yellow labrador lying in the grass

How Do I Stop My Labrador From Smelling Bad?

Labradors are known for being friendly, loyal, and loving companions. They are also known for their adorable, fluffy coats. However, some Labradors have an unpleasant odor. This can be a source of embarrassment for their owners and make cuddling and playing with the dog less enjoyable. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why Labradors may be smelling bad, provide tips on how to prevent or eliminate this problem, and suggest ways to alleviate any embarrassment caused by your dog’s foul odor.

For current and future Labrador owners, this information will be useful in ensuring that your furry friend stays clean and healthy.

Do Labradors Normally Smell Bad?

labrador with bad odor
Photo credit: Tuva Mathilde

Labrador retrievers are known for their friendliness, intelligence, and trainability. However, some people have raised concerns about whether or not these dogs tend to have an unpleasant odor. The truth is that like any other dog breed, Labrador retrievers can have a smell but this is not always the case and does not apply to all dogs within the breed.

Causes of Bad Odor in Labradors

🟦 Ear Infections

Labrador Retrievers are prone to ear infections, which can cause an unpleasant odor. A Lab’s floppy ears trap moisture and bacteria, resulting in an infection especially if your dog is scratching their ears or shaking their head frequently.

🟦 Skin Allergies

Another common cause of bad odor in Labs is skin allergies. Labradors are prone to skin allergies, which can lead to itching and scratching, and a bad odor.

🟦 Dental Issues

Another cause of bad odor in Labradors is dental issues. Poor dental hygiene can lead to a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, resulting in bad breath and a foul smell.

🟦 Anal Glands

The anal glands are small, saclike structures located near the anus. They produce a substance that is spread on objects to mark territory. Clogging of these glands can cause foul-smelling secretions to leak out.

🟦 Diet

A dog’s diet should be nutritionally balanced and of high quality, as a diet that is not can lead to bad-smelling breath.

Foods That Make Labradors Smell Bad

yellow labrador lying in the grass


Foods can cause a buildup of toxins in a dog’s body, leading to bad breath and body odor. Here are some foods that can make your Labrador smell bad:

🟦 Processed Foods

Processed pet foods often include artificial preservatives and fillers, which can contribute to a buildup of toxins in a dog’s body. These toxins can lead to bad breath and body odor.

🟦 Grains

Corn, wheat, and soy are common fillers in dog food. However, some dogs are allergic to these ingredients and develop skin problems as well as bad odors.

🟦 Dairy Products

Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are not easily digested by dogs and can cause digestive problems leading to bad breath and body odor.

🟦 Meat by-products

Low-quality dog foods often contain meat by-products, such as animal heads, feet, and organs. These can lead to the buildup of toxins in a dog’s body and cause bad odor.

🟦 Fatty Foods

Foods high in fat can cause weight gain and health problems in dogs, leading to bad breath and body odor.

Note: Labrador Retrievers need a healthy diet to maintain good overall health and hygiene, including fresh breath. It’s always recommended that you consult with a veterinarian or a professional pet nutritionist to ensure that your dog is getting the proper diet for their individual needs and health.

Tips for Keeping Your Labrador Retriever Fresh and Clean

Because of their thick coats, Labrador Retrievers can sometimes develop unpleasant odors. To help keep your furry friend smelling fresh and clean, follow these steps:

🟦 Regular Grooming

Brushing and bathing your Labrador Retriever regularly will help to keep them smelling clean. Brushing removes loose hair and dirt, while bathing removes dirt and odor-causing bacteria from your dog’s coat. Bathing should take place every three months or more frequently if they get particularly dirty or smelly.

When bathing your Labrador Retriever, use a shampoo designed for dogs rather than harsh human shampoos. Rinsing thoroughly and drying completely will also prevent skin infections that can cause a foul odor.

🟦 Diet and Exercise

Diet and exercise can help to keep your Labrador Retriever clean and smelling good. A high-quality diet rich in protein and low in fillers will help maintain a shiny coat. While regular exercise can help it maintain a healthy weight and reduce shedding.

🟦 Regular Vet Visits

Regular visits to the veterinarian can help keep your Labrador Retriever clean and smelling fresh. A vet can check for any underlying health issues that may be causing an odor, such as skin or dental problems. They can also provide personalized advice for keeping your dog healthy and clean.

🟦 Oral Hygiene

Just as humans need to take care of their oral hygiene, so do dogs to prevent the build-up of tartar and plaque. So, it is important that owners brush their Labrador Retriever’s teeth at least twice a week with a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically made for them. You can also give your Lab dental chew toys to help clean their teeth in the easiest way.

🟦 Eliminating The Source Of The Odor

A Labrador Retriever with a strong odor may have a health condition that requires treatment by a veterinarian. As mentioned, this odor may come from its skin, glands, or even its ear!

It is important to clean your dog’s ears and anal area regularly to prevent infections. Dogs have a tendency to get ear infections, which can lead to a bad smell if not cleaned properly. Their anal glands can also become infected or blocked, resulting in an unpleasant smell.

🟦 Regular Cleaning

To help keep your dog smelling fresh and clean, you should regularly clean your pet’s living areas. This includes washing their bedding, vacuuming and sweeping the nearby spots, as well as wiping down surfaces that your dog comes into contact with.

Preventing Bad Odor in Labrador Retrievers

yellow labrador lying in leaves looking curiously

Labrador Retrievers have a reputation for being friendly and outgoing, but they can also develop bad odors. Fortunately, there are a number of preventative measures you can take to keep your Labrador odor-free.

🟦 Bathe your Labrador regularly. 

Regular bathing is an important part of maintaining your Labrador’s cleanliness and health. Bathe your dog every 4-6 weeks using a mild dog-specific shampoo, and be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of soap.

🟦 Brush your Labrador’s coat regularly. 

Regular brushing can help to remove dirt, debris, and loose hair from your Labrador’s coat. Brush the entire coat length and be sure to use a brush designed for your dog’s coat type.

🟦 Clean your Labrador’s ears. 

Labrador Retrievers are prone to ear infections. To prevent them, check your Labrador’s ears regularly for signs of redness and swelling, and clean them with a cotton ball or soft cloth dipped in an ear cleaner formulated for dogs.

🟦 Keep your Labrador’s teeth clean. 

A lack of dental hygiene can cause bad breath in dogs. Regularly brushing your Labrador’s teeth with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste can help reduce the risk of bad breath development. You can also purchase dental chews or toys which will help clean your dog’s teeth while they play.

🟦 Watch your dog’s diet. 

Dogs that eat a diet that is too high in protein may develop bad odors. The best diet for your dog is one that provides balanced nutrition appropriate to its age, weight, and level of activity. You can also click here to know how much must you feed your Lab.

🟦 Groom your dog’s paws. 

Dogs’ paws can be vulnerable to dirt and bacteria, which can lead to bad odors. Dry your dog’s paws after walking outside, and clean them regularly with an antimicrobial soap to remove any odor-causing substances.

🟦 Watch for medical issues. 

Bad odor in dogs may be caused by various factors, including infections or skin problems. If your Labrador’s odor is not related to any of these factors, consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Final Words

Keeping your Labrador Retriever smelling fresh and clean is a joint effort between you and your pet. Some dogs may have stronger body odors than others. It is important to note that keeping your pet healthy and well-groomed will not only help him smell better but also help him live longer. If you notice any changes in behavior or health problems, consult your vet.

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