Smelly Pets and Seven Ways to Deal with Them

4 min read

By Patricia Khuly, DVM

Got a pet who’s conditioned you to believe that his loving presence is worth all his foul odors? If your pet smells nasty then you probably know exactly what I’m talking about (though some of you may be in denial). Everyone else thinks he stinks and stays away. But you? You love him, aroma and all. 

Nonetheless, there is something you can do about her chronic malodor, especially if she falls into one of the following categories of stinkiness. Read up on the concern and, for best results, internalize their listed solutions.

1. The skin sufferers


If the surface of your pet’s skin’s smell is reminiscent of rotting fruit, something freshly dug up from deep underground, or just plain dogginess, you’ll know what I mean. 

Solution: Whether this happens year-round or is limited to certain seasons, pets with certain skin conditions such as allergic skin disease and keratinization disorders (characterized by greasy and/or flaky skin), treatment of the underlying disease is generally effective in reducing or eliminating the odors associated with skin infections that accompany it. 

Medicated shampoos and antibiotic and/or antifungal treatments are often necessary, at least at first and/or periodically, to tamp down the offending bacteria and/or yeast

2. The gaseous ones


You know who you are.


Solution: Determining whether your pet has a condition such as intestinal parasitism, IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) or a pancreatic malfunction (as in EPI or “exocrine pancreatic insufficiency”) is crucial. But most pets who suffer excessive flatulence are merely exhibiting a mild intolerance to one or more ingredients in their diets. 

Treatment of the primary dysfunction depends on the disease process, of course, but for those who suffer simple digestive intolerances may be helped either with probiotic supplements or through a process of trial and error with respect to diet choices. Carefully switching diets with varying ingredients until a minimum of flatulence is achieved is often fruitful in this regard. 

3. The wildlife devotees

These are the pets that stop, drop and roll at the sights and smells of a rotting carcass or raccoon feces (the foulest smelling scat on the planet). Maybe she’s a chronic, stray cat poop consumer (like my Sophie), or a skunk tracking wonder-dog. 

Solution: Restriction of a pet’s yard-based or hiking activities is usually not advisable. They need an outlet for their natural drives––and the exercise, of course. Picking up scat in your yard is helpful, as is special fencing to reduce encroachment by certain wildlife species (if you must). 

Alternatively and/or additionally, treating the resulting foul odors can be achieved through an excellent, freshly brewed mix of hydrogen peroxide (1 quart), baking soda (1/3 cup) and a dash of a grease-cutting dish soap like Dawn (my favorite). 

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