A dog sniffing the air

There aren’t many reasons why people opt out of dog ownership, but if we had to guess, eau de dog might be one of them. It’s true: dogs have the tendency to truly stink from time to time. 

Unruly puppies cannot be easily deterred from rolling around in mud, garbage or poop, but as they age, these behaviors subside. Just when they start to mellow out, dogs can develop certain age-related health problems that cause unmistakable scents. While they may not be entirely welcome at home, the olfactory signatures of a smelly senior dog may reveal treatable health problems.

Getting to the Bottom Of It

If the smell is coming from their rear end it’s possible that their anal glands are impacted or infected. This situation can cause extreme discomfort, inability to pass stool, and a very obvious odor. Luckily, an examination can clear this up pretty quickly. 

On a Similar Note

If it’s not the anal glands, constant odors coming from the rear end could simply be from flatulence. Doggie toots are usually not subtle. A change in their diet can relieve some digestive issues, but sometimes gas can point to a larger medical condition just beneath the surface. Please let us know, and we’ll proceed together.

But, Wait. There’s More

A smelly senior dog may have incontinence issues. You may not realize at first that they leak urine, but over time bladder weakness may worsen. 

Under Their Skin

Many skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis, allergies, bacterial or fungal infections, or parasitic infestations can add to the odors of a smelly senior dog. Their skin dries out, causing itchiness and a faint or foul scent.  


Dogs suffer from various types of allergies, including food, flea, or environmental allergies. Skin inflammation can lead to an excess of skin oils that produce a musty smell. Yeast infections, including ear infections, can cause a deeply unsettling odor.

Putting the Chomp in Chompers

Tooth decay and gum disease have the potential to cause terrible breath. A smelly senior dog may have an increased risk for health problems related to poor dental hygiene. A close look at your senior dog’s teeth and gums is a big part of their bi-annual wellness check, and based on what we find, cleaning and radiographs under anesthesia may be necessary.

Speaking of Grooming

As they age, dogs may need a little extra help in the grooming department. Some extra bathing and brushing may really help the symptoms of a smelly senior dog.  Plus, if they have periodontal disease and they self-groom, oral bacteria can spread onto their coat.

A Word About Weight

A smelly senior dog may also be overweight, causing a decrease in flexibility. Going one step further, overweight or obese dogs can develop diabetes. One of the first signs they have this treatable disease? Funky, sweet-smelling, fruity breath.

A Sweet Smelly Senior Dog

Don’t worry. The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital can help your dog’s symptoms improve. Whether it’s a dental situation, diet, or dental problem, we’ve got your smelly senior dog covered.