WHAT IS THAT SMELL?If you’ve noticed your pet gets a bit pongy, you might be surprised that a bath isn’t always what is needed. There are various conditions that can cause an unseemly odour which range from benign to more serious. If your dog still smells no matter when you’ve bathed them and how many shampoos you’ve tried then it’s time to look at other reasons.


  • Rolling in something smelly
  • Bad breath - which can be caused by internal diseases.
  • Tooth & gum disease - a sore mouth will smell strongly and saliva can stain fur, furniture etc so it is not always apparent where the smell is originating from. Check their mouths to see if their teeth are yellow or grey or if their gums are red and/or bleeding.
  • Ear infections - bacterial infections in the ears are very odorous. Your dog may shake and scratch at his/her head and baths will possibly worsen infection if water gets trapped in the ears. 
  • Flatulence - gas may indicate a dietary or intestinal issue. While some is normal, excessive flatulence shouldn’t be discarded as funny or inconvenient, especially if coupled with diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Anal glands - these are small scent sacs in the anal area that can sometimes become impacted and need emptying by your vet to relieve discomfort or smell. Sometimes your pet may "scoot" their backside across the ground or lick at themselves if these glands are getting uncomfortable. The smell itself is quite unique and has a fishy odour.
  • Skin conditions - Some skin conditions can be quite smelly and should never be ignored. Check beneath your pet’s coat to see if their skin is healthy. Look for signs such as redness, itchiness and flakiness.

We highly recommend that you visit your vet with any concerns about an odour that will not let up. If bathing doesn’t do the trick, then there may be a bigger problem at play.

DISCLAIMER: The advice given in this article is of a general nature. Pet Guardians Australia recommends a health check with your local vet at least once a year for advice pertaining to your pet's individual circumstances.