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Ann M.
Ann M., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
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Experience:  ER and general medicine Veterinarian since 2005
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My dogs smell like they rolled in dead animals, but there are

Customer Question

My dogs smell like they rolled in dead animals, but there are no dead animals in our yard. Our yard is fenced and nothing gets in or out. This happens all the time when they lay in the yard. What is causing this?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  ERAnimalNurse replied 6 years ago.



I am sorry your dogs are getting stinky :(


Are they outside all the time?


do they roll around in the dirt?


Does the smell come from their fur? Does it go away after a bath?


How old are your dogs?


Let me know and i will try to help...

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No the dogs are inside dogs that go out to the bathroom. We just bought the house last July and have never experienced anything like it. The dogs are Min Pins that are 5, both males. The dogs lay in the grass. It is not dirt, we have a grass yard. The smell is definitely on their coats and it does go away after we bathe them. I grew up on a farm and I am a hunter. I know what dead animal smells like. I also know my old farm dogs always rolled in dead animals. I don't have any dead animals in my yard. It is a typical fenced in backyard. Is it possible there is something buried in the yard and the smell is coming up from below?? I don't see that as a real possibility.
Expert:  ERAnimalNurse replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information. I suppose it is possible that there is something buried back there, but I would think they would have dug it up by now. I'm at a loss, so I'm going to opt out and see if anyone else has any ideas that will help you. Good luck :)
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
ok, when will I hear from someone else? Let me know whatever they say. Thank you
Expert:  Terri Riba replied 6 years ago.

Dear friend,


I am sorry your babies are having trouble.

A "bad" odor is usually due to yeast:


Bathe them in selsun blue shampoo.

Give each a tsp a day of plain yogurt.


Please let me know how they are doing.


I hope all will be well.


Warmest best wishes,



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
no, the dogs do not smell at all. THe dogs are clean and smell good. The problem is when they go outside and roll on the ground.
Expert:  Terri Riba replied 6 years ago.

So are you saying they pick up an odor from the ground?

What is the surface - grass, soil, other?

does it smell musty, rotten, ammonia like, other?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ok, the yard is fenced. The area the dogs use is grass. There are no other animals in the yard. Nothing is dead in the yard. I lived on a farm and am a hunter. I know what dead animals smell like. The dogs go out, roll, and come back in smelling like dead animals. I can smell the exact spot they roll in and not smell any odor. I have considered there may be animals buried in the yard, but I still don't believe that would permeate through the ground and get on them. I am at a loss.
Expert:  Terri Riba replied 6 years ago.


I agree, there are no "dead animals" permeating the ground.

The only possibilities are yeast or bad bacteria.

Of course, if you use fertilizer that could make them smell.

Hose the area with a solution of one part white vinegar to twenty parts water.

Let me know what happens after they are bathed in selsun blue shampoo and given a tsp of plain yogurt every day.


Warmest best wishes,




Customer: replied 6 years ago.
There is nothing wrong with our dogs. They do not stink at all. It is not a dog issue. THey only stink after they have rolled in the grass. If we give them a bath they are fine, until the next time they roll in the grass. Not sure what yogurt or yeast or bad bacteria has to do with that.
Expert:  Terri Riba replied 6 years ago.

They are only getting a bad smell from the ground.

I will opt out and see if someone else has any ideas.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
no one has answered the question at all. I would like my money refunded to my account.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 6 years ago.



I wanted to give you my thoughts on the idea. Dogs have anal glands around the rectal area. The fluid in the glands can be near odorless, musty smelling or smell like feces or even dead things. Since you are a hunter, you are familiar with scent glands so you do know that the odor differs from animal to animal. Dogs use this to identify each other.


Many times when the anal gland become full a dog will scoot their rear on the grass or carpet and release the fluid and pressure on the gland that way. Some dogs will do this outside and then turn around and roll in the fluid. This transfers their unique odor all over them. My chihuahua does this same type of behavior. In his case it seems to be related to the female next door being in heat. I would probably be perplexed as well but I actually saw my dog scoot along the ground then turn around and roll in it. When I went to make sure there wasn't a dead mole there, I saw what he had done and why he stunk to high heaven.


Now I can't be sure this is what your dog's are doing, but it is a possibility. I do know that mine is doing it. I stopped the problem by emptying his anal glands manually and being sure they are not getting full.

Excellent site on anal glands


If you feel this is also not the problem, let me know and I will opt out as well. Any deposit you put down will not leave your account until an answer is accepted.

Edited by Jane Lefler on 4/19/2010 at 9:05 PM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No, they do not drag their butts on the ground. I am familiar with those glands. This is not the problem.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 6 years ago.



I'll opt out as well. The only other thing I can think of is stink bugs.

Expert:  Ann M. replied 6 years ago.
Hi there. I will try to answer your question. My dogs have had the same problem, and what I have found is that they are finding very SMALL dead animals, like a dead baby frog, or a few pellets of rabbit feces, etc, so that when I go to look at the grass, I see nothing, but the smell is on the fur. I have lived in places where they never smelled after being outside, and then I have lives in houses where they always seem to find stuff. I think it sometimes has to do with the moisture level of the ground based on how close your yard is to the water table, and the more moisture, the more likely you are to have tiny frogs, lots of worms, etc, and these are likely what your dogs are finding (dead) to roll in. I hope this makes sense! If not, we can continue on and see if yet another expert can weigh in. Best of luck!

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