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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16502
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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5 year old chow frequently bathed w/ bad odor problem. He is

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5 year old chow frequently bathed w/ bad odor problem. He is professionally bathed/ groomed every other week. The place is rated #1 in our city. They seem to do a great job. They keep him well trimmed so when he goes potty it does not get on his fur. They give him Capstar for fleas. He has very few fleas. He stays indoors in the A/C at 71 degrees except when he briefly goes outside to potty. He has no odor at all after they bath him. No perfume smell to mask odors. You can at that time pet him and your hand smells, feels clean. But the very next day he begins to smell. By day 3 he again stinks real bad. Its a musky salty like smell that transfers to your hands even with a brief peting. His bed must be washed every few days. Any place he lays on my wood floors the smell soaks into. I've had many dogs including 2 other chows over the years. But this is not typical dog smell. He is in good health and over all not noticeable bad breath for a dog. It does seem his pee is a quite strong odor that remains noticeable in the yard quite awhile. He is so sweet / well behaved however I've been forced to now keep him in the fenced yard due to the odor being so bad in the house.
I feed him canned Alpo. I do notice the food stinks very bad. Even a couple empty cans in garbage stinks bad. His odor does seem to somewhat resemble the food odor. I give him Benadryl for allergies. He chews on himself often, but not from fleas. It seems wetness from his mouth increases odor. But does not explain oily stinky fur even on top of his head. He drinks plenty of water. Could the Capstar tablet that kills fleas or dog food be the cause? Or any other possible cause? I feel so bad forced to keep him outside. But can't bath him every 2 days. Also use frontline monthly. Although trimmed/ groomed, not shaved. I know that causes overly oily skin etc to cut a chows hair to short. Please advise of anything I can try or do. Its so bad you can smell him 10 feet away outdoors. Thanks
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

Has your vet done a skin scraping to be sure there's no infection in the skin?

Does it smell a little like bread?

Does it smell a little like fritos?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi, thanks for your reply. No I have not had him checked for infection. But his skin does seem healthy. But I can have him checked if need be. No it does not resemble bread at all. Does not smell like Fritos. But does seem like a underlying salty smell beyond the odor. As I was writting the question and trying to think of what to compare odor to, I realized the stinky Alpo canned food is closest comparison. Which made me think back to when he lived mostly outside ( he loves to stay under carport watching / guarding ). Back then I fed him Pedagree canned food which had very little odor. I don't recall him smelling so bad back then. And he was only bathed every 6 weeks or so back then.
Not sure but since I need to buy more dog food soon, I will go back to other brand to see if any change. But would appreciate any advise you have since this is only a shot in the dark guess on my part.
Thanks for the additional information Darius. I really appreciate it.

Without being able to see your dog in person, it's pretty much impossible to tell you why he's smelling the ways he does or what could possibly be causing it. The list of things it 'could be' is nearly endless: allergies, infestation of parasitic mites (mange), thyroid problems (although he's awfully young for that!) or a bacterial or yeast infection just a few. From your description of the fact it never really goes away, and the smell, I suspect it's a yeast infection. Sadly, this is one type of infection that gets worse if the dog is thick coated and frequently wet...because yeast likes to grow in dark/wet places, so the bathing you've been having done, could actually be making it worse...

My suggestion is to call your regular vet in the morning and schedule an appointment for them to see your pup and see what they can determine. They'll most likely do a skin scraping of the affected areas (where they use the edge of a scalpel blade to gently scrape off the top layer of skin, looking for any mites), and possibly run some blood work to see if there is a thyroid issue.


If your vet can't come up with any answers, then the best thing to do is to ask for a referral to a veterinary dermatologist. These are the people who only deal in skin issues, and know much more about it than general practice vets.

But I strongly suspect it's going to turn out that he's got a yeast infection in his skin. Then it'll just be a little medication to get it cleared up and make the smell go away.

I hope this helps.
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