Dog odor skin problems can be caused by many things. A diagnosis can be helped if you know when the problem started and if there were any changes to your dogs diet. For example odor problems that come and go can be due to seasonal allergies.
The treatment of dog odor skin depends upon the cause. Fungal infections are usually treated with medicated shampoos. Oral anti-fungal medications are also sometimes used.
Bacterial infections are treated with oral antibiotics. Topical medications are sometimes used as well, but your dog may lick these off before they have time to be effective.
In general, you can try treating an odor problem by bathing your dog in a medicated shampoo for seborrhea or yeast infections. If that doesn't work, then some combination of antibiotics and topical treatment is warranted.
Causes and Treatment of Dog Odor Skin
There are several causes of dog odor skin:
Yeast infection (Malassezia)- symptoms of this fungal infection include red, scaly skin that also appears greasy. It also causes a foul smell.
Treatment of canine yeast infection is usually with ketoconazole, itraconazole and fluconazole. Look for products that act as a keratolytic, anti-seborrheic (anti-dandruff). Treatments that are applied to the skin only work half the time and should contain the ingredients Selenium sulfide (known as Selsun Blue) and/or Miconazole (brands such as Nizoral®, Dermazole®, Resi-zole® skin conditioners).
A home remedy for preventing yeast infections in dogs that frequently get infections is a vinegar and water rinse (1 part vinigar to 5 to 10 parts water).
Anal glands/sacs - these glands secrete an oil that is used to mark territory. If these glands become infected, they produce a thicker than normal fluid that smells bad. AnalGlandz is a herbal supplement made to treat infected anal glands in dogs naturally.
Bacterial infection- bacteria on your dog's skin can cause an infection. This will initially look like red pimples, but can develop into sores if not treated. The sores will have a foul odor. Hypothyroidism can be an underlying condition causing the bacterial skin infection.
Treatment of bacterial canine skin infection is usually a combination of antibiotics that are given for 6 weeks or more (ampicillin, cephalexin, enrofloxacin, clindamycin, clavulinc acid, sulfer are common ingredients) and topical skin treatments (shampoos containing benzoyl peroxide, Chlorhexidine or Mupirocin). A shampoo brand to consider is Pyoben Shampoo. Leave the shampoo on your dog 10 to 15 minutes or as directed by the manufacturer.
Injury - if your dog has a wound that becomes infected, it can develop a bad odor. This will usually be accompanied by yellowish drainage from the sore. Consider an ointment made for wound care such as Wound Dr. to heal pet wounds. Consult with your veterinarian.
Allergies - these can cause sweating (hyperhidrosis), which gives off a musty odor. (Dogs do not normally sweat, but they do have sweat glands, and allergies can cause these glands to produce a sweat-like substance.) Sometimes you can diagnose allergy if the odor only occurs during certain seasons or after a new food has been introduced into the diet.
Ear infections- this can cause the skin around the ear to have a bad smell. Consider a natural supplement such as Ear Dr.
Medication- some medications cause a bad smell as a side effect. The smell will go away when your dog stops taking the medication. Don't stop giving your dog his medicine without talking to your vet.
If your dog's odor is caused by a skin disorder like one of the problems discussed above, don't bathe him excessively trying to remove the odor. It won't work, and excessive bathing will be irritating to his skin and may cause further skin problems.
Recent Advances In Canine Infectious Diseases