Friday, September 2, 2005

My Dog Stinky, a.k.a. Hailey Girl

A moment to paws by Christine Ferguson


Christine Ferguson

A few weeks ago, my chocolate lab of 6 years old suddenly began to smell like she'd been rolling in cow pastures. In the years since she came home with me as a puppy, this has never been a problem. Her very short and straight hair has made grooming easy and she being a water dog has me constantly toweling her down, which aids in her cleanliness.

So I tried a process of elimination to establish where the smell was coming from. Starting from the front, a dog's mouth is the first possible cause. Odors from the mouth may result from digestive gas rising from the stomach. They can become sensitive to certain ingredients in their food or develop food allergies. Mouth odor may also result from poor dental hygiene. Poor dental hygiene or heavy tartar can be a culprit.

After eliminating the mouth, I moved to those big, floppy brown ears.

Dirty or infected ears are another frequent source of body odor. Skin disease and a wet or soiled hair coat are among the most common sources of body odor. Stool, urine, and saliva may get spread on to the skin and hair producing objectionable odors. Foreign objects collecting between the foot pads may be another place to check when trying to discover the source of persistent odors on your pet. Hair mats can be a source of odors, especially in the rectal area where large mats often exist.

I still found no obvious cause for the odor.

When the home wellness check produces no answers to the problem, it is time to consult your veterinarian. A dog's anal glands can produce some of the most obnoxious and distinct body odors, and maybe it was again time to empty the glands. Excessive gas production is also an obvious cause to consider, and may be the result of a variety of digestive disorders. A medical exam and testing of the pet's stool will commonly determine the treatment needed to reduce gas production. A blood sample can be run to help detect food allergies.

Hailey Girl received a clean bill of health from the doctor's office and the odor persisted.

A change in your pet's diet can be the cause of excess digestive gas. I had recently stocked up on some gourmet dog biscuits and fed them to Hailey Girl in place of her regular Kirkland brand. I decided to fall back on the familiar and cut out the delivery of special gourmet treats. Some weeks later now, the problem is not completely resolved, but the odor seems to be weakening with time.

Costco scores again. It looks like I found another reason for the Twin Falls trek.




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