Do Fleas Cause An Odor?

My dog has an odor. I gave her a few flea bath and a week or two later, she still stinks. Plus she still has fleas. Would fleas have anything to do with her still having an odor?


Bonnie from Hudson, ME

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September 5, 20080 found this helpful

Wash your dog with Dawn dish soap. The dog won't have anymore fleas and the dawn will help with the smell.

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September 5, 20080 found this helpful

Doggies just simply get smelly like people do ;-) Bathe once a week and get an oral flea medication from your vet :-)

A couple of decades ago I had a German Shorthair Pointer and she 'loved' to take a shower with me once a week !!! She even would pick up the folded towel with her mouth I had set on the toilet seat to dry her when the shower was done :-)

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September 5, 20080 found this helpful

Fleas do not cause an odor on a dog. I had only one dog that ever had an odor. i kept giving him a bath and it didn't help. Turned out it was "gunk' that built up in his EARS. Cleaning ears (carefully) regularly was more important than baths.


Go easy on the dawn in baths. I read somewhere that it's toxic in large doses (even through skin).

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By Amy (Guest Post)
September 6, 20080 found this helpful

I have found that some dogs have very oily skin and I think that is what makes some of them smell. As the other poster stated Dawn is a great to use. It is the best at cutting grease so it will help with the oils. I also had a dog sprayed by a skunk and the vet told us to use dawn for that too. If the problem is the ears.... Ear mites STINK!!!!! Witch hazel on a cotton ball or a baby wipe will help.

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December 23, 20180 found this helpful

If scratching the skin could get a bacterial infection which could create a smell from the bacteria on your dogs skin.

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September 6, 20080 found this helpful

Unless there is a medical condition causing the smell (like an ear infection or an abscess or something like that), dog smell is usually associated with the food you are feeding the dog. The food can also cause a "greasy feel" on the dog's coat.


If the odor persists, try changing to a better quality dog food and see if that changes the smell. It usually takes about two or three weeks to notice a difference. If you're going to do this, try mixing half of the current dog food with half of the new dog food for few days to a week before making a complete switch, since abruptly changing the food can cause a different nasty smell (gassy dogs!). I'm all for saving money (that's why I'm on this website all the time!), but whenever I have used cheap dog food, I don't find that the savings is worth the smelly dogs and greasy feel of their coat. I enjoy petting them and putting my face close to them to snuggle way too much to give that up for saving money. Try changing the dog's diet and see if that helps.

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By lymie (Guest Post)
September 8, 20080 found this helpful

Has your vet checked/cleaned the anal glands???
It's worth a try!
All the best to you both!!

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By Donna (Guest Post)
September 12, 20080 found this helpful

My dog has a odor problem, a fishy odor. If odors are not alleviated through bathing, then check with your Vet. It may be the ears (you can smell them yourself), sometimes the anal gland but that is a putrid strong odor out of nowhere, but many general dog odors tha is over the whole dog is usually a skin infection (as mine had staph not like our staph!), excema, and many other skin disorders.


My vet said sometimes allergies to flea bites and the itch scratch cycle opens the skin up to staph and other infections that require antibiotics.

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By sharon c. (Guest Post)
September 13, 20080 found this helpful

I read Dawn may be a little strong and that you should use baby shampoo instead, it will kill the fleas. I also agree that it maybe be an ear infection, sniff them. If its from the mouth it's bad teeth, you should take a trip to your vet to be sure. Good luck. I am also from Maine, Hartland area. lol.

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September 20, 20080 found this helpful

I'm not certain about the odor, but I have had several talks with my Vet about fleas. He told me flea shampoos only work while the dog is lathered up. He told me flea collars are best cut in 4 pieces, 3 pieces put in a freezer bag and frozen, the other piece goes in the vacuum cleaner, then changed out regularly. In late summer when we get fleas, I get flea medicine from my Vet that I apply to the back lower neck, part way down the back so they can't lick it. It really works, and I don't have to buy all of that other stuff. I have also done this for a flea infested dog-- rub them all over with mineral oil. The mineral oil smothers the fleas. Wait about 10 minutes or so, then bathe them--they may need to be bathed twice to get all of the oil out--but then they need the medicine from the Vet to kill all the fleas and keep them off. I started doing this one year when my Mom got a letter from her Vet saying that if she vacationed in Florida, the pet was not allowed at the Vet Clinic until it was flea-free. The fleas were really bad that year. I also take an old plastic dish and put water in it with a thin film of oil on top, then I use a flea comb and comb my dogs meticiously. I don't put the flea comb in the water/oil solution, I just use my fingers and get the fleas in the water/oil solution.


It drowns the fleas, then I dump out the water/oil solution in the trash. My Vet told me I could also use a water/dish soap solution because the dish soap viscosity also drowns the fleas. If you try this, don't dip the flea comb in the plastic container with water/oil/or dish soap. Just hold the comb with your fingers as soon as you see fleas on it so the fleas can't get away, then with your fingers push or pull any dog hair and the fleas into the water/oil/dish soap solution so the fleas can't jump out. These methods really work--but you also need the medicine from the Vet. Also, you might politely check with any neighbors to make certain they are also doing their part to cut down on the fleas. If they aren't doing anything, you are forewarned, and will know to start in advance. Fleas don't just live on dogs, they also bite me. I get red spots where the fleas bite, it itches like crazy and hurts, too. I am a flea-terminator. I meticulously go after fleas until every last one is gone. I haven't had any fleas this year at all. Good Luck with your flea problem, once solved your pet will be so much happier! I don't understand the odor problem, and would definitely check with the Vet--there may be some other problem going on. My Best Wishes to You and your dog.

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October 13, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you all very much for your help with me and my dog. By the way, her name is Lucy.

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April 29, 20170 found this helpful

I adopted a poodle mix which I think came from a puppy mill. She had the worst flea infestation symptoms I have ever seen. She was treated for fleas and bathed when brought into the shelter. She had no hair half way down her back, her skin felt like leather and she had a horrible smell. I gave her another bath and had her spayed. She wasn't healing from the spay. I took her to my regular vet. I was told to feel her. The gritting feeling was natural oils because of the fleas. She also had pimples all over her which I was told because of the flea infestation infection working its way out of her system. She was given a round of antibiotics that would help with the healing from her surgery but also from the flea infection in her blood.


Can't remember exactly what he called it infection. Although when she was adopted I was told her blood work was perfect. Not really. But infection usually only happens in severe flea infestation cases. We are now starting our second round of antibiotics because the pimples are better but are still present which means she has the infection present in her blood. Her hair has started growing back but her skin is still very dry. Could take up to 3 months for her skin to get back to normal. The smell is getting better but we still have a way to go. She has stopped digging and is a great dog. A trip to the vet might be advised if the symptoms are severe.

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