Death is a part of life as much as birth, although that does not make coping with your dog’s death any easier. A dog will often emit a smell in the days before it eventually passes away, although you might not notice it right away. Many dog owners describe this smell as being different rather than putrid or strong. The smell of your dog does not always mean death, however, and can indicate a variety of issues.
Why Do Dogs Smell Before Death?
While your dog’s strange odor might be a result of a different diet, rolling around in something outside, or other health problems, sometimes you are just smelling your dog’s death. Especially in older dogs, failure in the liver or kidneys commonly emits a different smell to the one you are familiar with. This odor is usually not unpleasant, just different from the usual.
In dogs with cancer, the smell of rotting tissue inside the body usually releases distinctive smells. There are some signs that go with this dog smell, whether your pooch is suffering from a disease or simply old age. When sleep is the main task during your dog’s days and you see a change in behavior, such as withdrawal, you might begin to smell this odor.
In the days before death, your pet’s organs will begin to deteriorate and eventually dissolve. The body and the organs start shutting down, which often leads to significant weight loss even when you feed your dog. This process happens faster in some dogs, and you might not notice it happening. This deterioration also explains a reduction in strength and energy in your dog.
Another factor that adds to your dog’s distinctive smell before death is the lack of liquids that your dog consumes when it is close to death. This natural process means your dog will eat and drink less and will develop a very dry, sticky mouth and throat. Depending on your scenario, your mutt might have diarrhea or throw up any food it consumes, which also adds to the smell that you might sense before death.
Other Signs That Your Dog Is Dying
Apart from your dog’s smell, there are other signs that your dog is reaching the end of its life. Some dogs will have more severe symptoms, while other dogs will die quickly without much of any warning. The most common signs are a loss of coordination, a loss of appetite, confusion, and vomiting, among many more.
Contrary to popular belief, most dogs do not want solitude when they die, although most dogs will be less playful and energetic before they die. When your dog is dying, it will often lose the qualities that make it unique and eventually pass on. Each dog dies differently, just as every dog lives differently.
Other Reasons Why Your Dog Smells
If your dog is healthy and you still smell a bad odor when you are around it, there are a number of factors that can cause it. Some reasons for your dog’s stench are more obvious than others, although others are more difficult to detect. Many health problems that cause a bad-smelling dog are treatable and preventable, and discovering them early can save you time and money.
The most basic and treatable reason why your dog smells so bad is that it might have rolled around outside in something nasty. Some dogs are into rolling around in animal droppings, while others love playing around with skunks. Outside, some dogs are magnets to bad-smelling things and often end up with those scents on their coat, which means that you have to fix it.
Another treatable cause of a dog’s bad smell is allergies. Instead of showing up in sneezing and a stuffy nose as in humans, dogs naturally respond to allergies with skin conditions. When your dog sniffs something that does not agree with its system or eats something it should not, you will often see the effects on its skin. The skin tends to become itchy, and your dog can cause further damage by scratching.
If you want to treat your dog’s skin reaction once and for all, a few baths will not do the trick. In most cases, you will need to take your dog to the vet and use medication to reduce the inflammation and irritation of the skin. Other skin conditions that cause skin irritability or flaky skin are usually treated using special medications and sometimes medicated baths. Treatment will get rid of the bad dog smell.
How to Minimize Your Dog’s Smell
Despite all the measures you take to keep your dog clean, all dogs will smell to some extent. However, there are a few things you can do to cut any other factors that add to your dog’s smelliness. Some of these ideas are things you can do to mask or cut out the cause of the smell, while others are guidelines to know if/when your dog picks up an illness.
Many dogs get a dental disease at some point over the course of their life, which does not smell good. If your dog’s breath is especially bothersome, brush your dog’s teeth often to stave off bad dog breath. Specific breeds of dogs get ear infections often, especially those that spend a lot of time in the water. Very smelly ears and head-shaking indicate an ear infection, which requires a vet visit.
Another medical condition that afflicts dogs commonly and results in a bad smell is issues with the anal sacs. If your dog is rubbing its backside on the floor frequently or licks back there more than usual, consider taking it to the vet to sort out any issues. Late-stage diabetes and flatulence after eating unhealthy foods, such as animal remains, also result in especially bad-smelling dogs.
To lower these issues, check what your dog is putting in its mouth, and in the case of diabetes, brushing its teeth can help a bit. Some conditions that cause a bad smell in your dog are worse than others and need medical treatment to reduce any negative effects. Another way to minimize the smell of your dog is by keeping its body clean, including teeth, ears, body, and everything in between.
When your dog is reaching its last days, you will probably smell the odor from its body slowly breaking down. This process will cause changes to your dog’s behavior as well, which varies between cases. This is not always the reason why your dog smells bad, however, as a variety of other factors can cause odd odors.
Some cases, such as your dog running into a skunk or something smelly, are not serious and you can solve them by cleaning your dog. Other cases, such as skin or ear infections, need medical intervention and might develop into serious ailments if you leave them untouched.
You can limit the smell of your dog in many ways, with processes suited for every unique situation. While some cases require you to see the vet, such as diseases, you can handle others by simply maintaining good personal hygiene for your dog. There are a number of products on the market that you can tap into to keep your dog smelling fresh, although a lot of it comes down to your actions.
We also have another article talking about whether dogs can die in their sleep. This would be a great follow up to this read….