Do Dogs Stink When In Heat? The Surprising Facts About Dog Odors

Do Dogs Stink When In Heat? Well, the short answer is Yes they do. We all know dogs naturally have a body odor that some people find unpleasant.

But when a dog is in heat, their natural odor can become even more intense. If you notice your dog starting to smell differently, it may be because she’s in heat.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at why dogs smell bad when they’re in heat and offer some tips on how to keep your dog smelling fresh.

Do Dogs Stink When In Heat?

Well, Yes Dogs do stink in heat. It varies depending on their breed and diet.

Every dog has a smell that stays with them constantly and it becomes more apparent when they are in heat.

Some dogs smell a lot in heat while some do not smell at all when they’re in the heat cycle.

However, their body odor can change. If you notice your dog starting to smell differently, it may be because they are in heat.

How Does A Female Dog Smell When She Is In Heat?

A female dog’s body odor is more noticeable when she’s in heat. A lot of people compare the smell to that of male dogs or say that it smells musky.

It isn’t a bad smell, but it is noticeable. The smell may even be stronger when the female dog is in heat because she releases pheromones.

Pheromones are a type of chemical that animals use to communicate, but they are also responsible for the smell.

Do Dogs Stink When In Heat

Factors Responsible For Dogs Stink When In Heat

There are several factors that determine whether or not your dog will have a strong body odor when she is in heat. They include:


Dogs that are on a high-protein diet tend to have stronger body odor. Females who are fed meat usually have the strongest body odor when they’re in heat.

Breed Of The Dog

Some breeds naturally smell worse than others while in heat. For example, Boxers are known to have a very strong smell when in heat.

Health Of The Dog

If your dog is not in good health, they may also be more likely to smell bad when they are in heat.

If your dog’s anal glands need to be expressed or if you need them cleaned out, it can result in an unpleasant odor.

Stress And Anxiety

Some dogs will release a strong odor when they are stressed or anxious as well.

If your dog is in heat and you notice that she smells more unpleasant than usual, this may be the reason why.

It can be caused by stress related to mating-related activities or because of an underlying health issue.


Harmones also play a big role in making your dog smell bad when they are in heat. Once the heat cycle begins, the hormones will start to increase and make your dog produce a strong odor.

This is nature’s way of attracting male dogs to your dog so they can reproduce and start the heat cycle all over again.


Dogs that are older may also have stronger body odor when they are in heat. This is because their hormones begin to change as they get older.

Why Does A Male Dog Find This To Be Attractive?

A male dog is going to become interested in your female dog when she starts to release a scent.

The smell of a female dog in heat can be very attractive to male dogs. If your male dog starts circling or following the female dog, it may be because she’s in heat.

A male dog may also try to mount the female dog and start humping her. This is a natural mating behavior and can happen when your female dog does not accept the male dog.

If you find that your female dog is in heat and your male dog has become a lot more active, there may be a chance that your female dog is going to become pregnant.

How Do You Get Rid Of The Smell Of A Dog In Heat?

Here are some tips to help you mask female heat smell and keep your female dog smelling fresh while she is in heat.

Keep Her Indoors

If you know that your female dog is going to be in heat, keep her indoors so she can’t escape. This will prevent male dogs from getting to her.

Keep Her Litter Box Clean

If your female dog is going to be indoors, keep her litter box clean so she isn’t stepping in it while she is exploring the house.

The more attractive your female dog’s bathroom area is to her, the less likely she is to mark around your house.

Limit Her Activity

Keep your female dog at a lower activity level while she is in heat. This will help to prevent her from getting all sweaty and dirty.

You don’t want your female dog smelling like an entire locker room, so keep her indoors if possible.

Bathe Her Frequently

You may also want to wash your female dog frequently while she is in heat.

This will help prevent the smell of her heat from getting too strong.

However, you should avoid using any harsh cleansers when you bathe your dog because it can irritate her skin.

Use Of Commercial Products

You can also purchase commercial products that are designed to remove the smell of a female dog in heat.

These products are safe to use on your dog and can help mask the actual odor. Products that have natural enzymes like cedar oil are especially good at removing the smell of a female dog in heat.

There are however some natural methods to deal with this issue. You can try using some pet odor neutralizing sprays or even just baking soda that you will sprinkle over the area.

Why Does My Female Dog Have A Bad Odor All Of A Sudden?

It is normal for your dog’s body odor to change because of her cycle. However, if you notice that she smells worse than usual, it may be because she is in heat.

If your dog smells like something is off, it may also be because she is ill. Some of the most common health issues that can cause a change in your dog’s body odor include:

1. Systemic Yeast Infections

Some dogs will develop yeast infections that can lead to a change in their body odor when they are in heat.

This is because there is an overgrowth of yeast in their body and the excess yeast will release a strong odor.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from a yeast infection, take her to the veterinarian and have her checked.


This condition can be treated with antibiotics and anti-fungals. If your dog is in heat, the best thing to do is to wait until she finishes. This way, you can avoid the risk of her becoming pregnant.

2. Skin Infections Caused By Bacteria

Sometimes, your dog’s body odor can change because of a skin infection.

Skin infections are characterized by the formation of bumps on your dog’s skin. If these bumps are infected, they may release a foul odor, which will affect your dog’s body odor.

When the infection is caused by bacteria, it will be treated with antibiotics and other medications. However, if the infection is caused by yeast or another type of fungus, the issue may not be treated with antibiotics.


If the bumps are not painful for your dog, you can clean them by wiping them with a tissue or cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide. You can also use a topical antibiotic cream to treat your dog’s skin infection.

3. Anal Gland Infections And Other Anal Gland Problems

Another reason why your female dog may smell worse than usual is because she has an infection in her anal glands.

Anal glands are small glands located near the dog’s anus.

These glands produce a secretion that has a strong odor and is rich in protein. If your dog’s anal glands become blocked, they can get infected and release a bad odor.


If your dog is in heat, the best thing to do is to wait until she finishes before you take further action. This way, you can avoid the risk of her becoming pregnant.

This infection is commonly treated with antibiotics. However, if your dog’s anal glands do not improve after treatment, you may need to have them removed.

If your dog is experiencing pain, make sure to see a veterinarian and have the anal glands expressed.

4. Impacted Anal Glands

This is another common cause of your female dog’s body odor changing. Anal glands that are impacted release a musky odor because the secretion backs up.

This means that the secretion is stored in another part of your dog’s body instead of being excreted through the anus.


If your dog has an impacted anal gland, or anal gland tumors it will need to be surgically removed. Your veterinarian can also insert a tube into the gland and flush it out.

After your dog recovers from the surgery, you should take steps to prevent future anal gland problems by feeding her food that is specifically formulated for anal glands and anal gland odour.

5. Intestinal Parasites

Your dog may be experiencing an internal parasitic infection if she smells bad and is losing weight without trying.

Intestinal parasites are worms that live in your dog’s intestines. If your dog has intestinal parasites, they will use up some of the nutrients she needs.

This will leave little nutrition for her to survive on, which may cause her to lose weight. Moreover, they can also cause bowel movement problems, that could lead to anal gland irritation, Anal gland disease, anal gland abscess and other problems.


If your dog has intestinal parasites, they will need to be treated with medication. Your veterinarian can run a fecal test and prescribe the appropriate medication for your dog’s condition.

6. Kidney Disease And Other Urinary Tract Issues

Bad body odor in dogs is also commonly associated with urinary tract infections.

These infections are usually caused by bacteria or fungi. Your dog may have difficulty urinating, which may cause her urine to become stagnant.

This can lead to the formation of crystals in your dog’s urine, which will have a foul odor. If your dog’s urine has a bad smell, and he is having frequent urination then as a responsible owner it is best to have her checked by a veterinarian.


Antibiotics and other medications will be given to treat your dog’s urinary tract. infection. But if it’s an advanced kidney disease then it will require more intensive treatment.

7. It Maybe A Dental Disease Causing Bad Breath

If your dog has bad breath, it may be a sign of dental disease or a sigh a sign of infection in his tooth. Dental disease is the most common cause of bad breath in dogs.

Dental disease is caused by plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth. This can lead to gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums.

If left untreated, dental disease can lead to tooth loss, and it can also cause problems with your dog’s organs.


If your dog has dental disease, he will need to have his dental cleaning by a veterinarian. Your dog may also need to have his teeth extracted if the problem is severe.

After your dog’s teeth have been cleaned, you should brush his teeth regularly, maintain proper dental hygiene and give him chew toys to help prevent future dental problems.

Moreover, liquid chlorophyll for dogs can also help to remove bad breath but you should not give it to your dog when he is at least 3 weeks months of age. Because oily substance can upset a young puppy’s stomach.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog’s Body Odor To A Minimum

If your dog is having trouble with body odor, you may be wondering how to make her smell better.

The best thing you can do is to take your dog to a veterinarian and find out the cause of the problem.

However, you can also take some steps to help reduce your dog’s body odor at home.

Wash Your Dog’s Bedding Regularly

The first thing you should do is to wash your dog’s bedding regularly to get rid of any dead skin cells that are releasing an odor. Bitch with pyometra may have an unpleasant smell due to the infection in their uterus.

This accompanying smell is often described as being similar to that of a rotting fish. If your female dog is in heat, she may also have an increased body odor due to that so washing regularly is necessary.

Bathe Your Dog Regularly

You should also bathe your dog regularly to get rid of any dirt, dead skin cells, or other particulates that may be causing her body to smell bad.

You can use a gentle shampoo and warm water. If you wash your dog too frequently, it will dry out her skin and leave her at risk for developing skin problems.

If you notice that your dog’s body odor has gotten worse, it is best to go back to bathing her once every month or two with a natural shampoo or cleansing shampoo to get over the fishy smell because of anal gland secretions, periodontal disease, anal gland issues, or bleeding during estrus.

Keep Your Dog Away From Stagnant Water

If your dog likes to hang out near stagnant water or puddles, you should keep her away from these areas as much as possible.

This is because stagnant water can create an environment that is rich in bacteria that will cause your dog’s body odor to change. Moreover, an allergic skin disease can also cause a yeasty skin leading to a wet dog smell.

Feed Your Dog Food That Is Specifically Formulated For Her Condition

You may have noticed that some dogs have more of a tendency to develop body odor than others do.

If this is the case with your dog, it may be because her breed is predisposed to smelling badly.

Dogs that have a tendency towards strong bodily odor might benefit from eating special food that was specifically formulated for them.

Dogs that are in heat will often produce an excessive amount of body odor, which can be quite unpleasant.

This type of body odor may also get worse when your dog reaches sexual maturity because she will create musk-like odors during mating season.

If you notice that your female dog is producing more BOD than usual, it could be because she is in heat or close to reaching sexual maturity.

Neuter Your Dog

If your female dog has reached sexual maturity, you should take her to the vet so they can spay her and prevent unwanted pregnancies. Spaying your dog can also help her to produce less body odor.

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Is It Natural For A Healthy Dog To Stink?

No, it’s not natural for a healthy dog to stink or produce fishy odors. Dogs produce body odor as the result of excessive bacteria and moisture on their skin folds and fur.

There are times though when fur is so matted that dead skin cells and bacteria collect on the outermost hairs and adjacent skin surfaces which can cause them to smell bad.

Bacterial infections and/or internal diseases can cause a dog to smell bad too. This is not normal though. If your canine smells bad, it’s best to have him checked by a veterinarian and have proper veterinary advice.


If your dog’s coat smells bad, you need to find out why. This is especially true if your dog hasn’t been exposed to any chemicals or pesticides.

Usually, the cause is an underlying medical condition. If your dog’s body odor doesn’t go away when you bathe him or if it gets worse, it’s best to take him to the vet.

This is especially true if he smells bad all the time instead of just occasionally.

I hope that now you have a very clear idea that why do dogs stink when in heat and how to make them smell better.

If you have any further questions, please let me know in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do female dogs smell fishy when in heat?

Yes, female dogs in heat emit a distinct fishy smell. The strong odor is caused by the bacteria built up during menstruation.

That bacteria, mixed with the blood, is what causes the characteristic odor. Some dog owners find it extremely offensive while others are less sensitive to blood smell.

Females in actual heat may also have an odor when not bleeding. This is from the strong hormones that are being produced when they are fertile and ready to mate and are coming out from their specialized sweat glands.

Why does my dog smell like period blood?

The foul smell of your pet’s period blood is very distinctive. It smells metallic, similar to the taste of pennies or copper that you might find in your mouth.

This is because the blood and brown material coming out of your dog contains a high concentration of iron, which causes this odor when it mixes with bacteria.

The stronger the unpleasant smell, the more blood is being lost by your female dog.

Do dogs bleed when in heat?

If a female dog is having a heavy period, she may experience bleeding as well as the distinct fishy smelling discharge.

If the dog has been spayed or if her amounts of discharge is very light, then she may not be experiencing heavy enough vaginal bleeding.

Bloody or straw-colored discharge can also be a sign of an infection, so if you’re unsure, it’s always best to take your dog to the veterinary professional.

Do female dogs smell less than males?

This is dependent on the breed, age, and time of heat cycle. However, it can be said that in general females do not emit as strong of an odor as male dogs do.

Male dogs in heat may emit a very strong stench or musty smell that owners will notice right away.

The foul-smelling discharge coming from the dog may have a very strong, fishy smell as well.

Pet parents should take care to monitor male dogs during this time as they may be overcome with the urge to breed and will try to escape.

There is not much of a difference between male and female dogs in heat, the only difference is that females will bleed and a bloody discharge with abnormal odors may be present.

How often do dogs go into heat?

The average dog will go into heat twice a year, or about every six months. However, this varies depending on the breed and health conditions of the dog.

Smaller breeds may go into heat more often than larger breeds. Some dogs may only go into heat once a year, while others may go into heat every four to six months.

Can you bathe a dog in heat?

Yes, you can bathe the dog in hot water to help rid her of excess hair and dead skin cells that may be making her distinct smell worse.

In addition, adding conditioner to your dog’s shampoo can help eliminate any undesirable odors. this cleaning method is even used by experienced breeders to keep their canine companion safe from bacterial skin diseases and give them a perfect environment during their menstrual cycle.

Can male dogs smell female dogs in heat?

Yes, male dogs can smell a female dog in heat from quite a distance. They will often try to escape the home and find her using their sense of smell.

Dogs can differentiate smells much better than humans and their noses are extremely powerful.

So, pet owners should be aware that a male dog may be able to smell a female in heat even if she is not bleeding.