My Dog’s Poop Smells Like Death: My Nose Almost Fell Off (Literally!!)

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The dog really just did a number two and you gag on the toxic fumes wondering why “My dog’s poop smells like death“.

Dog feces can give us a lot of information about their health. On a daily basis, it is recommended that we monitor its appearance, consistency and also its smell, which is the point that we will develop in more detail below.

The strong smell is due to the fact that the dog’s body is not designed to absorb certain nutrients found in kibble diets. Dogs are not designed to absorb grains and other starches. Nor can they absorb the unnaturally high amounts of potatoes and peas used in many “grain” foods.

Types of abnormal poop: Overview

When the dog poops too often (more than three times a day), or does not poop often enough (less than three times a week), it causes excessive straining while pooping.

Dog poo should be compact, moist, and easy to grip – feeling a bit like Play-Doh when squeezed. Canine diarrhea or watery stools, as an indicator of intestinal upset, can be a sign that something is wrong with your dog’s tummy. And if your dog’s poop is hard or dry, it could be a sign of canine constipation.

My Dog’s Poop Smells Like Death: What is That Smell!!

In general, a particularly unpleasant and unusual odor indicates a digestive problem that could be due to a variety of causes. Providing your dog with a quality diet, worming, vaccinations, and taking him for regular veterinary checkups will help to prevent many of the problems related to foul-smelling stools. 

The olfactory capacity of dogs is much greater than that of humans and allows them to identify with each other, which makes the animal’s scent essential in its relationship with the world.

Each dog has its own characteristic smell, however, it gives off an unpleasant smell from its fur.

A dog with a balanced, species-appropriate diet, and one that is regularly washed and brushed, should not stink. If your pet has a bad odor, there’s a reason for it – and it could be a disease.

What is a Sign of Smelly Poop: Which is worst, Your Garbage Bin?

Dirty stool has an unusually strong, putrid odor. In many cases, foul-smelling stool occurs because of the food people eat and the bacteria present in their colon. However, dirty stools can also mean a serious health problem. Diarrhea, bloating or flatulence may occur with foul-smelling stool.

What does unhealthy dog ​​poop look like?

  • Black stools: bleeding high in the digestive tract can result in tar-colored stools.
  • Red streaks: this indicates bleeding in the lower digestive tract.
  • Gray or yellow stools: can indicate problems with the pancreas, liver, or gallbladder.

Some of the abnormal color patterns are:

Possible causes of bad smell in dogs:

  • Fungal infection;
  • anal gland problems;
  • flatulence;
  • infections on the face and ears;
  • bad breath;
  • improper diet or food allergies;
  • behavior.

Fungal infection: Bad smell in dogs

Fungal growth is a very common cause of a bad smell in dogs. They have a very strong and characteristic odor, which can even be compared to moldy bread.

If this scent is identified on your dog (especially around his ears), and he scratches a lot on his paws, ears, and backside, it could be a sign of a yeast infection.

Problems with the anal glands

Injured, infected, or inflamed anal glands can cause a bad smell in dogs. They are located in the rectum, one on each side of the anus.

When the dog defecates, these glands secrete an oily, strong-smelling substance (thought to be a territorial marker of the animal). If there is a buildup of these secretions from the anal glands, you may notice an aroma in your dog comparable to that of rotting fish.


Gas is normal and does not have such a strong odor in healthy dogs. However, if the smell of these gases expelled by the pet dominates the room, this could be a sign.

There are a few reasons your dog may have an excessive amount of gas. Are they:

  • a poor diet;
  • allergy to any food;
  • lack of digestive enzymes;
  • a dysregulated gut microbiota;
  • intestinal parasites.

If your dog has other symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, such as bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, weight loss, and itchiness around the anus, see a vet right away.

Face infections

If your dog has a bad smell and you don’t know where he’s coming from, try checking his face. Ear infections caused by fungi or bacteria generate a foul odor inside the ears of animals.

In addition to infections, the smell can also be caused by ear mites, parasites that secrete waxy substances that usually have a very strong odor.

If the problem isn’t in the ears, it could be around the eyes. Folds of fur, including the moist areas under dogs’ eyes, can gather fungi and bacteria that cause the stench.

This can be identified as fungal pyoderma or a skin infection that can occur in the creases of the lips, or under the eyes.

Bad breath: Shouldn’t smell So terribly bad

Of course, dog breath is not like human breath, but it still shouldn’t smell terribly bad.

Chronic bad breath in dogs usually has the same cause as halitosis in humans. The most common are: poor oral hygiene or gastrointestinal problems.

Bad eating habits

An inappropriate diet, composed of highly processed foods, is a risk factor for several diseases such as diabetes and cancer, and even causes a bad smell in dogs.


Many dogs like to play rolling around in feces, mud, and all sorts of places, leaving their “natural smell” not pleasant.

Some can even eat their own feces and those of other dogs. Another common habit of them is to carry decomposing animals with their mouths and play with them, or even take them as a gift to their owners.

All of these habits are part of your dog’s natural instinct. But you can also make him dirty less, limiting habits that can even harm his health.

Nutrition Problems: These We Might Overlook

Regardless of the chosen diet, the key is that it meets quality criteria and adapts to the life stage and characteristics of each dog. In this way, we not only cover your nutritional needs but also facilitate the use of ingredients and good digestion. 

So, in addition to a healthy dog ​​with a shiny coat, we will notice the quality of its stools. With good food, they will be smaller in size, consistent, and low in odor. 

Therefore, we can point to diet as a very common cause of foul-smelling stools.

A poor diet produces bulky stools: which are softer in consistency and are normally passed more often. For this reason, sometimes the problem only stops with a change in food or, if it is good, with the suppression of the extra human food that some caregivers give and may not be recommended for dogs.

 In the specialization courses, Assistant Veterinary Technicians (VTAs) are trained in nutrition, giving them basic knowledge about it. 

Therefore, if you have questions about the best diet for your dog, contact the ATV of your reference veterinary clinic. 

In addition to the quality of the food, there are other issues to take into account in our dog’s diet:

  • Abrupt changes in it may be behind a rapid digestive transit that affects stool. Therefore, it is always recommended that any modification be introduced gradually and over several transitional days, precisely to avoid digestive disorders.
  • food intolerance for meat, fish, eggs, cereal, etc., also triggers rapid transit. A food that very commonly affects traffic is milk. Dogs that are no longer puppies lack the enzyme needed to digest lactose and this is precisely what can cause digestive disorders.
  • Sometimes stools have a rancid or foul odor that can be associated with problems with digestion and fermentation processes. Poorly digestible ingredients that put more strain on the digestive system and spend more time in it can lead to poor digestion with fermentation, noise, flatulence and foul-smelling stools.
  • Also, bacterial overgrowth. In these cases, in addition to having to change the food and quality diet and administration schedule, it is possible that there is a need for pharmacological treatment prescribed by the veterinarian.

Regarding the bad smell in the dog’s feces, it is also important to note that the smell of food or cut milk can be explained by overfeeding. In such cases, the stool is also abundant and formless. It should be resolved simply by adjusting the portions to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Let Us Talk Some More About These Nutritional Factors:


If our dog is a puppy, especially in the first months of life, when he is most vulnerable, any change in his feces should be reported to the vet. In particular, there is a disease that causes feces with an unmistakable odor: it is canine parvovirus, a disease of viral origin, very contagious and serious.

In addition to this bad smell, the stools become diarrheal and often hemorrhagic. It is an emergency that the vet must attend to immediately. 

There is no specific treatment against the virus, but a supportive regimen is prescribed, which usually consists of fluid therapy, antibiotic therapy, and other drugs to control clinical signs. Given the severity, it is best to avoid vaccinating the puppy as per the veterinarian’s instructions.

Other infections can also occur. The diagnosis can only be determined by the veterinarian.


Some infestations caused by intestinal parasites, such as hookworms, can also cause bloody diarrhea that smells different than normal. In addition, giardia and coccidia are other more frequent, mucous and malodorous stool-related pathogens. 

Parasites are most common in dogs or debilitated adults, but they can affect all types of dogs. Hence the importance of deworming regularly and that, if clinical signs appear, the veterinarian identifies the parasite for specific treatment.

Absorption problems

Dogs are sometimes consuming a quality diet, but their feces are especially smelly. They often have that sour milk or food smell that we already mentioned and that can be related to absorption problems, usually originating in the small intestine or pancreas.

 These dogs are thin and malnourished, although they show an increased appetite as if they are always hungry, and the feces, in addition to smell, are abundant and greasy, sometimes staining the fur around the anus.

In these cases, the dog cannot absorb the nutrients that accompany the food. 

It is a malabsorption syndrome that will have to be diagnosed and treated by the veterinarian. Intestinal biopsies are usually required in addition to stool tests. Treatment depends on finding the cause.

Fast traffic

Any change in the digestive system can cause foul-smelling stools. In dogs this situation is not uncommon, as they tend to ingest any minimally edible substance with which they find themselves, such as household or street garbage, any leftover food even if decomposing, plastics, herbs or even dead animals. 

Although your stomach is well prepared to digest these types of materials, irritations can occur . This ended up causing rapid transit and, consequently, diarrhea, as there was no time to get the water out, with a bad smell.

It is often a mild disorder that resolves within a day of a bland diet. The problem is that if the diarrhea is profuse and the dog does not replace the fluids it loses, it can become dehydrated. 

It is a point of special attention in puppies, in adults weakened for some reason or in older specimens. In these cases, you have to go to the vet. And don’t take the risk of waiting for it to resolve spontaneously.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

The pancreas plays an important role in digestion, so when it stops producing its enzymes, the dog will not be able to absorb all the nutrients it needs.

 In this way, as in malabsorption syndrome, the dog will be thin even if you have a voracious appetite and eat more than normal. 

Your stool will be diarrheal, large, gray in color and musty smelling. The hair around the anus will be greasy. This type of stool guides the veterinarian for this diagnosis. Treatment includes enzymes to make up for the missing ones and control of feeding.


For all these reasons, if your dog’s feces smell very bad and the problem is not a poor quality diet, do not hesitate and go to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

This article is for information purposes only, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your animal to the vet if it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

Time for Some FAQ:

What does parvo feces smell like?

When the virus infects the villi and crypt epithelium, they become numb and cannot absorb nutrients because the microvilli are destroyed. The shedding of intestinal cells into diarrhea causes a distinctly sickly sweet smell that is indicative of parvo.

Does Vinegar Kill Dog Poop Germs?

For stubborn messes, Mike Sheridan, senior technician at Randy’s Carpet Care, suggests using a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water after you’ve cleaned the area to neutralize the PH so the stain doesn’t turn brown when it dries. (Another bonus to vinegar? It kills germs!)

Does vinegar get rid of dog poop odors?

Odor Removal: Vinegar is a natural deodorizer that removes musty odors caused by age, food, pet accidents and mustiness. Simply spray vinegar into the air or onto pet bedding. As the vinegar disperses, it removes unpleasant odors.

Can dogs get parvo from smelly poop?

It is caused by a virus that spreads through fecal-oral transmission. This means that the virus that causes parvo is transmitted in the feces of infected dogs. Other dogs can become infected by sniffing, licking, or ingesting feces or anything the feces has touched, even in microscopic amounts.

What color is parvo poop?

If canine parvovirus is present in their system, your puppy will vomit and have diarrhea. Vomiting may be clear or yellow or brown in color, and diarrhea will often contain blood and be pale yellow or mustard in color.

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