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What’s That All About? – Smelly Dogs
Ever wondered why certain dog breeds smell more than others? In another fantastic episode of What’s That All About Pet Insurance Australia catches up with Specialist Veterinary Dermatologist Dr Linda Vogelnest, from the Small Animal and Specialist Hospital (SASH) to get the low down on why some dogs smell more than others.
It’s no surprise to many dog owners that some breeds have a certain musky odour while others dogs are virtually smell free. Some dogs only have a pungent smell after rolling in something ponky, while some breeds just seem to constantly emit a strong odour.
This is can be due to certain breeds having more oil glands on their skin surface. As Dr Vogelnest explains;
“Dog body odour can relate to their skin, or sometimes their mouths or ears if there are problems there,” she says. “In relation to their skin, the secretions from skin glands (sebaceous and epitrichial), along with populations of surface bacteria and yeast, can all smell.”
She reminds readers that just like with people, some smell more than others! PHEWY
“Some individual dogs have more glandular (‘oily’) skin and hair coats than others,” she says. “Dogs with inflamed skin (for all sorts of reasons, but commonly due to allergies) tend to have more active glands and higher populations of microbes on the skin, so tend to smell more.”
This is very true for some pet owners struggling with allergies. If you are familiar with an allergy suffering pet, you will be very familiar with the sickly sweet smell they can exhibit.
But what about wet dogs – why does a clean wet dog, always smell like a wet dog?
According to the experts this is due to our dogs having incredibly waterproof and weather proof coats. This is due to the oils on the surface of the hair. It takes quite a bit of scrubbing to remove all the oils and/or bacteria and yeast. Because of this, most pet owners never remove all of the oil, so your dog will omit a ‘wet dog smell’.
If your dog doesn’t suffer from allergies, over bathing them is not a good idea and can lead to a dry brittle coat. It’s also advisable to stay away from human shampoo, even if it does smell super fresh.
“Has been suggested best to avoid, due to human skin having a lower pH than dog skin, and human shampoos aimed for this more acidic skin,” Dr Vogelnest says. “There is a range of sensitive skin shampoos for dogs, which are recommended above human shampoos, particularly for dogs with skin problems.”
However, if your dog is super smelly and allergy free those herbal canine colognes can be beneficial to help beat the stench and still keep your pet happy and healthy.
“I advise to avoid artificial products, which may be irritant to skin, but natural ‘perfumes’ like oatmeal or a range of herbal smells seem fine,” Dr Vogelnest suggests. “Dog’s preference is often to use natural ‘perfumes’ like horse poo or rotting things to roll in … so I don’t think their preferences are the same as ours!”
Understanding Dog Skin
The skin is the largest organ of the body and acts as a barrier from environmental factors while also protecting our cuddly canine from dehydration. The skin is also very delicate and just like with our own, it needs to be taken care of.
The skin of a dog is actually thinner than that of humans, plus us two-legged variety (AKA humans) grow hair in a singular fashion, while canines will grow hair in bundles. When the hair reaches its genetic length, it will then die and shed, unlike with humans that can choose the length of the hair depending on the latest fashion trends.