Why Does My Pitbull Stink? 9 Reasons and Simple Solutions To Try

Pitbulls are not really a stinky breed. They generally don’t have a distinctive odor, and they’re not high maintenance when it comes to their grooming, so it’s easy to keep them from smelling bad most of the time.

Still, some Pitbulls can still smell bad without any apparent reason, causing their owners to ask themselves, “But why does my Pitbull stink?”

The answer might be something unrelated to how often you groom your dog. It’s important to identify the actual cause of the problem in order to find a solution faster.

The main reason your pitbull stinks is poor hygiene and lack of proper grooming. Your Pitbull might also stink because of certain health issues such as having a poor diet that causes it to be gassier, as well as bad breath, ear infection, skin problems, presence of anal sacs, or urinary tract infection.

Keep reading to learn more about the reasons why your Pitbull might stink and what you can do to fix it.

Do Pitbulls Normally Have a Strong Odor?

pitbull looking out of window to answer why does my pitbull stink

Some dog breeds have a distinctive “dog smell” about them. It’s not necessarily a bad smell, and it varies from one breed to another. However, it’s not the same for Pitbulls, as they are not known to have a particular smell or a strong odor.

If your dog is healthy and has a regular grooming schedule, it will generally not give off any strong odor, good or bad. If your dog started giving off a bad odor, then this could be a sign of a potential health or hygiene problem.

Why Does My Pitbull Stink?

Pitbulls with a bad odor can be very unpleasant to be around, so it’s very important to identify the cause of the smell in order to get rid of it.

So, let’s take a look at the various reasons that might cause your dog to smell bad and what you can do to fix it:

Lack of Grooming

The main cause of bad odor in Pitbulls is simply poor hygiene and lack of grooming due to the accumulation of dirt and loose hair on the dog’s body.

So, your pitbull needs to have a regular grooming schedule that includes brushing and bathing it to remove any dirt or loose hair.

Having a regular grooming schedule will also keep your pitbull’s skin in a healthy condition as it helps distribute the natural oils in the dog’s skin and prevent it from becoming dry, flaky, or irritated.

It will also help with controlling their shedding and, consequentially, your allergies. You can learn more about Pitbulls’ shedding and allergies here.

Wet Dog smell

People often use the phrase “smells like a wet dog” as it’s very common for dogs to smell bad after getting wet. This distinctive smell is caused when yeast or bacteria that are often accumulated on the dog’s skin and fur coat come in contact with water.

The best way to get rid of this smell is to dry your pitbull after a bath thoroughly or whenever it gets wet in order to prevent any moisture from activating the yeast and bacteria molecules.

Speaking of wet dogs, you can learn how to go swimming with your pitbull here.

Poor Diet

Pitbulls fart an average amount for a dog. However, frequent and excessively smelly farts are usually a sign of a problem with the dog’s diet. I have another article where I discuss all the reasons why Pitbulls fart so much that you can check out here.

You need to make sure your dog is eating a healthy diet by consulting with a vet or a dietary professional to find the best options. You also need to avoid making sudden changes to their diet as Pitbulls have sensitive stomachs. If you need to switch food in their diet, try to do it gradually over the course of a few weeks.

Bad Breath

It’s natural for dogs to have bad-smelling breath; however, sometimes, it can be a sign of dental diseases and other serious health issues.

One of the common dental diseases that can cause your pitbull to have bad breath is gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease. It is a buildup of plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth which leads to bacteria growth that damages the gum and teeth, causing a bad smell in the process.

The best way to avoid this is to brush your pitbull’s teeth regularly and provide them with good chew toys to prevent plaque and tartar from accumulating. 

Other causes of bad breath include diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease:

  • Diabetes can be identified by a sweet or fruity smell coming off of your dog’s breath as well as other symptoms such as increased thirst and urination.
  • Kidney disease can be identified by a urine smell coming off of your dog’s breath.
  • Liver disease can be identified by a generally terrible coming off of your dog’s breath as well as other symptoms such as loss of appetite, a yellowish coloring in the gums, and vomiting.

If you notice any of the previous symptoms in your dog, you need to contact your vet immediately to get your dog the right treatment.

Ear Infections

There are a few types of ear infections that could cause your pitbull to smell bad. Yeast infections, bacterial infections, or a combination of both generally create the strongest smell.

Ear infections also produce a discharge accompanied by redness, soreness, and general discomfort.

The best way to avoid ear infections is to avoid getting water in your dog’s ear when you’re bathing it. If you notice any symptoms of ear infection in your dog, make sure to contact your vet to get the right treatment.

Skin Problems

Pit bulls are prone to skin conditions that cause them to smell bad.

One of these conditions is Seborrhea which causes a musty cheese-like odor accompanied by either excessively flaky dry skin or greasy buildup in your dog’s ears, armpits, belly, elbows, and ankles.

Another condition is atropy which is a chronic skin disease caused by environmental, food, or parasite allergies. It causes a musty odor as well as inflammation, irritation, and redness.

Other allergic reactions, bug bites, yeast, and fungal infections can lead to irritated skin and excessive scratching, which will create open wounds on your dog’s skin and also strong odors from bacterial accumulation.

You can prevent most skin conditions by regularly bathing your dog and using special medical shampoos. If you think your dog might have a skin condition, make sure to contact your vet to get the right treatment.

Ana*l Sacs

Dogs have a set of glands on either side of their anus known as anal sacs. The purpose of these glands is to give off identification signals to other dogs and for marking.

If you notice a particularly fishy smell coming from your pitbull, it is likely that they have impacted ana*l sacs. This condition is accompanied by having soot on your dog’s butt which can be very uncomfortable.

It needs to be treated immediately, which is often done by draining the sacs yourself. You can also add more fiber to your dog’s diet to help prevent future impacts. If the condition is left untreated, it will lead to infection and other health issues.

If your dog frequently suffers from impact ana*l sacs or the blockage is not subsiding after you’ve drained them, you need to contact your vet to get treatment.

Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused by bacteria entering the urethra of your dog and getting to its bladder.

If your pitbull has UTI, you will notice a strong odor and that the dog is usually uncomfortable or in pain when going to pee. It’s very important to take your dog to a vet immediately for treatment.

How Often Do Pitbulls Need to Be Bathed?

pitbull getting a bath

Pitbulls need a regular grooming schedule, just like any other dog breed. However, since they have short hair and natural oils that protect their coat and skin, they do not really need to be bathed too often.

You can bathe your Pitbull as often as once every 2 to 6 months. Keep in mind that if they are outside or play in the dirt a lot, you will need to bathe them more often. You also need to brush them more than once a week to remove loose hair and help distribute the natural oils through their coat.

How to Bathe Your Pitbull?

You might face some difficulties in getting your dog to remain calm during a bath.

So, here are some simple steps you can follow to make bath time a more relaxing experience for you and your dog:

  • You need to get your dog in the right state of mind before bathing. It’s recommended to take it for a long walk or get it to exercise so it won’t have as much energy to resist a bath.
  • Prepare the bathtub before getting your dog to go inside. Make sure you have all the supplies you will need, such as shampoo and a brush, within reach, as well as extra towels.
    • It’s also recommended to place a non-skid mat inside the tub, so your dog doesn’t slip and get hurt during the bath.
  • Coax your dog into the tub. You need to keep your tone firm but calm and reassuring at the same time. Once your dog is in the tub, make sure to reward it with a treat.
  • Brush your pitbull thoroughly before turning on the water, as this will help remove any loose hair or untangle matted hair.
  • Use a detachable shower spray or a pitcher to wet your dog’s skin from the neck down completely. Make sure the water temperature is comfortable enough for your dog.
    • Avoid getting water directly on your pitbull’s head, as water can irritate the delicate membranes in a dog’s eyes and ears. Instead, use a washcloth to wipe off its face and head gently and around its ears.
    • It’s also recommended to place a cotton ball in each of your pitbull’s ears to keep them dry and reduce the risk of ear infections. Make sure the cotton balls are large enough not to be stuck or lost inside the dog’s ear canal.
  • Apply the shampoo to your dog’s skin and distribute it thoroughly from neck to tail. Some dog parents prefer to use rubber bath brushes or massage gloves when applying shampoo as these help them distribute the shampoo more evenly and stimulate the dog’s circulation.
    • Make sure you’re using an appropriate shampoo for your pitbull, and avoid using human shampoo because they contain ingredients and fragrances that might irritate your dog’s skin.
    • It’s also recommended to read all the instructions on the shampoo label to make sure it doesn’t contain any ingredients that your dog might be allergic to. You can also check it to see whether the shampoo needs to be diluted and how long the shampoo should remain on the dog before rinsing.
  • Rinse the shampoo off your dog thoroughly because any remaining soap left on their skin might cause irritation. You can re-apply the shampoo and rinse again, depending on how dirty your dog is.
  • After finishing, dry your dog thoroughly with a towel to prevent any small. You can use your hands to squeeze or pat away any excess water from your pitbull’s body. Some owners also use a blow dryer set on low heat to speed up the drying process.
  • Finally, make sure to reward your dog with treats for their good behavior during bath time.

Best Shampoos for Pitbulls

One of the best shampoos for Pitbulls I like to recommend is this TropiClean Gentle Coconut Dog Shampoo, which will leave your dog with a soft coat and a fresh smell. The formula is pH-balanced and contains natural ingredients and no chemicals, and can be used for both puppies and adults.

If you want a shampoo that is specially formulated for Pitbull puppies, then I recommend this BioSilk Tearless Shampoo. It has a natural gentle formula that will be perfect for the puppy’s sensitive skin.

For more shampoo recommendations, check out my guide on the best shampoos for Pitbulls here.

Can You Use Dry Shampoo for Pitbulls?

You can use dry shampoo for Pitbulls. It’s a quick and easy way to keep your dog’s skin and hair clean between baths.

All you need to do is use an appropriate amount of shampoo on the dog’s body and distribute it with a brush. Make sure not to get it in your dog’s ears or eyes.

One of my favorite dry shampoos for Pitbulls is this Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo. The formula contains natural plant-based ingredients, and it can also be used as a moisturizer for dogs with dry skin.

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