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Why Do Goldendoodles Smell Bad? Advice from a Veterinarian!

By Dr. Merliza Cabriles, D.V.M.

do goldendoodles smell

Goldendoodles are well-loved for their friendly and fun-loving ways. These endearing traits coupled with a great temperament make them ideal family pets.

Everywhere they go, Goldendoodles always melt hearts and win friends. They are also popular choices for people who are prone to frequent bouts of allergies since the breed is considered to be allergy-friendly. 

But these adorable dogs have special grooming needs that every potential pet owner must be ready to commit to. Being allergy-friendly and low-shedding doesn’t always equate to low maintenance.

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Your Goldendoodle’s long hair will require regular brushing and grooming to keep them healthy and looking their best. Even with that, you may find yourself wondering, “why does my Goldendoodle stink?”

Is this smell normal or something you should be worried about? Let’s learn more about why do Goldendoodles smell sometimes!

Why Do Goldendoodles Smell Bad?

“Do Goldendoodles smell bad normally, or is it just my dog?” This is one important concern shared by many Goldendoodle owners.

In addition to their intense grooming requirements, a Goldendoodle’s coat can be a dirt and stink magnet.

There are indeed some breeds of dogs that tend to be more prone to attracting odors compared to others and unfortunately, Goldendoodles belong to that list. 

Do Goldendoodles Normally Stink?

All dogs have a distinct “doggy odor” with some having a stronger and more offensive scent than others. Goldendoodles are no exception.

There are many reasons why dogs smell and identifying the underlying cause is the first step to addressing the issue.

Take note that there is a big difference between a normal dog smell and a health issue that needs to be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for professional intervention.

How Often Should Goldendoodles Be Bathed?

Ideally, Goldendoodles can do well with a monthly bath, except when they are very dirty or stinky.

Frequent bathing can cause drying of the skin which can eventually pave the way for severe scratching and itching.

The best shampoo and conditioner for Goldendoodles should be soap-free, have a balanced pH, be biodegradable, and have an excellent smell. 

Reasons Your Goldendoodle Smells & How to Fix It!

Here are some of the most common reasons why Goldendoodle stink.  Some of these are minor health issues while others may be more severe.

It’s important for all Goldendoodle owners to be prepared for unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why I recommend investing in quality pet insurance, such as with Healthy Paws, who will cover up to 90% of your Goldendoodle’s vet bills.

Ear Infections

Ear infections are common health issues in dogs but breeds with excessive growth of hair in their ear canals, like Goldendoodles, are more susceptible. The form and shape of a Goldendoodle’s ears also make them more prone to ear infections. 

Even without an ear infection, a Goldendoodle may still tend to have an undesirable odor from the ears because the excess hair in the ear canals can trap dirt and moisture that can smell. 

An ear infection should be suspected when your Goldendoodle exhibits the following symptoms…

  • Strong, foul-smelling odor from the ears
  • Scratching of the ear or the area around the ear
  • Rubbing the ear against surfaces, such as the floor or furniture
  • Ear discharge that may be brown, yellow, or bloody
  • Shaking and/or tilting of the head
  • Ears are red and inflamed
  • Crusts or scabs on the outer and inner parts of the ear
  • Loss of hair around the ear
  • Lethargy
  • Fever

If your Goldendoodle displays these symptoms, you should have your pet checked by your veterinarian sooner rather than later. Ear infections cause a lot of pain and misery in dogs thus, prompt medical intervention is needed. 

How To Clean Goldendoodle Ears

A Goldendoodle’s big and floppy ears with their narrow canals are prone to ear infections.

Goldendoodle owners need to know how to clean their pet’s ears properly. It’s a quick and simple regimen but if you’re not comfortable doing it, you can bring your dog to a groomer regularly. 

Your Goldendoodle’s ears will benefit from a weekly cleaning.

Before starting, make sure you have everything you need within easy reach. These include a mild ear cleaning solution, tweezers, gauze, and cotton balls.

VetWELL Ear Cleaner for Dogs

There are other ear cleaning solutions that are commonly used by pet owners, such as apple cider and water solution, antiseptics like hydrogen peroxide, or saline solution. However, be sure to ask your vet for advice before applying any home remedies to your Goldendoodle’s sensitive ear tissues.

Here’s a step-by-step procedure on how to clean your Goldendoodle’s ears:

  1. Remove or pluck any dead hairs around the ears using your finger or tweezers. 
  2. Use gauze to clean the area around the ear. 
  3. Moisten a cotton ball with an ear cleaning solution to gently remove any build-up on the ear passages. 
  4. Place a few drops of the solution on the ear canal and gently massage the base of your dog’s ear to properly distribute the solution in the canal. 
  5. Use a cotton ball to absorb any moisture and wipe off the debris from the ear canals. 
  6. After ear cleaning has been done, allow your dog to shake his head as this can help expel any liquid that is still inside the ear canals. 
  7. Make sure to dry off the area surrounding your Goldendoodle’s ears. 
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Dental Issues

Like any canine breed, Goldendoodles are prone to tooth and gum problems. Dental issues are a significant contributing factor to dog odor issues. Bad breath is one of the early indicators of a dental problem. 

Periodontal Disease affects the structures that surround and support the teeth.

After a meal, bacteria in the mouth start to feed on food particles that are stuck between the teeth or left inside the mouth. In the process, plaque is formed.

Without regular tooth brushing, plaque can build up and harden into tartar. The bacteria in the plaque will start to release toxins that cause gum inflammation (gingivitis).

Over time, plaque and tartar accumulate under the gums and cause the teeth to separate. The spaces that are created become perfect places for bacteria to grow and multiply.

Eventually, the condition will become irreversible and there will be loss of bone and tissues, as well as tooth loss. 

Signs of dental diseases in Goldendoodles include…

  • Bad breath / foul odor from the mouth
  • Bleeding or inflamed gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty eating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loose teeth
  • Teeth falling out

Gas

A Goldendoodle could experience an excessive build-up of gas in their gastrointestinal tract. The condition is medically referred to as ‘flatulence’. 

There are several causes of gassiness in dogs ranging from a change in diet to dietary indiscretion to food intolerance to poor quality diet to allergies to health issues. Goldendoodles that are carrying excess weight or are sedentary have higher risks for chronic flatulence. 

The stinky gas that is expelled in flatulent dogs is hydrogen sulfide which is a by-product of the digestion of certain foods in the intestinal tract. 

While the occasional farting in Goldendoodles is not really a cause for concern, excessive and persistent gassiness is, and should warrant an appointment with your veterinarian. 

Anal Glands

Anal glands or anal sacs are paired scent glands that are located on either side of a Goldendoodle’s anus, right before the anal opening. The glands are lined with sweat and sebaceous glands which are responsible for the foul-smelling liquid that dogs use as their signature scents to mark their territory.

Normally, anal gland emptying occurs when a dog poops. During elimination, the passing poop exerts a compressive effect on the anal glands that result in the expression of the liquid and emptying of the sacs. 

Anal gland problems start when they don’t empty properly and their contents become impacted. The longer the secretions stay inside the gland, the more uncomfortable and painful it will be for your Goldendoodle. There is also a big chance that the impacted anal glands will rupture.   

Anal gland impaction should be suspected if your Goldendoodle keeps on dragging or scooting their butt on the ground. Dogs do this in an effort to express the glands while seeking relief from the pain and itching.

Other symptoms of anal gland problems include…

  • Distinct foul odor
  • Excessive licking of their behind
  • Reluctance to sit
  • Swelling of the skin around the anal opening
  • Chewing at the base of the tail
  • Constipation may cause straining and vocalizing because of the pain 
  • Blood or pus on areas where the dog has been resting
  • Some dogs have difficulty walking, although this is quite rare

Without proper intervention an infection or abscess may develop and could rupture and release pus. 

Why Does My Goldendoodle Smell Like Fish?

If your Goldendoodle smells like fish, chances are there may be an issue with your pet’s anal glands.

The fishy odor usually comes from the dog’s butt. However, there are instances when a dog’s breath reeks of fish.

In this case, the fishy smell can develop when a dog’s diet is supplemented with fish oil. It could also indicate the presence of health issues like tooth and gum problems, gastrointestinal disorders, food allergies, or food intolerance. 

Do Goldendoodles Need Their Glands Expressed?

If your Goldendoodle’s anal glands are functioning just fine, there is no need for manual expression of the glands. But if there is something that prevents the glands from emptying every time the dog defecates, expression of the glands can help prevent impaction and the risk of rupture. 

Eye Run (Excessive Tearing of the Eyes)

Excessive tearing in Goldendoodles, a condition which is also known as epiphora, can be brought about by a variety of causes—from a defect in the tear ducts, to allergies, to corneal ulcers, to tumors, to inflammation.

As the tears overflow from a dog’s eyes,  it keeps the fur beneath the eyes damp. The fur may also take on a reddish stain which is caused by a pigment that is found in tears called ‘porphyrin’.

Sometimes the fur takes on a rust-colored hue when a yeast infection is present.  The constant moisture under your Goldendoodle’s eyes creates a favorable environment for yeast to thrive. 

Atopy

Atopy (atopic dermatitis) refers to allergies that cause skin itching and inflammation. It’s the second most common type of skin allergy in dogs after Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD).

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin problem that is brought about by allergic reactions to environmental allergens such as mold spores, pollen, grass, dust mites, etc.

It is largely thought to be hereditary and affected Goldendoodles normally exhibit symptoms when they’re between 1-6 years of age. During the first few years, the symptoms may not be as noticeable or consistent but generally, symptoms often get worse with time.

Some cases of atopic dermatitis may be seasonal. Itching usually affects the belly, ears, feet, groin, armpits, around the eyes, in between the paws, and at the base of the tail. 

Symptoms of Atopy in Goldendoodles:

  • Itching
  • Licking, chewing and scratching of itchy areas
  • Rubbing of the itchy parts against surfaces
  • Distinctly strong smell 
  • Greasy skin
  • Reddish skin
  • Tough skin (in chronic cases)

Some canine breeds that are more prone to developing Atopy include both the Golden Retriever and the Poodle. This means that Goldendoodles are also likely to develop Atopic Dermatitis.

Coat Cleanliness

The general condition of a Goldendoodle’s skin and hair are important indicators of your dog’s overall health. A healthy coat is smooth and shiny, and healthy skin is clear and supple.

Although the appearance of a Goldendoodle’s skin and coat is influenced by health and nutrition, regular grooming and proper skincare will also help keep your pet’s coat clean and free of mats and tangles.

Many Goldendoodle owners swear by the Chris Christensen Big G Slicker Brush to help make grooming easier and prevent matting.  It’s expensive, but very effective.

Chris Christensen – Big G Slicker Brush

If your dog loves spending time outdoors, his coat can easily attract and hold dirt, mud, and debris, which, when not removed regularly, can cause your dog to stink.

The waves and curls of Goldendoodles look amazing, but they will need a lot of grooming attention and a bath at least once a month. Establishing a grooming routine when your Goldendoodle is still young can make the task easier. Make sure that each grooming session is a positive experience for your pet. 

Why Does My Goldendoodle’s Beard Stink?

Like the rest of their coat, the beard of a Goldendoodle is a magnet for dirt, moisture, and odor.

The smell of pet food, especially when it’s a raw diet, can linger on the dog’s beard and cause odor issues. When the dog drinks water, a damp beard becomes an ideal place for yeast and bacteria to thrive.

The distinct canine habit of using their mouths and noses to investigate the immediate environment is also another way for their beards to become dirty and smelly. 

When grooming your Goldendoodle, make sure that the face should also be given particular attention. Trimming the beard could also help with the issue. 

Related: Short Goldendoodle Haircut Ideas: 30 Before and After Photos!

When to Seek Veterinary Attention

You should take your Goldendoodle to the veterinarian if you are unable to identify what is causing the undesirable odor.

As you may realize, there are many possible causes that will have a negative impact on your dog’s health and quality of life. 

If your Goldendoodle’s offensive smell persists after bathing and brushing or they are showing other symptoms, it is highly recommended that you make an appointment with your veterinarian. The earlier the underlying issue is identified and addressed, the lesser will be the chance for potential complications to develop.

Worried about veterinary costs?  I strongly encourage Goldendoodle owners to be proactive and invest in health insurance early.  With a reputable company such as Healthy Paws, this can save you up to 90% on your dog’s veterinary bills!

More About Goldendoodles…

Dr. Merliza Cabriles, D.V.M.

Contributing Professional

Dr. Merliza Cabriles is a licensed veterinarian and university professor with many years of experience in food animal and pet companion medicine. Her passion for writing as well as pet parent education and support is echoed in the articles and ebooks she has written.