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Smelly Dog Woes
Is your dog a little on the nose lately? Nadia Crighton chats with Specialist Veterinary Dermatologist Dr Linda Vogelnest, from the Small Animal and Specialist Hospital to discover why some dogs smell and how to tell if your dog’s coat is in need of some attention. Plus; learn the age-old question; why does a wet dog always smell like a wet dog, even when clean?
Let’s face it, at some point or another our dogs positively stink! Whether it’s due to a dip in the ocean, a roll in something less desirable, or because of a looming allergy. Keeping tabs on our pet’s coat and skin health and smell is vital. Not only for our noses, but also for the quality and comfort levels of your pet. An itchy allergic dog is not a happy dog. A good coat is also a good indication that everything is OK with your pet regarding nutrition and health.
SWEAT SWEAT SWEAT
Interestingly dogs can also get sweaty! Not in the way we two-legged variety sweats, in fact, a canine’s main sweat gland produces oily secretions to keep their coats healthy rather than producing watery solutions to keep them cool. It’s these secretions that can be rather smelly.
“There are lots of potential causes, but more often smelly coats relate to overgrowth of bacteria and yeast on the skin surface, which is more common in dogs with allergies,” Dr Vogelnest says. “Some dogs with allergies have no infections, but very active sweat glands. With allergies, these glands can be over-active, and the oils produced are often smelly.”
Signs of a Healthy Coat
- Shiny and glossy appearance
- Thick and luscious in most areas
- Skin should be smooth and supple
- No sore spots on skin or open hotspots
- No flakes or irritation
- No pungent odour
- No itchy spots
“Many dogs with allergies and skin problems are itchy, so that’s often the first sign,” Dr Vogelnest says. “Then variable areas of hair loss, redness, and other lesions occur (‘dermatitis’). A dull coat that has lost its shine suggests there could be health problems, or sometimes it’s dietary deficiencies e.g. low fatty acids from longer term low-fat diets.”
It is also a good idea to periodically check your pet’s skin and coat for any sore spots, hair loss and inflammation. If you suspect your dog’s coats is not in good condition, a trip to the vet is important to ensure you get on top of any allergies and problems. Dr Vogelnest is quick to remind owners that thicker skin with more wrinkles and darker colour occurs when there is chronic inflammation.
“Dog’s with skin problems that are smelly, and especially itchy, will often have secondary bacterial or yeast infections, and the itch can reduce markedly if these are accurately diagnosed and effectively treated,” Dr Vogelnest suggests. “Checking with a local vet interested in skin disease, or with a veterinary dermatologist for problem cases, maximizes the chances of effective diagnosis and treatment to help reduce smell and increase comfort for dogs and owners!”