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How Much Do Pugs Smell? Everything You Need to Know

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

pug drinking

Pugs are cute dogs with goofy characters and small wrinkly features. They’re delightful and feisty in their movements but live up to their lap-dog moniker, which means they’re often close to their owners. But this brachycephalic breed comes with its own challenges, including snorting sounds, excessive shedding, and worst of all, some pungent odors.

These dogs swallow significant amounts of air, which ends up as flatulence. They are also susceptible to gastrointestinal health problems and wrinkles, all contributing to the odor. Other common odors emanate from their head, face, and mouth.

Keep reading to understand further what makes your Pug smell and how you can remedy the odor.

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Why Do Pugs Smell So Bad?

Along with English Bulldogs, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, Beagles, and Yorkies, Pugs are among the smelliest dogs, especially due to extreme gassiness. Everything from sweat, dirt, flatulence, and infections will emanate from their wrinkly bodies, mouths, ears, and anal glands, sometimes making the smell a lot to handle for their owners.

Some reasons for this are natural, while others point to an underlying issue.1 Mostly, the major problem arises from their flat faces that suck in air, and together with an inappropriate diet, cause high levels of flatulence, a common brachycephalic trait.

Besides that, other causes of the Pug’s bad smell include:

Your Pug’s Natural Odor

Like any other dog, your Pug has an unavoidable natural doggy odor. The short and dense coat of Pugs gets oily and smelly fast, especially when you don’t practice constant grooming, including baths with shampoos and hair trims.

If your dog smells exceptionally foul, it’s because they are only themselves or they’ve overheated. Also, these dogs are short-legged and will rub onto anything, including their feces, but that’s nothing a thorough bath won’t fix.

Wrinkles on Your Pug’s Face, Ears, and Neck

Skin folds on Pugs make them appear adorable, but they can be the main source of your dog’s unpleasant smell. The breed features facial and neck wrinkles that trap food, dirt, and grime, which ends up becoming putrid.

Unless the microbial infection has set in, you can practice proper hygiene to combat foul odors.

It would be best to clean the tiny pockets on your Pug’s wrinkly face, neck, and ears at least once a day, possibly with formulated grooming wipes. Opening the folds on their skin will expose the cause of the stink.

Clean the ears at least once or twice a month to reduce grime buildup from wax and prevent ear infections.

Stinking Breath

An overlooked aspect of a Pug’s grooming includes dental hygiene, without which your dog will produce bad breath every time they exhale or bark.

Due to their flat faces and odd-shaped skulls,2 Pugs’ teeth are crowded inside their mouths, often resulting in misaligned and crooked dental arrangements. Typically, your dog’s teeth will self-clean when they eat kibble or chew on chewy toys, but plaque and decay may persist when they chew hard foods.

Use recommended doggy toothpaste and brush to keep your Pug’s mouth clean. Further, visit the vet for tooth extraction or infection to help clear bad breath.

A foul odor that smells like urine could also indicate serious adverse health conditions like renal failure or diabetes.

Smelly Paws on Your Pug’s Feet

It’s normal for dogs’ paws to smell since they collect dust, pollutants, allergens, chemicals, and moisture. But when that builds up and combines with natural sweating, bacterial and yeast infections may set in, producing odors like old popcorn or Fritos chips.

Proper cleaning between your dog’s paws and around the nails is recommended. Trim the fur around the paw pads to make them easy to clean.

Cute pug dog lying down on couch at home
Image Credit: Diana Grytsku, Freepik

Your Dog’s Anal Glands

A fishy foul odor from your Pug could be caused by their anal sacs, which act as scent markers to leave crucial chemical trails for other dogs. Pugs have curly tails that leave their backside always on display. While the anal glands may express scents, oils, and feces often attach to their butt hairs.

The problem may become aggravated if your dog is overweight or is suffering from anal sac disease, which is a cause to see your vet.

Senior Pugs and puppies also have weaker sphincter muscles and will suffer more from anal gland expression.3 When these sacs are clogged or impacted, you’ll see your Pug dragging its butt on the floor, which may also aggravate the issue or cause infection.

When Your Female Pug Is on Heat

If your female Pug isn’t spayed, it’ll come on heat at least once a month, a condition that increases smell due to endometrial body fluids. You’ll detect a distinctively pungent smell around your dog from their genital area.

A partial or full bath when your Pug is in season will eliminate these odors. If you’re using doggy diapers to prevent pregnancy, ensure to change them. Soiled diapers left for long can cause a urinary tract infection that will also emit a strong odor.

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Tips for Keeping Your Pug Healthy, Safe, and Happy

Do not give up on your stinky Pug; you can keep those musty smells in check by providing your dog with proper hygienic care to significantly improve your pet’s health.

Besides baths and teeth brushing, brush your dog’s coat often and use doggy spritzes to keep it cuddlesome. Also, improve their diet for less gassiness.

You can also moisturize your dog's skin with a little coconut oil to:
  • Improve skin health and clear up conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis, and itchiness
  • Relieve and heal spots, cuts, stings, bites, and other wounds, given its antimicrobial and antifungal action
  • Prevent candida yeast infections
  • Moisturize skin due to lauric acid to give your dog’s coat a shiny gleam
  • Help reduce odors, including foul breath, if used as part of a dental cleaning supplement

Exercise is equally important for a healthy pet. Giving Pugs a daily walk will reduce pudginess, which goes a long way in minimizing the foulness of their bodily odors. Exercise is equally important for a healthy pet. Giving Pugs a daily walk will reduce pudginess, and this goes a long way in minimizing the foulness of their bodily odors.

When walking your dog, avoid collars and instead choose a harness to relieve pressure on their trachea. Choke and prong collars may exacerbate your Pug’s natural breathing difficulties. If you smoke, avoid doing it near your pet for the same reason.

Lastly, regular vet visits will ensure a healthy, safe, and happy pet.

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Pugs can smell just like other dogs, although they are prone to excessive flatulence from gassy diets and sucking in too much air. However, a clean and fresh-smelling Pug is a delight that most owners cherish, and you can reduce odors with proper hygiene and diet. Remember to schedule vet visits once in a while.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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