Why Does My Dog Smell Like Sour Milk

Why Does My Dog Smell Like Sour Milk?

Why Does My Dog Smell Like Sour Milk?

If your dog smells like sour milk, there could be a few reasons for this unpleasant odor. Here are some potential causes and solutions for a dog that smells like sour milk:


One of the most common reasons a dog smells like sour milk is their diet. Dogs that eat food with a high fat content or consume table scraps with dairy can develop an odor. Switching to a high-quality dog food formulated for your dog’s age and activity level can help reduce body odors.

Skin Fold Infections

Breeds with lots of skin folds and wrinkles like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shar-Peis are prone to developing skin fold dermatitis. Moisture and debris trapped in the folds can cause a secondary yeast or bacterial infection. This can make your dog smell like sour milk. Keeping the folds clean and dry is important.

Anal Gland Issues

A dog’s anal glands can cause foul odors if they become impacted or infected. The glands may need to be expressed by a veterinarian or groomer. Sometimes medications or diet changes are needed. Anal gland issues are a common cause of a sour milk smell.

Ear Infections

Chronic ear infections are common in dogs and can cause a terrible odor. Yeast and bacteria buildup in the ears and ear canals emits a sour, yeasty smell resembling sour milk. Cleaning and medications may be needed to clear up the infection.

Dental Disease

Periodontal disease is extremely common in dogs. Bacteria cause plaque and tartar buildup, leading to inflamed gums and tooth decay. This can make your dog’s breath smell rancid like sour milk. Daily tooth brushing and professional cleanings can prevent dental disease.

Skunk Spray

If your dog was skunked, the lingering smell can be hard to remove entirely. Skunk spray has a strong, sour, acrid odor that sticks to hair and skin. Thorough bathing with de-skunking shampoo is required.

How to Get Rid of Sour Milk Smell

Here are some tips for getting rid of a sour milk odor in dogs:

  • Give your dog a bath with a high-quality shampoo
  • Clean skin folds thoroughly
  • Have the vet evaluate anal glands and ears
  • Brush your dog’s teeth daily
  • Feed a high-quality diet
  • Use water additives to improve coat health
  • Diffuse essential oils like lemon, peppermint, or eucalyptus

When to See the Vet

Make an appointment with your veterinarian if:

  • The smell persists after bathing
  • Your dog is constantly scooting, licking, or biting the rear end
  • You see discharge, swelling, or redness of the skin, ears, or rear end
  • Your dog is acting lethargic or ill

A sour milk odor may indicate an underlying health problem needing treatment. Catching infections early improves the chances of curing it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my dog suddenly smell like sour milk?

Sudden onset of a sour milk smell may indicate a new health problem like an ear or skin infection. Have your vet examine your dog.

Are yeast infections in dogs common?

Yes, yeast overgrowth is very common in dogs. It thrives in moist, dark environments like ears, skin folds, armpits, and paws.

Can I add anything to my dog’s food to reduce odor?

Adding supplements like probiotics, omega fatty acids, and digestive enzymes to your dog’s meals can improve digestion and reduce odors.

What shampoos help eliminate odor in dogs?

Veterinary formula shampoos like HyLyt and DermAllay work well for smelly dogs. Look for soothing oatmeal, micellar water, and deodorizing ingredients.

Should I change my dog’s diet if they smell bad?

Yes, switching to a high-quality dog food designed for your dog’s needs may reduce odors. Avoid cheap foods with fillers that are hard to digest.

Can I use essential oils on my smelly dog?

Yes, dilute essential oils like lavender, lemon, peppermint, and tea tree in a carrier oil. Use sparingly and avoid the eyes, nose, and genitals.

When should I see a vet for bad dog odor?

Make an appointment if odor persists after bathing, you see skin changes, discharge, or swelling, or your dog seems ill.

For more information, check out this article from AKC on eliminating dog odor.

Published by

Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @ BreatheBetterAir.org