Let’s face it: sometimes, dogs smell. They smell like fish, smell like poop, smell like skunk, and smell like, well, wet dog! However, you’ve noticed that your dog has started to smell in particular circumstances. For example, you let your dog out to do his business in the morning, and when he comes back inside, he smells awful. It’s not unbearable, but you’re concerned for your canine friend (and your nostrils). What if it’s a sign of a deeper problem? So, you ask the internet, why does my dog stink after going outside?
Dogs smell bad after going outside because of interacting with other animals, rolling around in poop, getting wet, or having indigestion. Odors may also be caused by severe health conditions such as infections and abscessed sacs.
This article will focus on what makes your dog stink and what you can do about it.
Reasons Why Dogs Stink After Going Outside
When a dog goes outside, the freedom can cause them to get into a lot of mischiefs. Naturally, they are bound to end up in a stinky situation. However, there are 6 common reasons why dogs stink that I’ll share below:
Your Dog Pooped
Dogs don’t smell like a bouquet of roses after going to the bathroom, and well, no one does. So when your dog returns and smells bad, it could be due to lingering odors or excess poop that clings to your dog.
In addition, dogs have two glands called anal sacs that coat their poop in a liquid that smells a certain way, often described as fishy.
He Ate Something Bad For Him
Think about it:
When you go to Taco Bell and order their Bean Burrito with extra cheese, queso, and beans, your stomach will be upset later.
- Your stomach will do flip-flops.
- You’ll have unbelievably terrible gas.
Now, imagine you found a dead animal that’s been sitting in your backyard for who-knows-how-long, and you ate in one sitting. Because your dog doesn’t have as much common sense as a typical human, he will eat whatever he finds in your backyard–including dead animals, poop, or fungus. These might upset his stomach, and when he comes inside, he’ll fart up a storm. So make sure to patrol your yard frequently to clean up poop, dead animals, and other detritus to prevent your dog’s indigestion and subsequent flatulence.
It’s Raining/There’s A Body Of Water Outside
When dogs get wet, they stink. We’ve all been there; after a bath, Spot somehow smells worse than he did when you began. Why? Well, families of microorganisms find their homes on your dog’s skin, like bacteria and yeast.
They leave behind organic compounds as waste, and when your dog gets wet, these organic compounds evaporate with the water, creating the signature Eau de wet dog. So avoid letting your dog outside when it’s raining or taking him to a place where there are large bodies of water.
On the other hand, suppose your dog loves the water or the rain, and you can’t bear the thought of him being separated from it. In that case, towel-drying will also reduce the odor because it reduces the amount of water (and therefore the evaporation rate) on your dog.
Your Dog’s Anal Sacs Are Impacted
When dogs poop, specialized glands called anal sacs coat their feces in a smell that essentially says, “Hey, this is my territory!” Unfortunately, these sacs fail on occasion. If they do not fully empty themselves of the fluid, it dries and creates a strong, fishy odor around your dog.
This is called “impaction.” In addition, he will display other signs of distress, like scooting along the ground, nipping at his butt, or whining in pain as he poops.
If you suspect that your dog’s anal sacs have been impacted, it is important to immediately take them to the vet. Impacted anal sacs can become infected and abscessed if not appropriately treated.
He Encountered A Skunk
If your dog smells like burnt rubber or rotten eggs when he returns from the outdoors, chances are he found a skunk.
Skunks are notorious for being one of the stinkiest animals on Earth, spraying threats with a foul odor that sticks around for days. Sometimes, this is entirely by chance.
The skunk happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In other circumstances, the skunk is trying to colonize your backyard so it can raise skunk babies there, which means generations of stink will haunt your dog.
If your dog comes inside and he consistently smells like skunk, it’s time to tackle the skunk problem head-on.
Make sure to remove any food that you’ve left out in the open (and batten down your trash cans with a bungee cord or something similar) and take some time to cover up any animal-dug holes you find on your property.
He Rolled Around In Poop
For reasons not entirely understood, dogs love to roll around poop.
People have suggested a multitude of explanations (they’re trying to communicate with their pack by carrying the scent with them; they’re trying to cover up their scent so they can hunt more easily; they’re trying to cover up the poop-scent with his smell), but the fact remains: dogs roll in poop all the time.
So make sure to frequently clean up your yard, especially if you let your dog outside without accompaniment, so that your dog’s temptation is minimized. Also, if you catch your dog rolling around in poop, tell him “No!” and consider bathing your dog.
Yes, even dogs can get sneezy and goopy-eyed in spring. But for canines, allergies have the added terribleness of skin irritation. The allergies can cause the skin to produce more oil, creating a foul scent.
In some cases, this skin irritation also causes excessive scratching, far too much shedding, and “hot spots,” which are places where a dog has been continuously exposed to allergens and has lost lots of his fur.
If your dog presents these symptoms as well as a musty odor, you should take your dog to a veterinarian to seek out professional advice. They will be able to prescribe him medication that will limit or eliminate his allergies.
Why Do Dogs Smell Like Fish When They Come In From Outside
Dogs have a pair of specialized glands called anal sacs, which coat their feces in a smell that marks their territory. Unfortunately, these sacs don’t always do their job correctly.
Sometimes, they fail to empty the full content of their smelly liquid, and the remainder dries up inside the sac itself, which creates a strong, fishy odor.
Beyond the scent, your dog may display other signs of distress, such as biting his anus or rubbing his butt on the floor. His poop may have blood or pus in it as well. This is called impaction.
It is essential to immediately bring your dog to a veterinarian if you believe that your dog’s anal sacs are impacted. Impacted anal sacs can become infected or abscessed if they are not appropriately treated, which will cause your dog more pain.
What Makes A Dog Stink
Dogs can stink for many reasons: things they encounter, the food they eat, medical issues, the quality of their teeth, etc. Most of the time, it’s relatively harmless. But sometimes, the bad smell can be a consequence of a more significant issue.
There’s a whole range of foul things that your dog will run into in the great outdoors. For example, an encounter with a skunk, rolling around in poop, or eating an old animal carcass will make your dog smell bad. In addition, most dogs naturally smell bad after getting wet since stinky organic compounds evaporate along with water.
In general, dogs can stink because of their diet or poor hygiene. For example, a diet high in processed foods and carbs and low protein or fat will make a dog smell bad. Contact your veterinarian to ask for their advice about the proper diet for your furry friend.
If you fail to clean your dog twice a month, the microorganisms living naturally on your dog will build up and produce more and more organic compounds. In addition, the smells that your dog has accumulated will continue to grow, and your dog will stink. Make sure to give your dog a nice, soapy bath twice a month, and towel dry him once he’s squeaky clean.
Hygiene is just as important for our canine friends, and keeping your dog’s set of choppers sparkling white doesn’t mean you have to wrestle him down and stick a toothbrush in his mouth (although, there is special dog toothpaste for precisely this.
Never use human toothpaste to clean a dog’s teeth, since it is toxic for them). Instead, you can feed your dog dental treats, making tooth-cleaning more enjoyable and exciting for the dog, not to mention far more manageable for you.
Many chew toys also naturally rub plaque off your dog’s teeth, and there are some specially designed to clean dog teeth.
How Do I Keep My Dog From Stinking After Going Outside
It is vital to address the root cause of the issue because it’s rarely a problem with the dog itself. If you let your dog wander around in your backyard without supervision, make sure that your yard is clean and safe. Clean up any poop, animal carcasses, or mold that you find.
Look for holes in the ground. These are often signs of animal homes, which may attract skunks who repurpose old burrows. Cover them up with wire mesh or fill them.
Sometimes a dog stinks due to medical reasons, such as impacted anal sacs or seasonal allergies. In these cases, it’s essential to take your dog to the vet, who will be able to diagnose your dog and treat him effectively. In addition, it’ll reduce the stink in your household, and it will relieve any discomfort your dog might be experiencing.
Finally, wash your dog regularly. A dog should be bathed at least twice a month to remove excess oil and bacteria. If possible, towel-dry him since letting his fur air-dry will create a musty odor.
Remember: there are professional dog washers out there who would be happy to bathe your dog for a fee! If you find yourself unable to bathe your dog for whatever reason, you should take him to a professional, so he still gets the care he deserves.
Things To Consider
Dogs smell. It’s a fact that every dog owner eventually comes face-to-face with. Usually, it’s a natural musk, but sometimes, you can do something to prevent your dog’s stink.
As with most problems, your first goal should be determining the cause of the problem. For example, do you feed your dog a balanced diet (when dogs eat too many carbs and processed food, they can develop an odor)?
Are his teeth clean? Does he seem to have trouble pooping, or does he smell like fish (this could be a sign of anal sac impaction)? Do you wash him twice a month with soap? Or is it a problem with his environment? For example, is your yard free from poop, dead animals, and skunk dens?
Once you have determined the cause of the stink (and there might be several!), you can begin tackling the problem. In most cases, working with your veterinarian is a way to speed up the process and make it even more effective.
For instance, your vet would be more than happy to recommend dog food brands specific to your dog’s breed, weight range, and age. The vet will also diagnose your dog with any illnesses that the dog might be suffering from.
Finally, it is essential to remember the role that you have to play in keeping down your dog’s stench. First, you should bathe your dog with soap and water twice a month and towel-dry him if possible.
If you can’t bathe your dog, you should take him to a dog cleaner, so he’s still hygienic. You also should keep your yard free of foul-smelling objects, such as poop or dead animals, to keep your dog happy, healthy, and squeaky clean!