Why do dogs smell after going outside? Have you ever taken your dog outside smelling perfectly fine and then brought it back in to catch a whiff of a foul odor? This is common among dogs, so do not be too alarmed. Many different factors contribute to your dog’s smell. Once you understand these factors, it is easy to treat the problem and prevent it from occurring again.
Before scrolling down this article “Why Do Dogs Smell After Going Outside,” check out these other questions: Why Does My Dog Drool in the Car and Why Does My Dog Growl At Me At Night?
Why Does Your Dog Smell After Going Outside?
Dogs can sometimes be smelly, and there are many reasons for that. There are both environmental reasons for your dog’s odor as well as biological reasons. Identifying these reasons can help you address the problem more efficiently.
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1. Environmental Reasons
The environment around your dog plays a significant role in the odor your dog will emit. For example, when your dog goes outside, it can develop smells similar to those found in the air around it. Therefore, these environmental factors directly affect the scent of your dog.
Probably the most recognizable odor when it comes to dogs is the wet dog smell. This is the smell that exudes your dog when it has been outside in the rain or snow.
However, you may have noticed this smell even when it has not been raining or snowing. This is common in humid climates because, although we cannot see the moisture in the air, it is still there.
The earthy smell that many dogs develop after being outside is commonly caused by…you guessed it, the earth. Specifically, this smell comes from dirt and soil that your dog comes into contact with. This debris gets stuck in your dog’s coat while outside, creating this distinct smell.
When your dog goes outside, he shares his space with the rest of the wild animals. Many of these animals have pungent smells that can rub off on your dog. Skunks are the most common culprit for creating smelly dogs.
Skunks spray thiol as a defense mechanism when they are feeling threatened. Thiol is a sulfur-based compound, giving it a strong and unmistakable smell. Unfortunately, most dogs do not learn to stay away from skunks until it is too late.
Skunks are often startled by the energy and curiosity of dogs, resulting in many dogs being sprayed. In addition, this scent is exceptionally long-lasting, resulting in incredibly smelly dogs for uncomfortable amounts of time.
The best way to prevent this from happening is by keeping your dog leashed in areas where skunks may be present. This way, you can pull your dog away if you need to.
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Similar to skunks, many bugs emit harsh smells that can transfer onto your dog. If your dog is fond of chasing and catching bugs, as many dogs are, they may fall victim to one of these stinky suspects. As their name suggests, stink bugs are one of the most common reasons dogs smell after going outside.
These bugs have an odor that is often compared to cilantro mixed with sulfur, ammonia, burning tires, and spoiled meat. So, as you can see, you have quite the smell to look forward to when your dog picks up one of these bugs on his walk.
6. Waste and Remains
Most of the smells on our list are caused by harmless things. However, animal waste and remains can pose a significant health risk to your dog. Animal waste, such as feces and urine, can be dangerous to dogs as they contract parasites and pathogens.
In addition to these health risks, rolling around in animal waste will make your dog smell bad. Some dogs may even ingest this waste, which affects the smell of their breath as well.
Animal remains can also make dogs extremely ill. There are dead animals to be found in the wild. Unfortunately, dogs have a natural hunting instinct, meaning they are highly driven to seek out the remains.
Once they have found these remains, dogs often roll around because of the strong scent. Dogs will roll around in remains in an attempt to make their scent the dominant one. Unfortunately, the only thing you will be able to smell is the overwhelming stench of rotting.
Related: Best Dog Waste Disposal System.
If you live in an industrial area, you may notice the smell of pollutants getting caught in your dog’s fur. High traffic areas also have this effect. When you let your dog outside, you may find it begins to smell like a factory or car emissions. This is simply because these things are polluting the air and rubbing off on your dog.
8. Biological Reasons
Now that you have considered the environmental reasons your dog smells after going outside, it is time to look at the biological reasons for this phenomenon. Some of these factors affect certain dog breeds more than others, so keep that in mind when determining the source of your dog’s smell.
9. Anal Glands
One of the most common biological factors that cause dogs to smell is their anal glands. Every dog has two anal glands, also known as anal sacs, on its backside. These glands are responsible for secreting fluid when your dog has a bowel movement.
This fluid helps identify your dog to other dogs. Unfortunately, this secretion carries a powerful odor, especially when dogs are experiencing complications with their anal glands.
Dogs with impacted anal glands will develop a strong smell often compared to fish. This smell worsens when your dog tries to go to the bathroom because the secretion is not happening correctly.
Dogs with anal gland impaction can carry this smell indoors with them. Visit a veterinarian if you think your dog is suffering from impacted anal glands. Your dog’s vet will be able to clean the anal glands, which will alleviate the smell and discomfort.
10. Merocrine Glands
Contrary to popular belief, dogs do have glands that produce sweat. These glands are called merocrine glands and are located on the bottom of their paws.
These glands act the same way as human sweat glands by cooling your dog off when it gets too warm. In addition, the moisture from these glands can interact with other natural bacteria on the paws, creating an odor compared to Fritos.
Ear infections are common among dogs, especially those with floppy ears. This is because moisture and debris can get caught in the ear canal, causing pain and irritation.
Being outside can exacerbate this problem as your dog will come into contact with more moisture and particles that can get caught in the ear. In addition, ear infections in dogs typically include a pungent smell. If you think your dog has an ear infection, you should visit a veterinarian.
Your vet will be able to diagnose your dog and give it the proper medication needed to fix the condition. This may come in the form of ear drops or oral medication. The vet will also be able to give you suggestions to prevent future ear infections.
Dogs with wrinkles are more likely to develop a smell when they go outside. Like floppy ears, dogs with wrinkles can become smelly as bacteria grow from moisture and debris getting caught in their folds. Therefore, make sure to clean inside your dog’s wrinkles regularly. This will keep your dog clean and prevent a smell from forming.
How to Treat Your Dog’s Odor
As you can see, some of the reasons dogs smell after going outside are preventable, while others are harder to control. For cases that are unpreventable, there are easy ways to reduce the smell of your dog.
- Brush: Regularly brushing your dog can prevent the buildup of moisture and debris on their fur and skin. These buildups lead to the growth of bacteria which cause your dog to smell. After your dog goes outside, try giving it a quick brush to ensure that nothing is caught in its fur. This will reduce the likelihood that your dog will develop an odor after going outside.
- Wash: If you notice your dog begins to develop a smell, it may be time for a bath. It is important not to bathe your dog too often, though, because certain products can remove the natural oils from the skin, irritating. This often leads to a worsened odor. Instead, wash your dog once in a while or only when the smell worsens. Brushing will help with the time in between these baths.
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Conclusion For “Why Do Dogs Smell After Going Outside”
Both environmental and biological factors affect the smell of your dog after going outside. Some of these factors are easily avoidable, while others are not.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to reduce the smell of your dog. Just remember, all dogs have an odor, but when the odor worsens, it can be a sign of a medical problem that needs addressing.
For more related guides, you can check out:
- Do Goldendoodles Smell Bad And Stinky?
- Do Labradoodles Smell Bad And Stinky?
- Best Dog Food For Bad Breath
To learn more about this topic, you can watch “Dr. Becker Discusses Why Dogs Stink” down below:
Andy is a full-time animal rescuer and owner of a toy doodle. When he’s not saving dogs, Andy is one of our core writers and editors. He has been writing about dogs for over a decade. Andy joined our team because he believes that words are powerful tools that can change a dog’s life for the better.
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