Why Does My German Shepherd Stink -7 Reasons

Why Does My German Shepherd Stink

We all love cuddling with our German shepherds now and then, but if there is an odor coming from their bodies cuddling will be impossible. Having a stinky German shepherd is disgusting and you must know the reason why your German shepherd is stinking before looking for a solution.

A German shepherd can stink because of several reasons like ear and skin infections, dental problems, impacted anal glands, excessive bathing, gas or GI upset, or if he had been rained on.

Scroll down to know the reasons why your German shepherd is stinking and what to do.


7 Reasons why German shepherds stink

Ear infections

If you notice your German shepherd keeps on scratching his ears and shaking his head, it is a sign that his ears are infected. The infection leads to the dog ears having bacteria and yeast.  The ears are damp and dark which provides a good breeding environs for bacteria.

Dog’s ears should be able to fight the bacteria but due to some reasons, they can multiply and overpower a dog’s natural defenses. These reasons are:

  • Droopy ears.
  • Excessive swimming.
  • Use of water to clean the ears instead of canine ear drops.
  • Over hairy ears.

Ear infections can make your German shepherd produce bad smells. If you are suspicious that your German shepherd has ear infections, visit your vet.

Skin Infections

 The skin performs a vital role in shielding the inner organs from harm, harsh temperatures, and diseases. When the skin is infected, it leads to many problems to the body like the emission of foul smell.

You can easily know if your German shepherd is having skin problems if he constantly scratches his skin or discomfort.

Skin infections will make your dog scratch until wounds make hotspots appear. Some of the skin problems that can lead to bad smells are;

  • Dandruff.
  • Mites and fleas.
  • Allergies.
  • Yeast infections.
  • Chronic skin issues.

Dental Problems

The same way humans produce bad breath after neglecting oral hygiene is the same for dogs. A dog should be brushed daily using a canine toothpaste and brush.

Some of the dental issues that can affect your German shepherd are:

  • Bleeding and swollen gums.
  • Discoloration of teeth.
  • Loose teeth.

You should buy dental chew toys and treats for bad breath to help keep the odors away. Additionally, give your German shepherd dry kibbles daily.

Impacted Anal Glands

Some German shepherds need their anal glands to be expressed regularly while others live their whole lives without their anal glands having any problem.

If a German shepherd’s anal glands are impacted, he will produce foul smells from his behind. You can know whether your dog’s glands need to be expressed if he shows these signs;

  • Strong fish-like smelly stool.
  • Licking and scooting their behind.
  • Bloody stool.                        
  • Inflamed anus.
  • Leaving a brown patch where he had sat on.

The glands can be expressed by a vet or you can do it yourself but with the approval and guidance of the vet.

Gas and GI Upset

It is normal for German shepherds to experience gastrointestinal problems in their lifetime. This problem can sometimes result in a German shepherd having a gassy stomach.

German shepherds should be able to regulate the amount of gas in their stomachs but this can be hindered by:

  • Poor feeding.
  • An abrupt change in diet.
  • Eating in garbage or trash.
  • Intestinal parasites.
  • Bacterial imbalance (advisable to use probiotics for German shepherds)

You should visit your vet if you suspect the foul smell is a result of gastrointestinal problems.

Excessive Bathing

How often you bathe your German shepherd can determine if he will produce bad smells or not. Excessive bathing rips away the natural oils from the skin. A dog should be bathed twice or thrice per year. When the oils are ripped off, the body interprets that the skin is having a shortage of oils and it will produce them in excess making the dog stink.

Avoid bathing your dog if it is not necessary, you can also use the baby powder between baths.

He has been rained on

It is very normal for a German shepherd that has been rained on to produce a bad smell. In some cases, it might be that he was from swimming and he was not dried properly.

The bacteria on the dog’s skin produces an odor when wet. If your German shepherd is smelling because of wetness, the only solution is to use a towel to dry the skin.

Ways To Prevent Odors In Your German Shepherd

Feed him a balanced diet.

Regularly clean his ears with canine ear drops.

Clean his beddings.

Bath him when necessary.

Use probiotics to help balance intestinal bacteria.

Ensure his teeth are clean and give him dental chews.

Make a habit of visiting your vet.


Many factors explain why your German shepherd stinks. The best solution to a stinking German shepherd is by finding the cause immediately and acting on it before it develops into a bigger problem.

With the help of this article, I am sure you can have a fresh-smelling dog and resume your cuddles.


Carol is a paw parent, and her love for dogs started when she was just 5. She adores her two German Shepherds and a Bengal cat, who she says, "life would be incomplete without"

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