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Why Your Doberman Smells So Bad: 6 Reasons & What To Do

A bad-smelling Doberman is both worrying and unpleasant. On top of that, Dobermans are not a naturally smelly breed, which only adds to the confusion.

This article covers the 6 main reasons why your Dobie may smell, what to do about it, and when it might be worth a vet check-up.


Why Does My Doberman Smell So Bad? (6 Reasons)

Your Doberman could smell for reasons such as having dirt or muck stuck in their coat, unwashed paws or yeast build-up, bad breath or dental issues, skin problems, or due having a smelly behind (Anal Sacs).

Let’s run through everything in more detail below.

1. Dirt or Muck Stuck In His Coat

Thankfully, Dobies have very short and sleek coats, so finding dirty or muck is a quick and easy task.

Dobermans love being outside, exercising, and will wander around your yard if left to their own devices. Their inquisitive nature will get them into the furthest corners of your yard you never knew existed, and sometimes he can find some rather nasty substances.

Without realizing, your Dobie could end up with a wide range of nasty smelly substances stuck on his coat from other animal poop, rotten food, rotten fruit fallen on the ground, or maybe he went swimming in a dirty lake while you were out hiking.

2. Unwashed Paws and Yeast Infections

The paws are the first contact to the dirty ground, plus, they are one of the only places that your Dobermans sweats from. That’s two potential causes of foul smell.

Your Doberman could have easily have walked in something smelly in your yard or while out on his walk. From garbage, poop, rotten foods, and so forth.

Paws typically have a “corny” kind of smell to them anyway, and that’s actually fine as long as it’s not too strong. That’s not quite what a yeast infection is, so let’s cover that…

Yeast infections are fairly common and happen as bacteria grows until it’s at an uncontrollable level for the body to deal with. Why in the paws? well, the paws are one of the only places that a dog sweats from.

This means the paws are a naturally humid place and are prone to bacteria growth. This then leads to some very strong and funky smells. They say you smell a yeast infection before you see it…

Psst. A quick update on Doberman training! Brain Training For Dogs could be the best training approach we’ve seen for Dobie pups. Results show improvement in obedience and behavior quicker than we thought possible! Check it out.

3. Bad Breath and Dental Issues

As responsible dog owners, it’s important for us to take care of our furry friend’s mouths. Dental hygiene is extremely important and involves conditions such as gum disease which can be fatal.

Bad breath can be caused by many factors:

Tooth & gum disease (by far the most common reason for bad-smelling breath)
Fish-based diets (salmon based kibble)
Tar and plaque build-up on the teeth
● Digestive and stomach issues (he could be disagreeing with his kibble)
● Kidney and liver disease
● Diabetes
● Mouth tumors

I know what you are thinking, that list is long and scary. Fortunately for most Dobies, It will be a matter of their diet, how well they are digesting their food, and uncleaned mouths.

Take a whiff of your Dobie’s breath. It could be where the foul smell is coming from. And if it is, it’s advised to speak to your veterinarian if no obvious reasons come to mind (like eating poop!).

4. Skin Infections

Skin infections can be another source of bad smell in dogs. Fortunately, with a Dobies short coat, it’s easier to inspect than many other breeds.

Different skin infections can happen for a wide range of underlying reasons such as allergies, Cushing’s disease, or hypothyroidism, and it’s worse for dogs with skin folds like bulldogs where bacteria builds (thankfully not an issue with Dobies!).

In essence, skin infections happen when the skin’s natural defenses break down enough to let bacteria grow to an uncontrollable level. This lets yeast and other fungal organisms grow, which also happens to smell.

It’s said that if your dog has a skin infection, you will smell it before you see it. And it will typically smell like strong corn, popcorn, or a cheesy smell.

The paws are a classic place for yeast infections but don’t be alarmed if you smell a faint corny smell, as paws nearly always have that to some extent.

You may also see dry skin, redness, swelling, puss, and your Dobie will likely be paying a lot of attention to the area.

5. Smelly Bums and Anal Sacs

Smelly bums can involve two different situations…

Your Dobie has a little bit of poop around his bum area which easily happens if he has runny stools or diarrhea. If it is this, then the smell will be easily recognizable…

The second issue could be his anal sacs. These are two small glands located just inside your Doberman’s bum. Sometimes, for whatever reason, these two sacs may become impacted and then start to secret an extremely foul-smelling substance.

The classic sign of this is when your Dobie scoots his bum along the ground. If you notice this, you are better off contacting your local veterinarian for their help.

6. Ear Infections

Although Dobermans are not prone to ear infections as easily as many other breeds, it’s still a potential cause of the bad smell.

Ear infections can smell surprisingly strong and give your Dobie a lingering smell that you likely can’t locate. Ear infections can make your Doberman’s face and neck area smell considerably.

You might also notice your Dobie paying more attention to their ears or trying to scratch them. If you do notice this, give his ears an inspection and if you see redness, irritation in general, puss, or you can clearly smell something foul, a visit to the vets is the best course of action.

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7 Ways To Stop Your Doberman From Smelling

Let’s run through all the steps to have your Dobie smelling fresh and clean once again. Some of these tips will also serve as great preventative measures for the future.

1. Inspect His Coat & Have a Brushing Routine

One of the first things to do is inspect his coat, you could even do it right now! Sit him down next to you with his chew toy and look through his entire coat, look in his ears, around his neck, his underbelly, check his paws and his backside.

Try spreading his coat a little with your fingers to see the skin in as many areas as you can. He may need a chew treat by this point to remain still!

Then, get the brush out and create a new brushing routine that you actually stick to. Dobermans don’t shed that much, but they do still shed, so brushing him once or twice per week will not only remove loose hair but will continuously comb through his coat removing dirty build-up and anything that shouldn’t be there.

Brushing also has the added benefit of redistributing his coat’s natural oils. These oils do an excellent job of preventing dirt from sticking to his coat.

2. Wash His Paws Regularly

Extra attention needs to be given to his paws. His paws, even if they look clean are going to be full of dirt and bacteria, whether it’s from his own sweat glands, or from the dirty outside floors.

Give his paws a smell, you will know right away whether the funk is coming from them. If he has a yeast infection or has stood in poop, the smell will be very bad. If it’s a faint corny smell, it’s nothing to be alarmed about.

Regardless, get a bucket of lukewarm water, add in some of his natural ingredient dog shampoo and give his paws a thorough washing. Focus on washing between his toes, rinse thoroughly, and dry as much as possible.

Washing his paws is a good habit to get into at least every few days. But don’t always use shampoo as it may dry his paws out. Water will be sufficient most of the time, with the occasional shampooing.

3. Wipe Him Down With Baby Wipes

Most Dobie owners already know about the baby wipe trick, and if you don’t, you’re in for a treat. Baby wipes or grooming wipes are excellent for general maintenance and light cleaning of your Doberman’s coat.

By wiping his coat down once or twice per week with a baby wipe, you’ll be essentially giving him a light bath and cleaning session. Baby wipes will remove surface muck, loose hairs, and should help keep his skin and coat in good condition.

Using wipes is a neat little trick but it doesn’t replace bathing altogether, which I will talk about next. You can either use baby wipes or real grooming wipes (which I link to below).

4. Never Give Him Too Many Baths

Overbathing is one of the leading causes of dry skin, and dry skin is one of the main reasons dogs visit the vets! Dry skin can lead to general skin irritation and even skin infections, which has been mentioned already.

This is certainly a preventative measure rather than a quick fix to his current funk.

The issue with frequent bathing is that the shampoo removes too many of the coat’s natural oils and dries out his skin. Both of which lead to many issues.

Dobermans only need to be bathed once every three to four months. Especially if you are using baby wipes in between baths, it will certainly prolong the time he remains clean for.

If your Dobie hasn’t had a bath in a while, it won’t hurt to give him another one now to see if that stops the bad smell.

5. Check His Mouth Regularly

His oral hygiene is really important. It’s reported that only one-third of dog owners in the USA brush their dog’s teeth. When gum disease is extremely common and can be fatal, their oral hygiene becomes very important.

You can treat your Dobie to dental sticks to combat tartar build-up and plaque. Many dental sticks are given as a one-per-day treat, but this varies, please check the packaging first.

Brushing his teeth regularly is also advised. Don’t worry, you don’t need to brush them as much as we brush ours! But once per week is a good start. You can purchase purpose-made dog toothbrushes and dog-friendly toothpaste. (link below)

Apart from dental sticks and brushing, schedule appointments with your veterinarian once every six months for the purpose of dental health.

6. Check His Kibble

What type of kibble are you using? does it contain any kind of fish? and is he getting on with it?

Changing his kibble may not be necessary, and if it’s a high-quality one that he currently gets on with, it can be more problematic trying to make a change than not.

But if you notice him disagree with his food, show discomfort after eating, refuse it, or have diarrhea, it may suggest the kibble isn’t working for him. Which could also be the cause of bad breath.

Many experts believe that a raw food diet is not only healthier but also never results in bad breath. The raw food diet is a big topic of discussion and can be difficult to get right. If you want to read more about it, this is a great article.

7. Avoid Giving Him Table Scraps

According to one study, around 40% of dogs in the USA receive table scraps or leftovers on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, there are many ingredients in our food that dogs should not. Ingredients such as garlic, onion, and salt are often contained within our meals, yet are all considered extremely bad and even toxic for dogs. This can cause digestive issues, which will then cause bad breath.

And the list is a lot bigger than that too, Xylitol (artificial sweetener), sugar, raisins, grapes, certain fruit, certain nuts, caffeine, and alcohol are all considered toxic for dogs.

Avoid upsetting his stomach, to avoid bad breath and a stinky Dobie.

Key Points Summarized

I know, that’s a lot of information to digest. So here’s it all broken down into what to do now, and what to do as a preventative in the future.

What you can do now to fix your Dobermans smell:

Inspect his coat for dirt and dried muck. Brush him thoroughly
Check his paws for yeast infection, give them a smell, wash them with shampoo
Only If he hasn’t had a bath in a while, give him a proper bath with shampoo
Check his mouth, look at his teeth and his gums (is there tartar or plaque? does it smell?)
Ensure he doesn’t have an ear infection
Brush his teeth with a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste
Change his kibble if it contains fish or he isn’t getting on well with it
Visit your veterinarian if nothing from above works

When to see a veterinarian? If you discover skin infections, yeast infections or he has any kind of irritation in his mouth combined with bad breath, visit your veterinarian.

What can you do to prevent your Doberman from smelling in the future:

Have a weekly brushing routine, and inspect his coat often
Wash his paws when he comes back from walks (at least weekly)
● Wipe him down with baby wipes on a weekly basis (removes dirt and freshens him up)
● Brush his teeth weekly and inspect his mouth (look for irritation, redness)
● Only bathe him once every three to four months (overbathing causes many skin issues)
● Be observant with how well he gets on with his kibble (digestion issues can lead to bad smell)
● Provide dental chews
● Avoid giving him table scraps
● Schedule an appointment every six months to check his oral health.

Recommended products:
Hertzko Slicker Brush
Natural-Ingredient Dog Shampoo
Greenies Originals Dental Chews
Natural Grooming Dog Wipes
Arc & Hammer Dog Teeth Cleaning Kit

Thank you for reading! I really hope this article has helped you and you have actionable tips to try today. If I have missed something, please let me know and I will be happy to add relevant sections.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.