It’s safe to say that most of us adore that new puppy smell! There’s nothing better than taking in a good, deep whiff of your new, fuzzy bundle. That said, there may be times when you notice your puppy giving off other smells that aren’t quite so pleasing. Aside from the obvious reason of having rolled around in, or eaten, something unsightly, there are a number of causes for your puppy to be giving off an unpleasant odour.
Table of contents
Smells from the top end
Bad breath is one of the most common causes of a smelly puppy, and one key culprit is teething. When puppies lose their deciduous, or puppy, teeth as their permanent teeth come through, they will often try to chew or mouth objects. This can make the gums bleed a little and create an odd smell. This will generally stop as his adult teeth become established and his gums heal. This isn’t normally anything to worry about.
However, if you feel like it’s overpowering, or your puppy seems otherwise off colour then have him checked out. Don’t forget, your puppy’s mouth is a hefty source of bacteria! That said, it’s a great opportunity to practise. It is really important to get him used to you opening his mouth and gently brushing his teeth from a young age to try and minimise the dental disease that will come about as he ages.
Occasionally, a bad smell from the mouth can indicate something more serious like a foreign object stuck in the gums, a broken tooth or even a problem further down in his digestive tract. For example, some puppies can suffer from conditions affecting the oesophagus such as a diverticulum (an outpouching) or persistent right aortic arch (a fancy name for a vascular ligament which ends up trapping the oesophagus); these can prevent food from passing normally into the stomach. Some food can end up remaining in the oesophagus for longer. This can also create a nasty smell from the puppy’s mouth. However, puppies that have such conditions generally have other signs too.
Smells from the rear end
Sometimes a bad smell might be coming from down below. Flatulence, loose stools and irritation can be caused by intestinal parasites; changes made to his diet (including anything he’s gone and eaten of his own accord); or anal gland problems (although these aren’t so common in puppies). These can all make him seem to smell but, thankfully, are generally short lived and straight-forward to treat.
Everything in between
It’s clear that your puppy may simply smell because of something he’s come into contact with; we know they like to get into everything. If you know he hasn’t had the best start in life, he may well be a bit stinky because of being in unhygienic conditions. If your puppy is very young but obviously dirty, it’s ok to give him a wipe over with some cotton wool and warm water. Just be sure to dry him thoroughly and don’t let him get cold afterwards. Make sure he’s got a warm bed ready. Baths with gentle puppy shampoos (never human shampoo) are best left until your puppy is well settled into his new home to avoid too much stress.
Should your puppy seem to smell even though he’s clean, it may be that there’s something more to it. Ear infections, skin infections, hidden wounds or abscesses can all create unappealing smells, as can urine soiling because of urinary tract problems. Often, these are accompanied by other signs of your puppy being off-colour, but if you can’t see an obvious cause of an unexpected smell then it’s a good idea to book him in for a check-up with a local vet to make sure there’s nothing amiss, and get him back to smelling like roses!