senior cat laying down

Senior pets, or those roughly over the age of 7, make wonderful companions. They are already settled in their personality, have training mastered, and have won us over with their loving ways. There’s nothing better than owning a senior pet, but it sometimes comes with certain conditions that coincide with aging.

If your loveable senior has been smelling like less than a bouquet of roses, there may be an underlying health reason. Let’s get to the bottom of this smelly situation to see why your older dog smells bad and what you can do about it.

What Causes the Senior Pet Stank?

Naturally, most dogs smell a little musky because they have oils in the skin that emit that unique doggie smell. While it’s okay to have a bit of smelly dog odor going on, a lingering or foul indicates something that needs medical attention.. 

Some of the following conditions can cause your older dog to smell.

  1. Kidney disease – Kidney disease is when the kidneys become compromised which leads to kidney failure over time. If the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, toxins build up in the system and cause a bad smell, especially from the mouth. 
  2. Incontinence – As a pet ages, they can sometimes experience increased accidents as they are less able to “hold it”. This condition occurs when the muscles of the urinary tract weaken. The increased accidents can cause foul odor unless your pet is shampooed often. 
  3. Dental disease  – Dental or periodontal disease is common in pets over the age of 3 years. The buildup of plaque and tartar can eventually lead to periodontal disease, tooth decay, and of course, halitosis. 
  4. Poor grooming habits – As pets age, they may experience arthritis and other health conditions that limit their ability to self-groom. Lack of self-grooming creates a musky or foul smell over time, since the oils and excess dander build up on the skin and coat.
  5. Impacted anal glands – Your dog has two small, pea-sized sacs on the sides of the rectum. These glands are responsible for scent-marking, basically communicating to other dogs. Sometimes, in older dogs, the oils get impacted and make for a bad odor.
  6. Gas – The going joke of every dog owner when a stink is emitted is to blame Fido – but in this case, it is Fido. Older pets tend to have more sensitive digestive tracts which can cause flatulence. 
  7. Infections – Many pets with allergies or other skin disorders can acquire infections and scabs on the skin. Ear infections and urinary tract infections are also common in dogs and cause a foul smell. This is why inspecting your pet’s skin, ears, and so on during grooming is important to note any abnormalities.

Other causes of an unusual odor in an older dog include diabetes and just plain stinky dog smell. Diabetes, while causing breath odor, usually causes a sweet smell to the mouth. If your pet is getting into things outside, rolling around in stinky stuff, or hasn’t had a bath in over a month, you can guarantee they won’t smell like potpourri. 

Help! My Older Dog Smells Bad!

If your older dog smells bad, you will want to get to the cause of the stench. Bad smells usually mean there is a health problem that needs addressed. To help your sweet pet, please call your friends at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital and we can get started on the right treatment for them.