dog may have a decaying material build-up between his toes. Wash his feet regularly or clean with a damp cloth to avoid infection.
  • Flatulence (gas) — All dogs require good nutrition. Inexpensive pet foods can cause gas and may not provide the balanced diet needed for overall health. Let us recommend quality food for your pet.

Good Grooming and Dental Care Will Help Your Faithful Old Pet Smell Great!

We’d like to see your older dog at least twice a year for a wellness exam. Early detection of developing health problems can lead to more positive outcomes. You can help your dog feel and smell good with regular grooming and dental care.

Dog Dental Care

We are happy to provide educational resources and demonstrations on how to care for your dog’s teeth. We can also recommend products to help you keep your pup’s teeth clean and his breath smelling fresh.

Good Dog Grooming Habits

Good grooming includes daily brushing, skin inspections, and regular baths. Your dog will love you for the attention and you will appreciate keeping unpleasant odors away. If you aren’t able to groom your dog, ask us to recommend a professional groomer. It may cost a little more upfront, but you’ll be saving on veterinary care down the road.

The caring team at All Pet Animal Hospital is here to help your pets into their golden years, with whatever changes may occur. Give us a call at (724) 444-6600 if your senior pet is stinkier than usually and needs a little extra care.