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Cher, Dog Caregiver--Extensive Experience
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 21421
Experience:  Extensive Experience Caring for Canines; Specializing in behavior and health concerns.
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My black lab smells bad and has flakes. What can I do?

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My black lab smells bad and has white flakes. What can I do?

Does the smell seem to be coming from any particular area, like your dog's rear end or mouth, or does her overall coat/skin have a bad smell?

Can you describe the smell; is it like anything you've smelled before? Is it a 'dirty' smell, fruity, like urine/feces, etc.?

Is your dog currently on any monthly flea preventative like Frontline Plus or Advantage?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
it is kind of a mousy smell, and comes from all over. We brush her teeth almost every day, but it smells awful. She just came out of heat. She is a rescue pet so we don't know her history and we just got her 3 months ago and are having her spayed soon. The vet said that nothing appeared abnormal, but this mouse smell is not typical.
Hello again, and thanks for your additional information.

I'm glad you've already had her evaluated by the vet, and she was found to be healthy. I'm also very happy to hear you will be having her spayed, soon!

If she's not on any monthly flea preventative, the white flakes you see might be flea eggs, if they're very small and look like grains of salt. If they're bigger and do resemble human dandruff, they sound like dry skin particles and this might be prevented by adding Omega 3 fatty oils to her diet, and bathing her with a shampoo with Oatmeal, like the ones at the site below:

If the vet did no bloodwork, this might be a good next step, which will be necessary before her spay surgery, in any case. Sometimes the coat can be affected by an underlying medical condition affecting the liver or kidneys.

Don't overbathe her, as this can dry out the skin and rob it of natural oils, contributing to the white flakes.

I hope she'll be fine, and if her symptoms worsen, please have her re-evaluated by the vet, as soon as possible.

Cher and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
She is on a monthly flea preventative that you put on her back and rub in. We only bathe her every 2-3 weeks because she is a lab. Her flakes are of both kinds. How do I know the flea thing is working?
Hi again,

What brand of flea treatment are you using?

Does her skin look red, scaly or irritated in any particular locations? Does she have any hairloss anywhere?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
advantage, no hairloss, no scaly, red, or irritated patches. just scratching which is generalized
Hi again, and thanks for your reply.

Advantage is a good product. If she had fleas, you'd know it by combing her to see if there are any live fleas in her coat, and/or if you saw any tiny specks of black, resembling ground pepper, this would be flea 'dirt' or excrement. If you find any black specks in her coat, the definitive test is to place them on a white surface, like a tissue, or paper towel, and add a little water; if they turn reddish-brown, they're flea dirt.

Try the oatmeal baths and other products from Drs. Foster and Smith and if the problem is not resolved, soon, bring it to your vet's attention again. You might need a referral to a veterinary dermatologist.

I hope all will be well.