Spring is a great opportunity to get outside with your dog and enjoy the warm weather after months of cold and snow. But after you come back inside from your springtime activities, you might notice that your dog carries strong odors at this time of the year. Keep reading for the top 5 reasons why dogs can smell bad in the spring.
1. Humid Spring Days
Your dog's fur naturally carries lots of microorganisms like bacteria and yeast that release excrement. When your dog is dry, this excrement is odorless. On days with high humidity, however, the H20 in the air breaks down the chemical bonds that hold the micro-excrement together. This is what causes the pungent wet dog smell.
Humid air can also hold more molecules than dry air, which means even more smelly micro-excrement molecules can make their way into your nose. In addition, one study found that humidity and changes in air pressure can increase your olfactory sensitivity, making strong odors even more noticeable.
2. Rainy Spring Days
Just like on humid days, the moisture from the rain interacts with the microorganisms living on your dog's fur. As the rain starts to evaporate from their fur, it carries the micro excreta that the bacteria and yeast release with it, so you smell it in the air.
For some dogs, this problem can be worse than others. Dogs that naturally have wrinkles or large skin flaps, like Chinese Shar-Pei, Pugs, and Bulldogs, retain more moisture within those wrinkles. This higher moisture level means your dog is more likely to hold on to that wet dog smell for longer.
Just like in humans, your dog's allergies can flare up in spring as the pollen comes out, and warmer, more humid weather exacerbates allergy symptoms.
Allergies can present themselves in a number of ways, but skin irritation is very common. If your dog is scratching more often than usual, allergies may be causing inflammation on their skin, which is the source of the smell.
Other dogs may experience anal gland issues as a result of allergies. If your dog slides their bottom along the ground as if they're scratching or rubbing it, this is a sign that their anal glands are impacted or infected. With these issues often comes a strong, fishy smell.
4. Ear Infections
In the spring months, your dog is probably spending more time wet than usual – between rain showers and baths after rolling in the mud. If your dog's ears don't dry completely, the moisture can lead to an ear infection which is often accompanied by an unpleasant odor.
Ear infections are especially common in breeds with floppy ears where fluid is more likely to get trapped, like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels.
5. Hot Spots
Hot spots are a common skin condition in dogs. They're patches of skin lesions, typically covered by moist, matted fur. These irritated patches of skin pop up more frequently in the spring for a variety of reasons:
- Higher humidity in the air
- Environmental allergies
- Excess moisture on your dog's skin
- Skin infections
Another major reason that hot spots develop is from flea or tick bites. While fleas and ticks are a problem year-round in some areas, many places see a resurgence of them in the spring as the weather starts to warm up.
Quick Tips to Keep Your Dog Smelling Fresh this Spring
There are lots of factors that can lead to stronger odors on your dog during the spring. But thankfully, there are a few things you can do to combat unpleasant smells. Here are 5 quick tips to minimize the stink and keep your dog smelling fresh:
Regular Baths and Grooming
Most of the odors that your dog carries are caused by the microorganisms living in their fur. While a certain amount is completely normal, you can cut down on the bacteria and yeast with more baths and regularly brushing your dog's coat.
Be careful not to bathe your dog too frequently and always dry them off completely to prevent skin irritation.
Clean and Dry Your Dog's Ears
Cleaning your dog's ears regularly (at least once a month) can prevent the buildup of bacteria that often leads to ear infections. You can use a cotton ball and a vet-recommend cleaning solution to get the job done.
Always make sure that your dog's ears dry completely after cleaning, as well as anytime they get wet outside. Use a soft cotton or paper towel to gently rub around your dog's ear flap and around the opening of the ear canal.
Completely Dry Your Dog Off
Just like with your dog's ears, it's important to make sure the rest of their body is completely dry after getting wet. Dry your dog off completely after every bath, or any time they come inside from the rain and humidity.
If your dog has a long or thick coat, using a thick towel and a blow dryer on the cool setting can help speed up the drying process.
Check-in With Your Vet About Allergies and Anal Gland Issues
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from allergies, always consult with your veterinarian, especially for anal gland issues. Anal glands can become impacted and infected over time, but your vet can express them safely.
Flea and Tick Prevention
With flea and tick season beginning in full force, it's important to make sure your dog is protected. Talk to your veterinarian about flea and tick prevention medication, and always inspect your dog's fur thoroughly when they come inside.
Should You Be Worried About Your Dog's Springtime Odors?
It's completely normal for most dogs to smell a little stronger in the springtime. Between the humidity and the rain, you're bound to experience a little wet dog smell! But as long as you take the necessary precautions to keep your dog warm, dry, and safe from fleas and ticks, your four-legged friend will be happy and (mostly) odor-free.
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