Why Does My Dog Have A Sour Smell?

correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Yeast infection urinary tract infection and anal gland problems are some of the most common reasons your dog smells sour.

In this research you will know the answer to the query “Why Does My Dog Have A Sour Smell?“.

Dogs should not smell like a bunch of roses but they should not stink up the house either.

When a pet parent is accustomed to his dogs normal scent but that changed all of a sudden its not only unpleasant but also concerning.

Is there a reason why my dog smells sour?

It may be as simple as the dog rolling in some dirty patch outside and a quick bath will fix the problem.

Sour milk coming off your dog may be a symptom of a more serious health problem so you should check for other symptoms as well.

Most of the time a vet visit will resolve the underlying cause and your dogs presence will no longer be so irritating. 

We’ll examine the most common conditions that might cause your dog to smell sour in this article.

Urinary tract infection

It is more common for spayed female dogs to get urinary tract infections (UTI) but it can also occur in male dogs. 

In dogs UTI occurs when bacteria that colonize the skin and gastrointestinal tract get into the urinary tract. The most common cause of UTIs in dogs is bacteria (especially E.Coli) but fungi can also cause the infection. The dog would not just give off a bad smell from its nether regions; it will also give off a bad odor from its mouth as most dogs like to lick their genitals even when they do not have a problem. It is likely that the dog will try to soothe the burning pain by licking himself even more if he has a UTI that is accompanied by a burning sensation when he pees. 

Here are some symptoms to watch for if you think your dogs sour smell might be caused by a UTI:

  • Urine that is bloody or cloudy
  • Whimpering or straining when peeing
  • Accidents in the house
  • Requesting to go outside more often
  • Fever

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms you should take him to the vet as soon as possible. A urinary tract infection can cause kidney failure if left untreated. The good news is that antibiotics will eliminate the infection within a few days.

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections can appear anywhere on the dogs body but most commonly they appear on the paws in the ears or between the skin folds. Yeast infections can cause a sour smell and some pet owners are intrigued by the sickly sweet smell their dog gives off.

In dogs yeasts are spore-like fungi that normally live on their bodies without causing any problems or bad smells. Problems arise only when they reproduce at a very rapid rate. Dogs can suffer from this for a variety of reasons including taking some medication that reduces the good bacteria that keep yeast populations in check. Pets with a compromised immune system are more likely to develop yeast infections. In addition they are more likely to occur in breeds that have many skin folds such as Daschunds Boxers Chihuahuas Poodles Basset Hounds West Highland White Terriers and some Sheepdogs. A moist environment like skin folds is ideal for yeast growth.

Yeast infections are characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Itching or redness on their skin or in their ears
  • Changing skin texture (patches of skin may become leathery or thick)
  • Skin that is flaky and crusty
  • Tilting or shaking of the head when the ears are affected
  • Scratching excessively or rubbing against an object to relieve itching
  • Hair loss
  • Tenderness swelling and warmth in the affected area
  • Drooling if the infection is oral

How are yeast infections treated

Veterinarians may run tests to diagnose a yeast infection and recommend treatments. A topical antifungal cream wipes sprays or medicated shampoo will usually be necessary for your dog. If the problem is severe your veterinarian might prescribe oral antifungal medication as well.

You can also try natural remedies. Cleansing the affected area with an apple cider vinegar solution is one of the best options. Make sure the vinegar is diluted before applying. Make a solution by mixing one part ACV with three parts water. Wipe the affected area gently with a clean cloth soaked in the solution. As a result yeast populations will be reduced and the unbearable itching should be relieved. This solution should not be applied inside the ears or anywhere near the eyes or genitals of your dog. 

Taking frequent baths preferably with antifungal shampoo will also relieve the itching while also reducing the presence of yeasts. 

You should also give your dog fatty acid supplements and reduce the carbohydrates in his diet. The yeast thrives on sugar so try reducing carbohydrates like potatoes wheat corn or high-fructose corn syrup.

Anal gland problems

A dogs anus consists of two small sacs that are located left and right of each other. A distinctive smell emanates from these sacs. Whenever the dog defecates the anal glands are expressed marking the territory with its signature scent. When your dog has a problem with the anal glands you would not just notice a sour smell. In most cases the secretions of the anal glands are revolting and smell like fish. 

It is possible for your dogs anal glands to become impacted or to develop an abscess if he is unable to express them. You may see swelling or discoloration on your dogs rear end. He will also be in pain which he might try to relieve by dragging his butt on the ground. Your carpet will also smell after that. 

If the dog has an abscess you should take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. An abscess can be very painful and can lead to sepsis. Even an unpleasant infection can be cured with some antibiotics but you will need to prevent these issues from occurring again in the future. 

You can help your dog to express his glands normally every time he does a Number 2 so he would not bring the smell inside the house:

  • Make your dogs diet more fiber-rich
  • Keep an eye on his stool to ensure it is well-formed as soft stools do not put enough pressure on the glands to allow them to empty fully
  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercises 
  • Make sure your dog is not overweight.
  • Make sure your dog has plenty of clean freshwater.

Why does my senior dog smell sour?

Older dogs can suffer from a variety of age-related issues including those mentioned above. This can cause them to smell strange.

Dental problems

Periodontal disease and dental disease are common among senior dogs. Your senior dogs breath will stink if he has gingivitis rotting teeth or some other type of oral infection. You will have to pay greater attention to his oral hygiene and the vet may prescribe medication to treat any infection.

Kidney disease

In older pets this is also common. Your dogs kidneys will not function properly if he has developed a problem which will lead to toxins accumulating in the body. See a veterinarian as soon as possible because the infection could lead to kidney failure which is fatal.


This could be a sign that your elderly dog has diabetes if he smells strangely sweet. There is an odor coming from the mouth due to a process called ketosis. Despite sugars building up in the dogs bloodstream the cells cannot use them for energy so fats are burned instead. Your primary concern should not be the smell. Your dogs organs will slowly be damaged by diabetes including his heart kidneys eyes and nervous system.

You should also pay attention to other symptoms such as

  • Increased urination is caused by the bodys attempt to remove excess sugar.
  • The dog loses weight because its digestive system is not able to convert its foods nutrients efficiently.
  • Increased appetite

Advanced stages of the disease result in appetite loss and fatigue in the dog. Even though the disease cannot be cured the vet might recommend insulin injections. The vet may also recommend diet changes and exercise.


Old dogs might become incontinent at some point and frequent leaks may result in a distinct smell. Incontinence isnot caused by aging itself but rather by age-related diseases including kidney disease infections and tumors. It may be necessary for the doctor to prescribe treatment for the underlying condition but the only thing you can do is put up with your pets incontinence. It may even be necessary for him to wear diapers. He may even need to be bathed more often. 


You might not be able to solve the problem with a simple bath if your dog has a sour smell. If the problem persists however you may want to consider the possibility that he might have a health issue such as a urinary tract infection a yeast infection or a problem with the anal glands. All these issues can be easily solved and your dog will no longer smell odd. Nevertheless if your pet is older the problem may be more serious and incurable. There is nothing you can do but deal with the situation and put up with the smell. There is nothing wrong with loving him no matter what. 

If you want to read more about dog food tips read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.

Why Does My Dog Have A Sour Smell? (Watch Video)

Leave a Comment