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Stinky Dog

by Kathleen
(North Carolina)

Help! I have a very stinky dog. Montana is approximately 6 years old. He weighs 62 lbs. and is a Belgium Malinois Mix...(we think.)

Anyway, he smells terrible. It doesn't matter whether he has just had a bath... nothing seems to help!

Montana eats a dry dog food called Just Six by Nutrish. I mix this with a slice of Fresh Pet moist food and water. He eats twice a day, and he gets two regular walks per day. He spends part of his day in a fenced 1/4 acre lot with pine straw and trees. I do notice that he seems to smell worse after exercise.

Only other issue I have with him is that he has very long nails, and has a fit if anyone tries to trim them. Otherwise, he is a wonderfully mellow rescue dog with no problems. His poops are good - he goes twice per day on average. Interestingly, he doesn't drink a lot of water even though it is always available to him.

As far as medications, we give him Frontline Plus every 10 weeks during the summer for flea prevention, although he's never had a flea problem. He's up to date on his vaccinations.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have.


Comments for Stinky Dog

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Dec 23, 2011
My Online Vet Response for: Stinky Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Kathleen,
There can be a number of reasons that your male neutered Belgian Malinois (similar to a German Shepherd in appearance) has a bad body odor.

You did not mention the condition of his teeth, nor his ears. Increased tartar on the teeth, combined with gingivitis and periodontal disease, can create bad mouth odor. Since dogs lick their coat/hair, this will spread the foul odor to their skin.

Chronic yeasty ears will also give dogs a bad odor.

Leaky anal glands may also contribute. Dogs will lick their rectal areas to clean themselves, not only giving them bad breath but also imparting the smell to their skin and hair coat.

Consider taking him to a conventional vet where he can have his teeth cleaned, ears examined, anal glands expressed and nails trimmed all under a mild sedation! Certainly not holistic advice, but this might solve some of the problems.

But to MAINTAIN his health and to prevent more body odor, I would also suggest an improvement in diet.

"Just Six" by Nutrish, a Rachel Ray product, states that it only contains 6 ingredients. I checked out the dry Lamb and Rice formula that you are feeding. It contains Lamb meal, Brown rice, ground rice, beet pulp, chicken fat, and chicken flavor.

Lamb meal as the first ingredient is not as healthy as actual lamb meat. See our page on how to read a dog food label, which goes into more details.

According to the FDA:

"Meat meal is not meat per se, since most of the fat and water have been removed by rendering. In the AAFCO Official Publication, "meat" is defined as the 'clean flesh of slaughtered mammals and is limited to...the striate muscle...with or without the accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew, nerve and blood vessels which normally accompany the flesh.' On the other hand, "meat meal" is 'the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of any added blood, hair, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents.' Thus, in addition to the processing, it could also contain parts of animals one would not think of as 'meat'."

Also, since it is a DRY DOG FOOD, it is not as healthy as a canned or RAW dog food. For health to be maintained, dogs need adequate moisture in their diet, especially since you mentioned that he does not really drink much water.

The Fresh Pet brand seems to be a little healthier, although most of the selections they offer seemed to contain eggs. If your dog is prone to flatulence, eggs may be more difficult to digest, creating more gas, so this brand may not be the best to feed your dog (Soy, fat, red meat and eggs tend to produce more flatulence in dogs).

Continued in PART TWO below...

Dec 23, 2011
My Online Vet Response for: Stinky Dog PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Kathleen,
Here is the rest of my response...

Your dog seems to be getting adequate exercise, therefore you must make sure that you are feeding him enough calories. A 65 lb dog needs at least 750-800 calories per day, or 375-400 calories two times daily. Check out our page on the 10 Best Dog food options and consider some of the Raw Dog Food diets. The Fresh pet Chunky Beef Vegetable and rice contains about 600 calories per lb. Therefore, you would need to feed a little over 1/2 lb per meal two times daily.

Also, I would consider switching from the Frontline Plus to a more natural form of flea/tick prevention. See our page on alternative suggestions for flea control. In my experience, Frontline products do a better job at repelling ticks than fleas. And if you do not see any fleas, then your dog may not need the Frontline.

If you have improved his diet, and his teeth are cleaned, ears and anal glands are normal, and he STILL has a bad odor, I would suggest seeking the help of a holistic veterinarian.

You stated that "he's up to date on his vaccinations", he may be OVER vaccinated. A holistic veterinarian may be able to help with homeopathic remedies and supplements to treat more un-conventional problems such as 'vaccinosis'.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Vaccination Schedule,
- Dog Dental Hygiene & Mouth/Gum/Teeth Problems,
- Dog Grooming Instructions,
- Dog Nail Trimming,
- Dog Ear Cleaning

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