Holistic Tails

Holistic Tails

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Help! My Dog Stinks!

Doggy odors have plagued our pets since time immemorial. But it's important to understand what odors are natural and which are not.

Dogs should have a mild doggy odor. They should not stink.  This is especially pronounced in the sporting breeds such as Labs, Goldens. Poodles and Yorkie type dogs don't smell much. The odor is faint and not particularly obnoxious.  When your dog gets wet, there is a sharpening of the odor, but again, it's not offensive.

If your dog suddenly begins to really stink, first check to see that he or she has not rolled in anything, or tangled with a skunk. Dogs love to roll in yucky stuff and they like to chase skunks!.If that's not the case,  you may be dealing with a skin allergy or infection.  Infections can be of yeast or bacterial origin (and many other causes).  Check for excessive itching, scratching, redness, pussy infections, hot spots (areas where the dog has scratched himself so as to cause a moist looking sore), hair loss, bald spots and the like.

Check also for fleas as some dogs have a flea allergy.  They are allergic to the saliva of flea.  Many dogs are not, so there will not be skin issues. A dog with an allergy to flea bites may have a bad skin reaction from one or two fleas, while other dogs can sport a hundred fleas with no skin infection.  If flea allergy is a problem and it hasn't progressed to the hot spot/skin infection state, try controlling the fleas.  There are several non-chemical solutions to fleas that you can find in your pet store. Remember also that if you have more than a few fleas on the dog, it's necessary to also treat the house as the flea spends most of its life off the dog and living in your rug. Diatomaceous earth and borax based powders are natural and work pretty well in the home.

Another cause of bad doggy smells is ear infection.  Ear infection is more common in dogs with drop ears, or ears that don't stand up, such as the Cocker Spaniel and the Basset Hound.  Dogs with ears that clog with hair like the Poodle are also prone to ear infection. The hair must be removed. A small amount of hair in the ears actually protects the ears, but when it clogs the ear canal, infection can result. The causes of ear infection vary from mites to yeast and bacteria.  Only a vet can distinguish the difference so if the ears smell bad and are secreting a dark brown waxy material or a yellowish liquidy material, see your vet immediately. Any swelling or bleeding in the ears should be seen by a vet immediately. Excessive ear scratching, head shaking or held at an angle is cause for alarm.

Another cause of doggy odors is poor diet.  Low quality kibble food can make your dog smell as well as produce a skin allergy.  Constant licking of reddened paws are often caused by food allergy. Buy your dog the best diet you can afford.  Organic is best.

Once the problem has progressed to infection, it's necessary to see a vet.  An allopathic vet will generally prescribe steroids and antibiotics.  These can harmful to the pet.  You might want to try a holistic vet who will prescribe homeopathic remedies before going the steroid route.  A friend of mine had a dog with recurring skin problems who didn't really respond well to the steroids, so she took him to a holistic vet who prescribed homeopathics and the dog responded well.  But it's important at this point to take the dog to the vet to access the problem.

A good bath is in order after figuring out what is causing the problem.  Your vet may prescribe a special medicated shampoo for you to use, or you can purchase a natural oatmeal shampoo that is mildly cleansing and soothing (as shown below).

So, be aware that if your dog smells really bad, there may be a problem that should be checked.  You don't want a stinky dog!

Love and Light, Georgia

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