How To Prevent Dog Poop From Smelling?


If only dogs could speak, then we wouldn’t have to obsess about their poop, its consistency, its color and its smell. Dog poop is admittedly a hot topic among dog owners, because the truth is their poop does speak volumes about the state of their health.

And because cute little Cooper can’t just speak up when he’s feeling a little weird or under the weather, we have to satisfy ourselves by looking for clues. Despite the strangeness of the source of information, dog poop really can tell you a lot about your dog – if you know what to look for.

Aside from being a health indicator for dogs, doggie poop that’s not normal – like watery poop, poop with too much mucous, and especially smelly poop – can be a hassle to deal with for dog owners.

Imagine having to bag poops when they’re too watery or smelly? Or imagine if the smelly poop was all over your yard?

It’s not easy to deal with but we love our fur children nonetheless, which means that we’ll have to find a solution to the poop issue, for our pet’s health and for our own sanity.

I want to start with providing three ways that could help your dog poop smell less.

Should you try raw feeding for your dog to reduce the foul smell of poop?

There is another option for reducing the foul smell of your dog’s poop, one that’s quite controversial, and that’s raw feeding. Most veterinarians will tell you that, unlike cats, dogs are more omnivores than carnivores which means that they don’t thrive on a pure meat diet. However, there are a lot of dog owners who swear by raw feeding, claiming that it keeps their dogs healthier and the poop less smelly. While there are no scientific studies to prove these claims, you are free to try out which feeding methods are best for your dog.

Should you add probiotics to your dog food to reduce the foul smell of poop?

The food that can add natural probiotics to your dog’s food include yogurt, kefir, honey, bananas, leeks, and garlic to name a few. These live microorganisms can help maintain the balance of bacterial flora in the gastrointestinal tract of a dog, helping with digestion and for keeping their poop healthy and less smelly. While you can add natural probiotics to your dog’s food, there are also a lot of specialized commercial dog foods that now offer probiotic options. 

What is allergen free dog food and how will it reduce the smelliness of the poop?

If your vet has identified that allergens are causing the gastrointestinal discomfort for your dog, then choosing allergen-free dog food may be a good option. However, all the other more probable causes of the smelly poop should first be identified and eliminated. Food allergies are a lot less common in household pets like dogs and cats than in humans, though it is not entirely unheard of. When it comes to food allergies for dogs, it’s always best to consult your vet.

What does healthy dog poop look like?

Before we go into the kind of problems that different kinds of dog poop could indicate, let’s first establish what a healthy dog’s poop should look like.

A healthy dog’s poop should be light to medium to slightly dark brown. It should appear like a log or like a cigar, and not in small droplets.

The consistency should be firm, not too soft to the point of being watery but not too hard to the point of seeming like rocks. 

Also, while a dog should at least poop once a day, pooping two to three times a day is still considered normal – as long as its consistent. A large adult dog will normally poop once a day while puppies generally poop as much as three or four times a day.

But what about the smell of the poop? What should a healthy dog’s poop smell like? Shouldn’t all poop be smelly? While it’s normal for a dog’s poop to have a noticeable odor, it should not be smelly to the point of being foul. If you notice that your dog’s poop is suddenly smellier than normal, this could mean that there’s something wrong with your dog’s health.

Why is smelly dog poop a problem?

One of the top reasons why smelly dog poop is a problem is because its troublesome to deal with for the dog owner.

The most obvious reason that smelly dog poop is a problem is that you have to live with the foul smell in your house, especially if it is littered across the yard.

To get rid of the smell, you’ll have to bag the poop which is another task that no one really wants to do.

But the worst problem with smelly dog poop is that it could mean there’s something wrong with your dog. 

5 top causes of smelly dog poop

Before you panic, there could also be a number of harmless reasons why your dog’s poop is suddenly smelly. If you switched your dog to a new diet or dog food, then the foul odor could just be your dog’s digestive system adjusting to something new. After some time, your dog should be able to adjust and the foul smell should also go away. 

If the bad smell doesn’t go away, it could indicate poor nutrition which means that the new diet isn’t fulfilling all of your dog’s nutritional needs. Try switching back to the old dog food and see if the smell goes away. The foul smelling poop could also be caused by switching your dog to the raw feeding diet which will need a lot of adjustment for your dog’s digestive tract.

However, if your dog is experiencing noticeably foul smelling diarrhea, then this is a real a problem, especially for puppies. Smelly diarrhea could indicate a number of health problems in dogs such as:

[1] Worms and Parasites

Intestinal worms and parasites can cause a lot of irritation in your dog’s digestive tract which can result in some pretty terrible smelling poop and watery stool. While these signs are indicators for adult dogs as well, this health problem is more commonly found in puppies.

[2] Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

This are fancy words that just mean your dog’s pancreas is failing. The pancreas is in charge of producing the body’s enzymes, including digestive enzymes. When the pancreas fails, the digestive system starts to act wonky as well which results in foul smelling poop and diarrhea. 

[3] Parvovirus

The feared and often lethal parvovirus has many indicators, which include watery, smelly dog poop that is also bloody. This highly contagious virus directly attacks the dog’s gastrointestinal tract which, if left unchecked, can become deadly. Aside from the smelly diarrhea with blood, the dog may also exhibit vomiting, lethargy, fever, weight loss, and weakness.

[4] Allergies

Food allergies can also often lead to watery and smelly poop. When choosing dog food, make sure to choose a high-protein non-processed dog food instead of the processed, high carbohydrates option. If that doesn’t work, speak to your vet about testing out doggie allergy tabs for your pet.

[5] Stress

Stress can be indicated in dogs in plenty of ways and it affects your dogs’ entire body, including the gastrointestinal tract, as well. Doggie stressors can be anything from a new environment, new pets introduced in the house, new people, or loud noises. The trick is to identify stress which has clear indicators – growling, freezing, barking or whining, tucked ears, raised hackles, whale eye, or even just hiding. When your dog is in a constant state of high levels of stress, it will cause their poop to become smelly and watery, affecting their physical health. If this continues, it is also advisable that you bring your dog to the vet.

How to Choose Healthy Dog Food for Your Pet

While most of these causes of smelly poop can be resolved by taking your dog to the vet and nursing them back to good health, the cause of the problem is usually more commonplace than that, namely low quality dog food. A lot of commercial dog foods that we find in the market today aren’t exactly health options for our dog. In fact, most of them have too much carbohydrates and processed food and even allergens. 

Also, a lot of dog owners just buy dog food without considering their dog breed, their size, their nutritional needs, activity levels, and age. Each dog has different nutritional needs which means that while some dogs are okay with a certain type of dog food, others will need a high energy variety or may require more feeding throughout the day.

To find the right dog food for your pet, consider that puppies will use up more energy than adult dogs, especially senior dogs. While older dogs can stay perfectly healthy with normal kibble, puppies will need the high energy variety. Dog breeds that are used to physical activity and are exercised more will also likely need high energy dog food even as they grow into adults. Just to be clear, high energy means high protein content.

Understanding Dog Food Labels (aka What’s Wrong with Commercial Dog Food?)

It’s also important to learn to read ingredients and labels on dog food

“Beef for Dogs” or “Chicken Dog Food” will mean that there is 95% protein without the water content so the real content in can is about 70%. If the word “dinner” appears anywhere on the packaging, like “Chicken Dinner for Dogs”, it means that the total protein in the can is about 25% (same rules apply for platter, formula, stew, etc.). If you see that the label has the word “with” on it, like “with salmon” or “with beef” then the total protein content is only at 3%. Lastly, if the label says “Beef Flavor” or “Chicken Flavor” or any kind of flavor, then there are only trace amounts of protein in the food and the rest is mostly processed food.

When we say the best dog food for preventing smelly poop is high protein, non-processed dog food, then we mean the dog food with labels that say “Beef for Dogs” or “Chicken for Dogs” without much of the other buzz words.

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!