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Dog Skin Odor – Skin and Coat

Dog odor control : Skin and Coat

Body odor can usually be traced to one of three causes: oily skin, bacteria or yeast present on the skin, or the dog rolled in something that has a foul odor.

Some dogs just love dirt and smelly foul matter! They cannot resist rolling in the most foul-smelling matter they can find – from dead fish to animal droppings, to who-knows-what. Some dogs seem to simply prefer a more odoriferous fragrance. If your dog rolled in something disgusting or was sprayed by a skunk, your veterinarian can offer advice on what shampoo would be the best for either situation.

Your dog’s skin is its largest organ and it’s an organ of elimination – everything is forced out by the immune system. All perfectly normal! The skin acts as a relief valve for this waste. Once the metabolic debris has reached the skin the normal bacteria on the skin tries to eliminate it. Problems occur when there is so much waste that the ‘self cleaning’ mechanism is overwhelmed. The odor is caused by the overabundance of decomposed waste matter left on the skin.

Under normal healthy conditions, a dog’s fur is self cleaning! The fur has tiny upward facing scales that constantly move debris and dirt away from the skin

The skin of some dogs produce excess oils (an oily hair coat), which can accumulate on the skin and become rancid. This condition is called primary seborrhea and is evidenced by yellowish-brown scales particularly at the elbows, hocks, and around the ears.

Seborrhea results in dry, flaky skin or greasy, foul-smelling skin (seborrhea oleosa).
Dogs with primary seborrhea are usually treated with shampoos. Owners often need to bathe their dogs two to three times a week with therapeutic shampoos just to control the symptoms and try to prevent skin infections. Unfortunately, skin infections occur, requiring treatment with antibiotics.

These conditions allow the skin to become easily infected with bacteria and yeast which further skin damage and increase the affected dog’s discomfort

A change in diet could be in order. The food you are using could result in an excess of oil in the skin and coat. You can ask your vet to recommend a food with a lower fat content.

Your vet can recommend a medicated shampoo with coal tar extracts. Let the shampoo work for 10 minutes before rinsing. Do not wash too frequently as oil glands will increase their output the more often you bathe your dog.

Bacterial skin diseases are more prevalent in certain dogs, and with bacteria comes odor. Yeast infections of the skin can also cause odor.

Anti-bacterial shampoos, particularly those with a deodorizing agent added can help control odor from bacteria. These formulations have ingredients that kill the skin bacteria that are not washed away during rinsing.

Anti-fungal shampoos such as those containing miconazole help to control yeast infections on the skin. Vinegar rinses with equal parts of vinegar and water can also help control yeast, although you dog now smells just like a pickle!

Mange is the common name for skin diseases due to parasitic Mites. It’s serious and uncomfortable, ugly and smelly, but quickly gets better with professional treatment from your vet.

Veterinarians usually treat mange by clipping, medicated baths, or sprays, as well as oral medication or injections.

Final thoughts:

Better nutrition, in general, could be a solution. An addition of vitamins and minerals and particularly biotin has been found to help dogs with odor.

Since you will likely be bathing your dog more often, use a fragrance-free hypoallergenic shampoo in case your dog is trying to cover up the fragrance you have selected with his choice of ‘natural perfumes’ such as dirt and smelly foul matter.

Frequent brushing and combing will help to promote good skin, remove odor-causing material from the hair, as well as the oils that lead to odor, and promote a healthy shiny coat.

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