PET ODORS-SUMMERTIME WARNING SIGNS
Summertime can bring hot weather, humidity, bugs and allergies– all of which can make pets itchy and sometimes even smelly. While pets need occassional baths to clean up odors, for the most part, pets should feel and smell nice. Peculiar pet odors are generally a sign that something is “off” and it is important for you to find out the source of the odor. Pet odors are not just cosmetic–they are warning signs alerting you of a potential problem. Here are just a few odors to watch out for:
Smelly Skin and Coat—Allergies—both environmental and digestive, contribute to skin problems. Both yeast and bacterial infections can cause an odor especially when it is hot and muggy. Pet owners often get discouraged because their pet will have an odor even after giving them a bath. It is a misnomer to conclude “my pet just smells” or that it is somehow related to your pet’s breed. The odor is a sign of imbalance and possibly infection. Many times pets have an odor from allergies (even an allergic rash from fleas!) which can also leave a white powdery or greasy film on your hand when you touch your pet. Common food allergens include grains such as wheat, oats, gluten and corn. Too many carbohydrates such as rice and potatoes, when given to a young pet, can contribute to yeast overgrowth. Some meat proteins such as chicken and poultry can be big allergens too. In addition to food allergies, pets can have environmental allergies too. At the first sign of a skin odor, please take your pet to the veterinarian to determine the cause. Your pet could have an infection, parasites or an underlying endocrine disorder.
Stinky Ears—If you smell near your pet’s ears and there is a strong odor, take your pet for a checkup right away. During the hot summer months, pets are prone to ear infections. Many ear infections are due to yeast overgrowth. Using dry kibble is often a contributing factor, especially if it contains the grains mentioned above or is high in carbohydrates. Dry pet food, while convenient for you, can greatly contribute to yeast overgrowth. Pets need fresh foods such as green vegetables, meat and Omega 3s to optimize health.
Bad Breath—Pets need dental cleanings just like we do. If you have recently had your pet’s teeth cleaned and there is still a bad odor, then your pet’s bad breath needs to be addressed. Bad breath can be a sign of an underlying health condition such as acid stomach, poor digestion, dental or gum infection or kidney disease. It is not just a cosmetic issue—it can be a very real sign that you shouldn’t ignore. If you have an older pet, get a blood test and urine analysis. Poor digestion from food is also a very likely culprit. Pets with bad breath often have other problems such as poor coat quality, scratching and itching and allergies.
Gas, Belching and Vomiting—This is something our pets may do on occassion. But frequent rumbly tummies, gas, burping and regurgitation are a sign that something is wrong. Often these signs are due to the food you are feeding. Finding the optimal food depends greatly upon the age and health conditions of your pet. For example, pets that have IBS may do just fine with potatoes while other pets with chronic ear infections do not. If your pet has digestive issues, scheduling a telephone consultation to determine the best diet and supplement program is highly recommended. It is very common for pet owners to report that years of gas and belching were early symptoms that their pet was suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. For example, cats can be susceptible to developing intestinal lymphoma after years of eating foods they have been allergic to. It is always a good idea to revisit your pet’s diet with a veterinary professional if you notice any of the above digestive symptoms.