No one expects dog poop to smell like a bouquet of roses, but there’s a difference between stinky and foul. If your dog’s poop wages war on your nose, you don’t have to grin and bear it. Most of the time, ultra-smelly poop comes from a diet or medical issue that can be rectified.
Do you get the first dry food you see at the grocery store? Often, the main cause of smelly stool is diet, and although low-quality dry foods might fill your dog’s belly, that doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Many dog foods are full of fillers that your dog can’t digest or fail to give them a balanced diet, leading to smelly stool.
It might be time for an upgrade. Food can get expensive quickly, especially for large dogs, but you don’t need to spend much more to get high-quality food. Look for food that’s low in fillers and has a high protein content.
Even if you’re avoiding food that would give any dog a tummy ache, every dog is different. Allergies and intolerances can lead to digestive issues, including smelly poop. Some of the most common allergens are proteins like beef, pork, or chicken, but your dog might also be allergic to a vegetable like corn, potatoes, or peas.
If you’ve tried a few foods and allergies don’t seem to be the culprit, it might be that your dog just has a sensitive stomach. Dogs with sensitive stomachs often get irritated by eating too quickly or just eating the wrong foods.
Scavenging Bad Food
Dogs will often eat any food they can access, even if they are well fed. If your dog loves to snack, he might be getting into something that’s causing a bad smell. This could be rotten food, or it might be something that your dog can’t digest very well, like dairy products.
Nutrient Absorption Problems
Sometimes, smelly stool is related to malabsorption, an inability to gain nutrients from food. This usually goes along with weight loss or signs of malnourishment and a seemingly endless appetite. That’s because the food is passing in one end and out the other without your dog getting nutrition from it.
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
A related problem is exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, which is caused when your dog’s pancreas doesn’t release enough enzymes for proper digestion. The symptoms for this are pretty similar to nutrient malabsorption, but a stool test can show the lack of enzymes.
If your dog is already facing health issues that require regular medicine, a side effect might be a strong odor in your dog’s poop. This isn’t necessarily a sign of something wrong with your dog, although you can always talk to a vet to make sure.
Bacteria or Parasites
Another possibility is that your dog is experiencing illness caused by bacteria or parasites. Common diseases like parvovirus and E. coli can cause smelly stool to come on suddenly. Another cause is a parasite like intestinal worms.
Bloody discharge with a sharp, metallic odor usually is caused by intestinal bleeding. The causes of intestinal bleeding vary—it could be a disease, a medical condition, or an injury—but in all cases, vet treatment can help you determine if the condition is serious.
Dogs occasionally get infections that lead to a foul-smelling discharge. This discharge might be noticeable in stool or leak from your dog without bowel movements. Depending on where the infection is in your dog’s digestive system, it may cause visible swelling, redness, or other symptoms.