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Beagle Smells and Odors

Beagle Odor - Why Do Beagles Smell?

The Beagle breed has its own distinct odor and in general, this type of smell is often found with canines in the hound family. 

In addition to this, many elements combine to affect the odor that will emit from any dog; with health, hygiene, environment and diet having the most impact.

This is not to say that it is normal for a Beagle puppy or dog to have an overpowering, putrid scent, as it can be a sign of skin or other health issues.
We receive many emails asking 'Why do Beagles smell?' and inquiring what - exactly - a Beagle is supposed to smell like. Some refer to the odor as 'dog smell' but what does that mean? Here in this section we are going to go over the details of:

• The natural smell of this breed
• Why Beagles may smell bad
• Signs and symptoms of health conditions that will include a bad odor along with other signs
• Steps that you can take to keep your Beagle smelling clean 
A Stinky Breed?

We humans may not notice it - however not just each dog breed but each individual dog itself has his or her own unique chemical smell that is transmitted via body oils. When one talks about 'smelling like dog' it is referring to the general odor that emits from a dog's body.

While it is true that canines do not have liquid sweat that pours from areas on the body (sweat is released via the paws), they DO emit this chemical odor body wide - via hair follicles. 

It is as unique as a fingerprint and brings us to the same unique smell that is found in anal glands (though anal glands emit a stronger smell and therefore dogs will sniff that area as opposed to another dog's overall body) - both of these odors work as a dog's 'calling card'.
Beagle dog outside on leash
All dogs have anal glands- one located on each side of the rectum - that hold a fluid. Normally, that fluid is slowly expressed. When 2 dogs meet each other, there can be a rapid release of fluid, as it is the canine method of communicating an introduction. 

You will not normally be able to detect the smell from the anal glands unless one or both has broken open (more on this ahead), BUT you will be able to easily smell those bodily oils that are being constantly seeped to the surface of a dog's skin and up through the coat.

These chemical odors carry information regarding: a dog's gender, age, social status, if a male is neuter or intact, overall health and current mood (calm, aggressive, confident, shy, etc.). Every canine is equipped to 'read' this information of another canine.

Why do Beagles smell more than some other breeds? As different canine breeds were being perfected, each were developed for a purpose. Some were guard dogs - working solo to stoically wait in silence, ready to alert owners of a trespasser. Other guard dogs were developed to pounce on intruders. Some breeds were brought down in size, with the purpose of being tiny, companion lap dogs. 

The Beagle breed's development was based on hunting rabbits.  Long ago, the focus was on tracking hare and deer, however as time progressed, Beagle were used mainly for rabbit. For the most part, during its development and refinement, Beagles hunted in packs. 

The ability to work together in a pack depended on many qualities, one of which was each pack member's keen ability to be extremely aware of where each member was located throughout the field or forest and additionally, the mood of each dog - the excitement of the chase or the satisfaction of closing in on its prey. It is believed that throughout the many generations of perfecting hound dogs, a stronger than average level of chemical emitters was a byproduct of that development.

Therefore, dogs in the hound group: the Beagle, Foxhound, Bloodhound, Coonhound, etc. have a stronger and more distinct odor than some other breeds and this particular odor is known as 'hound smell' or 'hound odor'.

What does a Beagle smell like? The best way to describe this is a light musky scent. However, certain elements can cause this odor to become heightened to an intolerable level and that is when owners begin to worry. We will go over various reasons for a heavy odor and steps that you can take to keep your Beagle smelling good.
Beagle for blog
"Woof, rufff, rrrr...grrr... UMPHF!"

Translation: "Tweets for treats...? ... or share for... ahh... a pear??? 
Well, you get the gist! Show me some love & share this site before you read on."
Reasons Why a Beagle May Smell Very Bad

1- Baths. While too many baths may dry out the skin, too few baths allow for an excess buildup of body oils, dirt and debris that can combine together to form a very unpleasant odor. The average time in between baths should be 3 weeks; however for busy owners those 3 weeks can easily turn into 4… and then 5…and then 6.

In addition, other factors may affect the length of time in-between bathing:

- For Beagles that normally are washed outside, wintertime weather may cause baths to fall to the wayside.

- Owners of Beagle puppies and dogs that put up a fight during bath time may be less inclined to wash their dog.

The Fix:

• Do you best to stick to a regular schedule of bathing your Beagle. Putting this grooming element into your schedule ahead of time or delegating this responsibility to someone who has more time than you will help you stay on track and keep your Beagle smelling clean.

• If your Beagle has a dislike of baths, remember that the more a dog is exposed to something, the more tolerable it will become:

o Small puppies do best in large kitchen sinks that are not as intimidating.
o Toys can be given to distract.
o Test the water temperature with your wrist to ensure it is not too hot or too cold.
o Have all needed supplies on hand to cut down on time and allow you to stay concentrated on the task at hand.

• Be sure that you are not just cleaning the outer layer of fur, scrub enough and with adequate vigor so that suds are brought down to the skin and cleansed well.

• Be sure to rinse your Beagle's coat very well - when you think you've got all the suds, rinse the coat one more time. If soap residue remains, it often cakes up on the skin, blocking normal air flow and causing not only itching but a strange smell as well.
2- A Wet Coat. Many owners will notice a 'wet dog smell' if their Beagle has just come in from the rain. That smell will not go away quickly (if at all) if the coat is not allowed to thoroughly dry. In addition, if a coat remains damp for too long of a time after bathing, it can also start to smell - even though you just cleaned your Beagle.

The Fix:

Your best bet is to first rinse off any mud or dirt if your Beagle has been outside. For both this instance and after baths, use a soft, absorbent towel, rub down the entire coat - this includes underbelly, legs, tail, all of it.

Finishing off with a mist of leave-in condition not only keep the fur healthy and protected, but also can give off a nice odor for 1 to 3 days.
3- Anal Glands. We spoke above about anal glands and how a chemical odor is always being gradually released. However, some dogs will have issues with these glands. If there is a buildup of fluid, they may suddenly break open. 

A dark oil will be released that can be mistaken for blood, although there may be a bit of blood due to ripped skin. The odor of this oil is so overpowering and so foul that it is hard to explain, other than to say that if you had to choose between smelling a rotten egg, a skunk or a dog's anal gland fluid, you would take a while to answer, since all 3 are equally as bad.

The Fix:

Do not allow for the fluid to buildup. During grooming, take note of the glands and if they appear to be larger than a small peanut keep an eye on them. If your Beagle scoots his or her butt along the ground after having a bowel movement or shows any other signs of discomfort, these are signs that the anal sacs need to be expressed.

This is not something to ignore and hope it will go away, because 1 of 2 things will happen:

1. The fluid will build up to a point of breaking open and this may very well happen inside your home. When this happens, skin is literally ripped open which can lead to bacterial skin infection.

2- If by chance the sacs are not broken open by the pressure of the fluid, they can become compacted, slowly morphing into what could be described as a thick paste with the consistency of peanut butter, which causes even more discomfort to the Beagle and continuing issues.

While some owners choose to handle this task at home (it is not easy without practice and in and of itself can be quite a stinky, smelly and messy task) most opt to have this done at the dog groomers or at the veterinarian's office.

Smells that are a Sign of a Medical Issue

If there is a strong, unpleasant odor coming from one certain area of your Beagle, this often is a symptom of a health issue:

The mouth - While no dog will have minty breath without the aid of a canine breath freshener, very bad smells from the mouth are often due to dental issues. Infected teeth can give off quite a terrible smell. Certain diseases can also cause a change to the breath and canine diabetes can cause a dog's breath to have a fruity smell.

The Fix: Do provide daily dental cleanings and make appointments for professional scrapings. Offer healthy dog snacks that promote healthy gums and teeth. If your Beagle had excessive smelly breath, do make an appointment for a checkup with the vet who can determine the cause.

The Ears - A Beagle's ears are an invitation for issues since long floppy ears hold in moisture and heat. Bacteria thrive in this sort of environment. Everything from excessive wax buildup, to ear mites to ear infection can cause an odd or yeasty type smell. While many dogs will also show signs of discomfort and itchiness, some will not and the smell from the ears will be the only symptom you have to go on.

The Fix - Do regularly clean out your Beagle's ears to prevent excess ear wax and also clean out the dirt, dust and debris that may become trapped in the wax. When you groom your Beagle, take a moment to lift each ear and take a whiff - this will allow you to detect any bad odor issues before they become so intense that you can smell them without such a close inspection. If you suspect ear mites, a yeast infection or any other sort of ear issue, do bring your Beagle in for a checkup as issues such as these will not resolve on their own.
Points to Remember

1- What your Beagle eats matters on so many levels. A high quality dog food (or home cooking) that offers meals without fillers, artificial color, artificial flavoring and heavy preservatives will work to keep your Beagle healthy and affect everything from his growth to his energy level. Cheaper foods can cause gas issues, which of course is a smelly element on its own.

2- A very bad smell coming from a Beagle is not normal and should not be ignored. While one individual family member may have very sensitive sense of smell, if others in the home, friends or people who encounter your puppy or dog also notice a terrible smell, it is time for a vet visit.  
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