Dog eye discharge smells

What Causes a Smelly Dog to Smell?

Most dogs smell bad on occasion — especially when they spend a lot of time outdoors. In many cases, a dog’s foul odor just means that he’s in need of a bath. But if you have noticed that you have an especially smelly dog or that your dog’s natural odor has become more offensive over time, it could be a sign of a dog health problem.

“If your dog spends a lot of time outside, going to get dirty,” says Mark J. Stickney, DVM, clinical assistant professor and director of general surgery services at the College of Veterinary Medicine’s department of small animal medicine and surgery at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Dirt that accumulates in pet fur can cause any pooch to be a smelly dog, and many dogs like to roll around in foul-smelling objects, such as the remains of a dead animal. “That is the dog version of perfume,” says Dr. Stickney.

When Is a Smelly Dog an Unhealthy Dog?

In some cases, however, a smelly dog can be a signal of one of the following pet health problems:

  • Skin infection or allergy. Stickney says that the oils that dogs secrete to keep their hair soft can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Dogs with a skin allergy tend to scratch frequently, which can damage and irritate their skin. This irritation can lead to a bacteria or yeast infection, which can result in a foul odor.
  • Eye tearing. “Some dogs have a lot of drainage from their eyes, and they get that brown tearing around their eyes,” says Stickney. The growth of bacteria in the moist fur under the eyes can lead to an unpleasant smell. Tearing around the eyes can be a sign of a dog health problem, such as conjunctivitis, so see your veterinarian if your dog has discharge or tearing.
  • Dental problems. Just like people, dogs get bad breath. “If dogs don’t get their teeth brushed, bacteria, plaque, and tartar start to build up on their teeth,” says Stickney. When left untreated, dental issues can cause problems with eating, tooth loss, or serious infection.
  • Kidney problems. Bad breath can also be a sign of the build-up of toxins associated with kidney problems. ” animals that are developing kidney problems, a lot of people will say that their breath suddenly started to smell bad,” says Stickney.
  • Ear infection. When your dog’s foul odor originates in its ears, it could be a sign of an ear infection. Most ear infections in dogs are caused by bacteria or yeast, which can result in discharge, redness, and odor in the ear.

5 Grooming Tips for Smelly Dogs

In addition to regular pet health visits to treat underlying conditions, the following suggestions for cleaning dogs can help your pet smell better:

  • Bathe your dog. Stickney says that you should get into the habit of washing your dog regularly with mild dog shampoo. “Once a week will usually be good for most dogs,” he says. Bathing a pooch too often can lead to dry skin, scratching, irritation, and the accumulation of bacteria, yeast, and odor.
  • Consider a medicated shampoo. If your veterinarian says your dog has a skin yeast infection, he or she may recommend a medicated shampoo, which can help treat this odorous problem.
  • Brush your dog’s teeth. Stickney says that brushing your dog’s teeth daily with a veterinary toothbrush and animal toothpaste “will go a long way to keep breath fresh.”
  • Clean tearing eyes daily. If your dog’s eyes tear up often, Stickney recommends wiping the area under the eye daily with pet wet wipes.
  • Keep your dog’s ears clean. Avoid getting water in your dog’s ears while bathing or cleaning him. Instead, use a cotton ball and solution recommended by your vet to clean your dog’s ears.

Because different breeds of dogs have different grooming needs, ask your vet for specific tips to help your dog smell better. And always mention odors to your vet, since it could be a sign of a health problem.

With a little care and attention, you can help keep your dog healthy and smelling fresh.

1. What causes tear stains under a dog’s eyes?

Excessive tearing can occur as a result of irritation to your dog’s eyes or because your dog’s tears are not draining properly.

Just as your eye waters if a speck of dust blows into it, dogs’ eyes will make tears when irritated to flush away anything harmful. When the eyes are continually irritated, this can lead to chronic tearing that produces stains. Conditions that might irritate the eye include dog eye infections, glaucoma, and eyelash or eyelid problems.

In a normal dog eye, there are small holes that drain tears away from the eye and down the throat. A variety of dog eye problems can affect this drainage, causing excessively watery eyes. These conditions include:

  • Shallow eye sockets. If the eye sockets aren’t big or deep enough, tears can spill out onto the fur around the eyes.
  • Eyelids that are turned inward. If the eyelids roll in toward the eyeball, the drainage holes for tears (called puncta) may become blocked.
  • Hair growth around the eye. If hair grows too close to the eye, it can wick tears away from the eye and onto the face.
  • Blocked tear drainage holes (puncta). Previous dog eye infections or eye damage can cause scar tissue to form that blocks some of the drainage passages for tears.

Forgot Password

‘Pee-Yew!’ That’s the first impression people get when they walk through the door and your house reeks of dog smell. It reflects badly on you, makes your guests uncomfortable, and frankly it’s not very pleasant for your dog either.

Worse, over time, you may not even be able to tell that there is an odor. Even the most conscientious dog owner has a hard time getting rid of dog smell, especially since bathing your dog too often is bad for its fur and skin. When you don’t have time for a bath or you’re in between bath times but you need to do something for the smell, here are 10 effective ways to tackle dog smell.

What is that Smell?

Technically, your dog stinks for the same reasons you do when you don’t bathe. Dogs only need about 4 to 6 baths a year. Anymore than that and it will give them rashes, legions, and stiff fur. Between baths, dogs sweat. They get wax buildup in their ears. And think about this; your dog doesn’t sweat through its fur – it sweats through its feet! Then they traipse across your floors and crawl on your furniture. That’s part of the smell.

The inordinate amount of wax buildup starts to smell like yeast after awhile. They then scratch their waxy ears with their sweaty paws and sit down on the carpet. Some of it is unintentional. A lot of it is your dog’s way of marking territory. Urine isn’t the only marker. Dogs leave their total scent – from their oily skin to the smell of their saliva, everywhere.

All of these odors combine to create that dog smell everyone hates. It’s easy to see how it fills your house. Unless your dog is confined to just one area of the home, wherever it goes, the smell will follow.

It’s important to note that dirty ears can lead to ear infections that create odors that you can’t get rid of. In that case, your dog needs antibiotics to kill the infection – see a vet right away. You may also need to go to the vet or find a groomer to drain clogged anal glands in order to get rid of persistent and abnormally strong odors.

#1: Neutralize Dog-Smelly Carpets and Couches

Perhaps the main reason why your whole house has a dog smell is your furniture and carpets. Even if your dog is not allowed on the furniture, its fur, its paws, its saliva are getting on everything else that your dog touches. Therefore your task has to be a comprehensive approach in order to get rid of dog smell.

Ridding your furniture and carpets of dog smell is a three part process: Strip and dry vac, shampoo and neutralize, and then deodorize. Start with furniture, linens, and bedding. You’ll want to remove all slip covers and cushion covers. If you can remove your pillow covers, remove them.

Prep Before You Shampoo

Be mindful to flip mattresses and vacuum them dry before using a steam cleaner. Too often, you think, I’ll just steam clean to get rid of the smell, but if you skip this step – the strip and vacuum step – you’re going to create a disgusting amalgam of dog smells. Vacuum everywhere, including under couches and behind cabinets to neutralize dog odors.

Only after you’ve thoroughly vacuumed every area where your dog lives and plays (make sure doggie is not in the house during this process) it is time to break out the carpet cleaner. For the best results, use a high grade steam cleaner.

You could hire a professional, rent a steam cleaner and do it yourself, or use one that you own. Make sure that if you use your own that it isn’t also infected with that same dog smell that you are trying to get rid of. Same thing with your dry vac; if it’s the same one you’ve been using for years to vacuum dog fur, chances are it has a dog smell to it too. If you want to start fresh, make sure your cleaning tools are fresh.

Recipes for Commercial Grade DIY Deodorizing Mix

Many dog owners who have had success eliminating dog smell from their homes say that DIY deodorizing mixes often work even better than commercial grade pet deodorizers. The final step in dog smell removal is deodorizing and preventing the smell from coming back.

Naturally you could just go to any store and buy a pet deodorizer. If you want to try a home remedy that might work better, here are two dog specific deodorizing mixes for getting rid of dog smell:

Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda – Mix ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar in with your laundry detergent when you wash your slip covers, bedding, and linens. You can create a bigger mix for spraying down marked places and furniture by mixing together one bottle of apple cider vinegar with two regular sized boxes of baking soda.

White Vinegar and Baking Soda Spritz – Safe for fabrics, this white vinegar spritz combines one tablespoon of white vinegar with one teaspoon of baking soda. Mixed together they will start to foam. When the mix settles, add two cups of water. A fine mist spray bottle works best. Fill it with the mix and shake well. Next, mist the air, your fabrics, and your dog’s favorite areas with the spritz.

Remember that your dog leaves its scent everywhere on purpose usually. If you want to completely eliminate dog smell, you have to be very thorough and remove all hints of odor where your dog may have pooped or peed or left its scent.

For example, check your carpet padding by lifting your carpets and making sure that the pad beneath hasn’t been soaked with your dog’s waste. Even the floor underneath the pad may be giving off dog smell. Make sure to thoroughly clean and deodorize those areas too.

#2: Bathe Your Bed in Baking Soda

Once you’ve deodorized your home, it’s time to begin your regular routine to keep the dog smell away. After you’ve remade the bed and replaced the linens in the closet, sprinkle them with baking soda. Lift the cushions on the couch and sprinkle baking soda underneath them.

Baking soda is a natural odor absorber. It doesn’t add a fragrance. It just takes stinky ones away. You can add some fragrant powder or dowse the baking soda with fragrant oils to add a scent if you like. Be as liberal as you want, sprinkling it so that it doesn’t show.

Sprinkle the bottom of your bedroom mattresses, especially if your dog sleeps in your room or in the bed with you or your kids. Leave the baking soda there from twelve hours to a day before vacuuming up the baking soda. Do this on a weekly basis to keep the odors out.

Open a box of baking soda and leave it near your dog’s play or sleep area. And when your dog makes a mess, when you clean it, sprinkle baking soda on it and let it dry before you vacuum the mess.

#3: Remove Fur-Riddled Filters

It’s a good idea to change your filters at least twice a year whether you own a dog or not. When you own a dog you should do it once a month. If your house smells of dog, have you checked your filters lately? Filters can get piled high with dust, dander, and fur over time. Check all of your filters. Clean and replace them as necessary.

HEPA filters do a good job of purifying air riddled with pet fur. Be sure to check your filters regularly. If you have especially furry dogs, you may find that you have to replace your filters more frequently.

#4: Clean Fido’s Lounging Areas

Sometimes, dog owners can get in a bad habit of cleaning everywhere but in the dog’s area. If your dog has its own space where its doggie bed and toys stay, it’s easy to just pile them over there and leave it alone.

However, anything your dog touches, slobbers on, or sleeps on is going to have dog smell, including your dogs bedding and toys. Make sure to add your dog’s bedding and machine washable toys to the list of items to be stripped and washed.

#5: Vacuum Frequently

There is no way to stress enough the importance of vacuuming frequently for keeping dog smell out. At the very least, it should be a weekly chore to dry vacuum your floors and furniture. It’s a lot of work but absolutely necessary if you want to keep your house dog odor free.

For furry dogs and long haired dogs, you may have to vacuum and sweep every day or at least every other day to keep up. You also have to do the strip, neutralize, and deodorize method every few months or so which will require you to break out the carpet cleaner in addition to the vacuum.

#6: Mop with Vinegar Every Week

Carpet is easy to identify as a dog smell absorbing part of the house. You may think because you have hardwood floors and linoleum that you don’t have a dog smell problem. Think again. That saliva and sweat coming off of your dog’s paws sticks to your hardwood floors too.

You’ll need to mop every week at least to keep the dog smell out. Add one parts vinegar to three parts water and then add it to your cleaning solution.

#7: Let Fresh Air In

Open up some windows if you can. One way to get the bad air out is to let good air in. Of course, you can’t do this everywhere or all the time, but when you can let fresh air in, do so. It’s better for everyone’s health.

#8: Dry Fur All the Way

Do you let your dog shake dry after a bath? They’re still not dry and it is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria – and you just finished bath time! Get a towel or maybe a blow dryer for dogs with especially thick and long hair and dry them thoroughly (only using the cool setting on the dryer). Just like drying your toes staves off foot fungus, drying your dog’s skin and fur thoroughly keeps smelly oil bacteria away.

#9: Brush Those Teeth

Everybody knows that dogs have bad breath. What happens when they lick themselves or lick you with those tongues? That bad breath spreads adding to the overall dog smell in your house. You can feed them teeth cleaning dog treats or get in there and manually brush their teeth but good oral hygiene helps get rid of dog smell.

#10: Get Rid of Odor Causing Saliva Stains

Dog spit creates odors. If your dog suffers from beard and eye staining, chances are that is part of the reason for the odor. You’ll want to attack the source with a good stain remover that’s safe for dogs like our Eye Envy Off the Beard Stain Remover.

5 Reasons Why Your Dog Smells So Bad and What to do About it

There isn’t a perfume company out there who have invested in “Eau de Dog” and with good reason. Most of our pooches have a tendency to be malodorous from time-to-time, whether it’s their “Frito feet,” bad breath, or the unmistakable whiff when they come in after a walk in the rain or have rolled in something they find delectable, but makes our eyes water.

However, while most odors have a simple solution, some can be caused by more serious underlying problems. Let’s take a look, at why your four-legged friend smells so bad and what you can do about it.

Dental Problems

The number one cause of bad breath in dogs, just like people, is the build-up of plaque and tartar on their teeth. Some small breeds are especially prone to dental problems like gum disease. Another problem specific to certain breeds is Gingival Hyperplasia, the overgrowth of the gums that can harbor small bits of food and produce a rotten smell.

Gas

Flatulence is a common problem in dogs and if yours can clear the room after passing gas, it is often an intolerance to an ingredient in their food. Work with your veterinarian to change to a different diet, whether that be grain-free or fish-based, can often help the problem. However excessive wind can sometimes signal an underlying medical issue so if the air around your pet remains whiffy, continue to consult your veterinarian until the problem is resolved.

Atopy

Seasonal or food allergies can cause inflammation of the skin which leads to excessive secretion of oil from certain glands in the skin, producing a musty smell. Poor diet can contribute to this condition and can also be the cause of other problems including yeast infections, which also give off a foul odor. These are often caused by a diet high in carbohydrates and processed foods. Changing to a high-protein, non-processed dog food or trying out allergy tablets for dogs can often help with this.

Ear Infections

There are many types of bacteria and yeast that can cause ear infections. A healthy ear usually has good defences to fight off the bacteria but if the dog suffers from allergies or hormonal imbalances, the yeast and bacteria can increase dramatically, causing a malodorous smell. Dogs with hairy or floppy ears such as Basset Hounds and Springer Spaniels may have consistent ear problems unless the ears are kept clean and dry.

Anal Sacs

This is one of the most common causes of stinky dogs. All our canine companions have two small scent sacs on their bottom they are a type of marking gland which is why dogs smell rear ends when meeting. If they become impacted, it can cause pain for the dog and an extremely smelly secretion is released and remains on the fur. Another sign your dog has problems with his anal glands is dragging his bottom on the ground, or “scooting.” Make an appointment with your veterinarian to help with this issue.

What to do about it

  • Start dental hygiene early to prevent problems. This can include annual dental cleanings, brushing your dog’s teeth at home and even certain dog chews can help reduce dental buildup.
  • Keep folds in the skin and ears clean and dry. Check your dog’s ears periodically and be sure to dry them after swims or baths.
  • Feed a healthy diet. If you suspect your dog’s diet might be the culprit, try a diet with different ingredients. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations.
  • Bathe your dog regularly! An obvious, yet often neglected solution!

If the stink persists, consult your veterinarian as some medical conditions can produce strange odors. Breath that smells fruity or sweet could indicate diabetes while kidney disease or bladder infection can result in breath that smells like urine. Good luck and happy sniffing!

“The smell of a body is the (bacteria themselves) which we breathe in with our nose and mouth, which we suddenly possess as though (they) were (the body’s) most secret substance and, to put the matter in a nutshell, its nature. The smell which is in me is the fusion of the (bacteria) with my body…”

Adulterated, in the interest of good science, from Sartre 1967, p. 174.

A man can live many lives. Paul Ehrlich has. Once, he was a butterfly biologist. Another time, he wrote the book called The Population Bomb, a book that triggered global conversations about the fate of humanity. Still another, he described the relationship between plants and the animals that eat them. A plant evolves, he says, to escape its herbivores and then the herbivores evolve, in response. This war goes on, he found, forever.

All of these and others of the lives of Paul Ehrlich have been lauded. I want to talk about the life of Ehrlich no one ever seems to mention at the award ceremonies, Ehrlich’s life as the guy at the party with the one good liner, the one that everyone laughs at even though it crosses, some say tramples, unspoken social lines.

The specific one liner I am talking about here is one I heard when Ehrlich visited North Carolina State University, where I work. I was helping to host his visit and he and I were talking at the back of a large conference room. We were both looking at the backs of a crowd of hundreds gathered in front of us and, of all things, discussing back pain. We agreed—back pain is terrible. He told me to take care of my back and then, as he looked to the audience and stepped forward through the crowd to give his talk, he left me with a sentence somewhere between punch line and universal truth…“ back problems all started when we began walking upright. The other bad thing about walking upright is that it made it hard to sniff each other…1” With that, he strode, upright, to the stage and began to speak.

Sometimes, when I think of Paul Ehrlich, I think of people sniffing each other. And as several new studies reveal, when it comes to sniffing each other, men are like dogs. Women are too.

The Yin and Yang of Dogs—With dogs, we have all seen it happen. A man and a woman walk down the street toward each other, one with a black lab on a blue leash, the other with a beagle on a white leash. As they approach, the dogs notice each other and circle, awkwardly, until one begins to sniff the other. It is an event simultaneously vulgar and everyday. Sometimes the woman’s dog sniffs the crotch of the man, to which the man inevitably says something like “oooohh, goodness, he must smell my cat.” As everyone seems to know, this is the “greeting” of dogs. What no one seems to know is what information is being conveyed in such a greeting. Is it really just “hi!” or is there more being whispered by a dog’s ass?

Before we answer that question I’ll posit our ancestors did what the dogs do. Living on four legs, they saw and smelled some version of what dogs see and smell, which is to say, the rich and fetid world of odors around them, but also of each other. Then, as Ehrlich points out, they stood up, which caused many problems for their and our backs, and made it much harder, in a casual interaction, to take a whiff of each others business. Sniffing one and other then became a part of our history, not who we are, simply who we were. Or so it might seem.

Many generations have passed between those days when we walked on all fours and today. Our stance changed as we began to climb into the trees and then, again, as we climbed back onto the ground. Many other things changed too though, among them how and where our bodies produce odors.

The scent produced from a dog’s body comes, in large part, from their apocrine glands. These glands are nearly everywhere on a dog’s body, but are largest and most dense in a dog’s two anal sacs. We also have these glands, if not the large sacs dogs and other carnivores use to house them. If we did bend over and smell each other, in other words, we would smell a version of what dogs smell (through less sensitive noses, though our sense of smell is better than tends to be appreciated). What has changed in this time is the location of these glands. When primates evolved, these glands shifted such that they are clustered not just on the bottoms of primates, but also on their tops. Primate chests are very often covered in apocrine glands. This is true in gibbons, but also capuchin monkeys, macaques and many other primates, including all of the apes. Natural selection favored individuals with genes for producing glands in places where the sniffing would be, well, easy. Like humans, gorillas and chimpanzees also have a high density of these glands in their armpits, where their hair is also denser. It must have been with the common ancestor of humans, chimpanzees and gorillas in which the armpit, in all its reeking glory, evolved2.

The Garden of Bodily Delights?—There are many mysteries related to apocrine glands, one of which is how they produce their odors. This is one of the few mysteries that is, at least partially, resolved. Although mammalogists tend to talk about the stinking secretions of these glands, the secretions themselves are largely odorless. At least in primates and foxes3, and I suspect in dogs, the stink comes instead from what the secretions feed—bacteria. Each apocrine sweat gland feeds bacteria, many of them of the genus Corynebacteria, though hundreds of species can be present in a given cluster of apocrine glands. These bacteria, depending on their species, mix, and abundance, produce the unique odor characteristic of a monkey’s chest or, in all likelihood, your dog’s butt. In other words, your dog stinks because it feeds special bacteria that produce an odor that, in turn, communicates a specific message to other dogs.

The idea that other mammals communicate using the odors of bacteria is fascinating to me. The question becomes just what they communicate. You might be surprised to know very little is known about just what dogs are doing when they sniff. Through such sniffing they can discern whether or not the animal they are sniffing is a boy or a girl, though presumably this is already readily apparent to a dog by the time they get close enough to start sniffing. But what else? No one knows.

In primates, the stories are clearer, if not yet clear. When primates sniff each other, they can use odors to identify individuals. They also identify individuals who smell better, either in terms of their status or their loveliness In terms of the latter, the bacteria being cultivated by these primates on their bodies are, in one form or another, potentially sexy, a garden of foul delight. Yet, what we know about the odors produced by non-human primates still seems to be only part of the story, a hint of a more complicated bouquet.

One dog’s backside is another man’s armpit—A little more may be revealed when we think about Paul Ehrlich’s body, or yours or mine for that matter. Human bodies have apocrine sweat glands too. Just as in dogs they are found in what biologists euphemistically call “the peri-anal region,” (or maybe that is the opposite of a euphemism) as well as around their genitals. But they are also found in our armpits. Our armpit odor is produced nearly exclusively by the odor of bacteria that are, in turn, fed by glands in our armpits4. In other words, when you sniff, however unintentionally, the odor of your neighbor’s armpits you are doing exactly the same thing a dog is doing when it sniffs another dog’s behind. This gets me back to Paul Ehrlich’s joke, the one about the good old days of sniffing each other, nose to tail.

It appears we never really stopped sniffing each other. We just, quite accidentally, started doing so in a more decorous manner, as a function of having stood up. This, I suppose, is what the joke bemoans, the good ole days of less decorum, but it leaves unanswered the question of just what information is being transmitted when we sniff other people, or when dogs sniff other dogs, or, for that matter, when dogs smell on someone else the odor of their cat.

I will start in answering this question by saying that it is clear that the answer we have is only partial, but at least three things emerge consistently across species.

I stink therefore I am—In smelling other individuals we can apparently tell who they are, or at least who they are not. We can, as a recent study conducted by high school students indicates, at the very least identify our own smell, and, with a reasonably high frequency, that of a friend5. Maybe this is not significant in our daily lives. Maybe it is, but at least in broad terms it seems true. A group at Mahidol University in Thailand has recently published a paper showing that an electronic nose they have developed (I kid you not), can also tell between the odors of different people on the basis of their bacteria6. We smell different because they, the bacteria, are different7. In deciding how to act toward others, who to bite, throw a stick at, or attempt to toss out of a tree (or an office), knowing who is who seems important. Maybe it is less important for humans than it was for our ancestors and yet we can clearly still perform the trick.

You sure have a pretty smell—Once, when I was living in Knoxville, Tennessee I was sitting behind a man and a woman on a bus when he turned to her and said, ”You sure have a pretty smell to you,” to which she said “thank you,” and then initiated more of a conversation. Smelling pretty is, actually, a big part of why our bodies spend energy feeding bacteria. We may not think of the odors of armpits as pleasant, and yet our subconscious mental circuitry appears to be constantly evaluating the smells of others and choosing between them. In smelling other individuals we are able to rate their sexiness and we appear to do so in ways that might benefit our potential offspring’s well being. For example, when we discern among odors, we tend to rate the odors of individuals with different immune (HLA) genes as more favorable than the odors of individuals with similar immune genes. Mating with folks with different immune genes will tend to confer a greater immunological diversity to your offspring, which in turn is likely to make them better able to defend against a diversity of potential pathogens. Many of the choices we make on the basis of body odor appear heightened when women are ovulating, and decisions about preferences are most likely to truly be decisions about mates. For example, when ovulating, women tend to prefer the smells of behaviorally dominant men8.

Pardon me sir, I don’t think I smell very well—The most recent revelation about our smells, the news item of the last few months, is that humans appear to be able to discern the smells of sick and healthy individuals and prefer the odors of healthy ones. For a number of years, scientists have known that mice infected with any of a variety of parasites—be they lice, protists, gut worms or viruses—are less sexy to other mice than are uninfected mice9. But recently Mikhail Moishkin and colleagues at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Russia, published a study in which they had female volunteers compare the odor of the sweat of healthy men, men infected with Gonorrhea and men who had been treated for Gonorrhea. The women consistently rated the odors of the men with Gonorrhea as worse than either those without the disease or those who had already been treated for it10. If you are sniffing someone, being able to detect that they might be sick (or more specifically that they might have Gonorrhea) based on the smell of their bacteria seems incredibly useful. Might we be able to discern sickness and health more generally on the basis of odors? The mice can. I bet we can too, but time and more experiments in which teenagers sniff sick people will tell.

The peacock’s armpits—The truth is no one has yet assembled these pieces into a complete evolutionary story. There is a small amount of research on dogs, which tends to focus on behaviors rather than on odors. In non-human primates, there is much more research on how individuals make choices based on odors, but less research-virtually none—on the bacteria themselves. In humans, there is research on the bacteria and research on the odors, but the two bodies of literature are largely separate.

I’ll take a stab at the story that winds all of these bodies of research together. Perhaps, our bodies evolved the ability to feed bacteria in order to produce smells that signaled both who we are (in terms of our identity and relatedness) and how we are (in terms of our health). Because the bacteria need food and are influenced by our microbial health, they provide an honest signal, like a peacock’s tail, of our fitness. A sick peacock has an ugly tail, a sick dog, monkey or man, may well have an ugly odor. All of this seems to fit with what we know, perhaps with the added twist that in highly social organisms—which include dogs (AKA wolves), monkeys and humans—smell has the potential to also convey some measure of social dominance or lack thereof, where alpha males smell sexier than the poor reeking chumps who get beat up at the beach.

But the puzzle is only partially assembled. A world of details remains unresolved. How costly are the foods we give to the bacteria we farm in our armpits and elsewhere? By what means do pathogens influence the way we smell? How do our brains process different odors? It appears as though most of the mental circuitry associated with processing bodily smells is subconscious, as for many social signals9. We make many of our most important decisions about how to regard each other without having those decisions ever rise to above the sea of the subconscious. So much for free will, but I digress; the point is we don’t really understand how our brains process the odors of others. We also don’t really know how the bacteria of different parts, individuals, or species differ and what consequences those differences have. A woman once asked me at a talk, why her armpits smell sweet when she visits the desert. I don’t know the answer, but differences in the bacteria we farm and consequently how we smell must exist as a function of where and how we live.

Then there is a final piece to this story, the issue of subterfuge. Very early in our human history, we began to take advantage of smells produced elsewhere in nature to perfume our bodies. We think of perfume as lovely in moderation, but there is another way to think of perfume, as a way to cheat. When you apply deodorant or perfume, you are covering up the odors produced by your bacteria with an odor regarded as pleasant, at least to the conscious brain and perhaps, if the perfume and deodorant companies have done their jobs, to the subconscious too, which is important since that seems to be where the decisions are being made11. I’m not sure where this leaves us other than with the impression that nearly the entirety of modern humanity has figured out how to smell like a peacock. Beware both the wolf in sheep’s clothing and the Gonorrhea that smells like Old Spice.

All of this leaves me with the question of why dogs sniff people’s crotches. As Paul Ehrlich might say, if he were a dog, maybe it is just because standing on two legs to reach people’s armpits is bad for their backs. Or maybe, in sniffing where they do, dogs call our bluff. Even when our armpits say “Old Spice,” where dogs sniff still has the potential to say, “Gonorrhea.” No matter what perfume we wear, we can be dogged by the truth.

For more about how our interactions with other species, be they microbes or tigers, shape who we are, read Rob’s book, The Wild Life of Our Bodies.

For those who would like to learn more about the evolution of the bacteria in our armpits, gorilla’s armpits, monkeys chests and dog’s backyard gardens, you won’t have to wait long. Julie Horvath-Roth and David Kroll, both now at the Nature Research Center are beginning a new project, in collaboration with yourwildlife.org to study the species we actively, but subconsciously, seem to be farming on our skin. For now, stay tuned, or just keep your nose to the wind.

~~~

1-For the record, this is the least crude bit of humor I’ve ever heard from Paul Ehrlich, even on that particular day.

2-See Ellis, R. A., Montagna, W. 1962. The skin of primates VI. The Skin of the Gorilla (Gorillia gorilla). American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Vol. 20: 72-93. In this article it is concluded, apparently, for the first time that among the apes only the gorilla and the chimpanzee have an “axillary organ” (AKA stinky armpit) like that in humans.

3-See, for example, Gosden, P. E., Ware, G. C. and E. S. Albone. 1975. The microbial flora of the anal sacs of the red fox, Vulpes vulpes and of certain other carnivores. Although the literature on the microbiology of animal smells is often discussed as though it is new, in 1975 E.. S. Albone was already suggesting that the odors produced by the anal sacs of lions, mongooses, dogs, tigers, maned wolves, bush dogs, domestic cats and foxes were produced by microbial “fermentation” of fats produced by the apocrine glands in these sacs. These anal sacs, although they have a terribly unappealing name, are really very much gardens. Helen Keller was a fierce advocate of sensory gardens with species planted in them with strong and characteristic smells. Carnivores already have such gardens in their, well, you know… Albone, E. S. and G. C. Perry. 1975. Anal sac secretion of the Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes… Journal of Chemical Ecology. 2: 101-111.

4-It is because of these glands, it has been argued, that we maintain hair in our armpits and around our privates, so as better to waft the smells of bacteria out into the air. Our conscious minds may cover bacterial odors up with deodorant, but our subconscious bodies rather consistently say, instead, “yo, smell this.” For a nice discussion of pubic and armpit hair in the context of our evolution (and that of lice) see… “Weiss, R. A. 2009, Apes, Lice and Prehistory. Journal of Biology. 20. (doi:10.1186/jbiol114)

6-A surprisingly large literature on electronic noses exists, but for this particular article see Wongchoosuk, C. et al. 2011. Identification of people from armpit odor region using networked electronic nose. Defense Science Research Conference and Expo (DSR). 10.1109/DSR.2011.6026826

7-When trained dogs pursue an individual person (trained, for example, based on the smell of their clothes), they are doing so based on the odors of their bacteria too. Mosquitoes, recent research has shown, also cue in on humans on the basis of bacterial smells. People with more bacteria are more attractive to mosquitoes. All of this together indicates that while the way we look is largely based on our own cells that the way we smell, our smell-identity if you will, is entirely a function of other species. You are who they, the bacteria, are.

9-It should also be discerned from this sentence that scientists spend a slightly unhealthy amount of time thinking about the sexiness of mice.

10-The other details of this study are also of interest. The men who had higher antibody titers, as would be expected if their immune systems were more actively fighting the Gonorrhea, smelled even less pleasant to the women. The authors of this study think that the immune system itself is triggering odors that lead to differential choices by the women though it seems plausible to suspect that these smells, like nearly all, human odors, are mediated by bacteria. Interestingly, the sick men did not just smell unpleasant, they smelled “putrid,” in contrast to the healthy men who were categorized as tending to smell either floral or some nuanced mix of floral and putrid. Moishkin, M. et al. 2011. Scent Recognition of Infected Status in Humans. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02562.

11-For an absolutely fascinating discussion of social signals and the extent to which they are subconscious see this paper by Bettina Pause, although I will warn you that it will leave you feeling as though you have very little control over the biggest decisions in your life. 2011. Processing of Body Odor Signals by the Human Brain. Chemosensory Perception. DOI: 10.1007/s12078-011-9108-2. It is from this paper that I stole the lovely and apt quote from Sartre.

Images: Paul Erlich: Stanford News Service; Two dogs: Vik Cuban on Flickr; Dog sniffing Eliza Dushku (all over the Web, let me know if you can find the original photographer); Gorilla: tomsowerby on Flickr; Ruth St. Denis in The Peacock: New York Public Library on Flickr.

Most of us love snuggling with our dogs and burying our noses in our dogs’ soft, shiny coats. But if you find yourself avoiding that last activity due to your dog’s persistent unpleasant odor, read on!

1. Check your dog’s coat for debris.

Many dogs love to roll in stinky things. Look over your dog’s body to see if there is a particular problem area, such as eau d’animal mort (aroma of dead animal) on his shoulders or cat-poop war paint on his face. He could also have stepped in something nasty, so don’t forget the paws!

2. Examine his skin and coat.

Does his hair feel greasy? Is his skin reddish, with little pustules? Does he have a lot of dandruff? A wide variety of skin conditions can cause your dog to smell funky. Ear infections due to yeast or bacteria can make your dog’s ears smell bad.

3. Give him a bath.

If the bad odor is limited to a small area, you can clean just that area. If the smell is coming from his ears, soak a cotton ball with ear cleaner and squish it inside your dog’s ear, then use more cotton balls to wipe out the debris. Q-tips can be used in the folds of the outer part of your dog’s ear, but don’t stick them in any farther. Then, skip to #5.

If the smell is emanating from some spot on his coat, start with paper towels to get the worst of the gunk off, then break out the hose (outside or in your shower) to get the rest. Use dog shampoo or Dawn dish soap to cleanse the area and leave it smelling fresh. Rinseless shampoos are useful if you don’t have the time or place for a full-body bath.

If your dog’s odor seems to be more of a whole-body event, though, that full bath is definitely in order. If you can’t bear having the swamp monster in your house, check with local pet-supply stores; many feature do-it-yourself dog-wash stations.

© Oleksandr Lypa | Dreamstime.com

If your dog’s coat just seems a little oily or he has some dandruff, he may simply be overdue for a bath. Short-haired dogs in particular seem to get a “doggy” smell when they have gone a long time without a bath. Skin folds on dogs with loose skin require extra attention to keep those areas clean. Suds up!

If your dog’s skin seems to have more going on, a medicated bath may be in order. Start with something gentle, like an oatmeal shampoo, then set up an appointment with your veterinarian. Your vet can identify any skin problems and provide you with the right medicated shampoo to resolve the issue. When using a medicated shampoo, be sure to read the directions; many require some soaking time before you rinse to be most effective.

Dry your dog thoroughly afterward, especially if he has a long or thick coat. This is doubly important for dogs with skin disorders, as excess moisture can exacerbate the problem. Blow dryers made for dogs are an excellent investment for the abovementioned dogs. Human hair dryers can be used with caution – only with the heat on the lowest setting so that you don’t burn your dog’s skin.

4. Wash the dog’s bedding.

If your dog has been marinating that stink for a little while, his bedding is probably due for a wash, too. Fresh, clean bedding will help to keep your clean dog staying that way. Don’t forget the blanket in your dog’s crate in the car.

5. Schedule a vet appointment.

If your dog smells funny, but his skin and coat look fine, or if he seems to get smelly quickly after a bath, there may be an underlying problem. Bad breath can indicate dental infections, kidney disease, or diabetes. Ear infections require examination under a microscope to identify and treat the cause of the problem. And skin problems may require testing to rule out allergies.

Kate Eldredge is a licensed veterinary technician from Plattsburgh, New York. She also trains, shows, and breeds Belgian Tervuren and is working on her canine-rehabilitation certification.

5 Types of Dog Eye Discharge (and What They Mean)

By Jennifer Coates, DVM

Eye discharge is a common problem in dogs. Some types are completely normal, while others are associated with potentially serious health concerns. In order to determine when professional help is necessary, pet parents need to understand the various types of dog eye discharge and what each may mean. Let’s take a look at five common types of dog eye discharge and what you should do about them.

1. A Little Goop or Crust

Tears play an essential role in maintaining eye health. They provide oxygen and nourishment to the cornea (the clear layer of tissue at the front of the eye) and help remove any debris that might get trapped there. Tears normally drain through ducts located at the inner corner of each eye, but sometimes a little bit of goop or crust will accumulate there. This material is made out of dried tears, oil, mucus, dead cells, dust, etc. It is most evident in the morning and is often perfectly normal. The goop or crust should be easy to remove with a warm damp cloth, the eyes should not be red, and your dog should not exhibit any signs of eye discomfort (rubbing, squinting, blinking, and sensitivity to light). The amount of “sleep” a dog produces each night (or after long naps) should stay relatively constant. If you notice any worsening of your dog’s condition, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

2. Clear and Watery

Excessive eye watering (epiphora) is associated with many different conditions that run the range from relatively benign to serious. Allergies, irritants, foreign material in the eye, anatomical abnormalities (e.g., prominent eyes or rolled in eyelids), blocked tear ducts, corneal wounds, and glaucoma (increased eye pressure) are common causes of epiphora in dogs.

If your dog has a relatively mild increase in tearing but his eyes look normal in all other respects and he doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, it is reasonable to monitor the situation. Your dog may have simply received a face full of pollen or dust, and the increased tearing is working to solve the problem. But if the epiphora continues or your dog develops red, painful eyes or other types of eye discharge, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

3. Reddish Brown Tear Stains

Light colored dogs often develop a reddish brown discoloration to the fur below the inner corner of their eyes. This occurs because tears contain a pigment called porphyrin that turns this reddish brown color upon prolonged exposure to air. In the absence of other problems, tear staining in this area is normal and is just a cosmetic concern. If you want to minimize your dog’s tear stains, try one or more of these solutions: Wipe the area a few times a day with a cloth dampened in warm water or an eye cleaning solution; keep the fur around your dog’s eyes trimmed short; and/or add an antibiotic-free nutritional supplement that reduces tear staining to your dog’s diet.

Keep in mind that it can take several months for porphyrin stained fur to grow out and for the effects of any of these remedies to become obvious. If you notice an increase in the amount or a change in the quality of your dog’s tear staining or if your dog’s eyes become red and painful, make an appointment with your veterinarian for an eye examination.

4. White-Gray Mucus

Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS) is a condition that usually develops when a dog’s immune system attacks and destroys the glands that produce tears. With tear production being less than normal, the body tries to compensate by making more mucus to lubricate the eyes. But mucus can’t replace all the functions of tears, so the eyes become red and painful and may develop ulcers and abnormal corneal pigmentation. Left untreated, KCS can result in severe discomfort and blindness.

If you notice white-gray mucus collecting around your dog’s eyes, make an appointment with your veterinarian. He or she can perform a simple procedure called a Schirmer Tear Test to differentiate KCS from other diseases that are associated with increased eye mucus production. Most dogs respond well to treatment for KCS, which may involve cyclosporine, tacrolimus, artificial tears, and/or other medications. Surgery to redirect a duct carrying saliva from the mouth toward the surface of the eye can also be considered but should be reserved for those cases when medical treatment is unsuccessful.

5. Yellow or Green Eye Discharge

A dog whose eyes produce yellow or green discharge often has an eye infection, particularly if eye redness and discomfort are also evident. Eye infections can develop as a primary problem or as a result of another condition (corneal wounds, dry eye, etc.) that weakens the eye’s natural defenses against infection. Sometimes what looks to be an eye infection is actually a sign that a dog has a systemic illness or a problem affecting the respiratory tract, nervous system, or other part of the body.

Any dog who looks like he might have an eye infection should be seen by a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Have you ever wiped something gunky out of your dog’s eye and wondered whether or not it was supposed to be there? You’re not alone. What are they, exactly? Well, doggie eye boogers are just eye discharge, and it’s very common in dogs. The main causes of dog eye boogers are:

What exactly IS an eye booger though?

Most dogs experience eye discharge because of dirt or dust getting into their eye, which is normal. Throughout the day, dogs accumulate debris in their eyes. Their body’s natural response is to clean it out. Each time your pup blinks, tears are released to provide protection and get rid of any irritants (like a piece of fur). So trust me, dog boogers can be totally normal.

Some breeds tend to have more discharge than others, and it’s not always a major medical problem. Many dogs suffer from allergies and like people, it can cause an increase in eye discharge and redness. What isn’t normal is when yellowish discharge starts to form or you notice physical changes to the eye itself – whether it’s starting to cloud, bulge or push itself back into the skull. Below are more detailed explanations about eye booger causes.

1. Allergies

Like humans, dogs experience everyday things like grass, pollen, and dust that their bodies may think are dangerous, leading to a physical reaction, like eye discharge. Even though the dust at the dog park is okay, for your pup it may be a problem causing allergen when it’s inhaled, ingested or comes in contact with the dog’s skin. Breeds particularly prone to allergies are: terriers, setters, retrievers, and dogs with flat faces like bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers.

Dogs are allergic to numerous things. Common symptoms of dogs experiencing allergies are:

  • Itchy, runny eyes (eye discharge)
  • Red or irritated skin
  • Excessive scratching
  • Pawing at their eye

In order to treat it, ask your vet. Additionally, flushing the eye out with over the counter sterile eyewash can also provide some relief.

2. Conjunctivitis (aka pink eye)

If you notice your dog has clear or pus-like eye boogers, and/or excessive redness in and around the eye, get it checked out by your vet. Why? It could be conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis (bacterial or viral pink eye) is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. What’s that? The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. Watch for red eyes, inflammation, pawing at the eyes, squinting or crusty eyes that can indicate your dog has contracted this condition. Also, just so you know, it is transmittable to humans, so if you think your dog has this, wash your hands after handling them.

3. Epiphora

Be on the lookout for excessively teary eyes, which is known as epiphora. Epiphora means the eyes overflow with tears. Signs of epiphora are: Excess wetness around the eyes, brown staining underneath the eyes, a smelly odor, and/or skin irritation. The condition tends to be more noticeable in breeds with lighter colored fur. But if you wipe your dark colored pup’s eye and the discharge is brown, keep an eye on it and schedule an appointment with your vet.

4. Keratoconjunctivits Sicca (KCS)

Next up on the eye discharge list is keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), also known as dry eye (the inability to produce enough tears). Dry eye happens when the tear gland gets infected or experiences trauma. Dry eye symptoms are: Yellowish discharge, inflammation around the eye, excessive blinking and/or swelling of the eyelids. When experiencing this condition, your dog’s cornea is at great risk which can lead to more eye infections and/or corneal damage. If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your vet, as KCS can cause loss of vision.

5. Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when pressure is put on the eye, causing inadequate drainage of ocular fluid. Some breeds like Poodles, Chow Chows, and Cocker Spaniels are more predisposed to glaucoma than others. It’s also common in senior dogs.

There are two types of glaucoma in dogs – primary and secondary. Primary glaucoma is when the eye is unable to drain, causing fluid to get backed up in the eye. Secondary glaucoma is when the eye is impacted by trauma (such as inflammation or cancer), which physically blocks drainage. With glaucoma, be on the lookout for excessive blinking, eye bulging, high pressure on the eye, clouded eyes, dilated pupils and/or vision loss. Get your pup to the vet as soon as possible and have the ocular pressures checked to determine further treatment.

How can I help my dog with their eye boogers?

To help your canine companion with drainage, keep the hair around their eyes trimmed. If you have a long-haired dog or they have pesky hairs around their eyes, ask your groomer to trim the area. Use caution with things that could irritate your dog’s eyes like shampoo, flea medication and dust. For dog tears, you can use specific dog eye wipes that are commonly sold in pet stores (you can also use hypoallergenic, fragrance-free baby wipes which tend to be cheaper). After the dog park, dampen a towel to clear any type of debris that might be there. Finally, be on the lookout if you notice anything irritating your pup. You know your dog best, so if you feel their eye boogers are goopier, gloopier, or just plain grosser than normal, get them checked by the vet. Better safe than sorry!

For more, check out these articles!

5 Signs Your Dog’s Eye Boogers Are Caused By Something Dangerous Recall Alert: This Everyday Household Ingredient Could Make You Or Your Dog Very Sick6 Things You Can Learn About Your Dog’s Health Just By Looking Into Their EyesWhy Does My Dog Pee On My Bed?My Dog’s Nose Is Always Dripping. Is Something Wrong?

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Dog eye gunk. It happens. But why?

If you’re reading while eating, here’s your warning: we’re about to get into the sometimes icky details about the causes of eye discharge. Read on for more—plus care tips you need.

What is that gunk, anyway?

The medically correct term for it is dog eye discharge. Discharge can range from a clear, watery consistency (allergies or a foreign body in the eye may be the root cause) to a pus-like discharge with a tendency to crust, which could be a sign of a bigger problem.

If you’re unsure about the cause of your dog’s unusually runny eyes, visit your vet for a professional opinion.

Allergies, infection—what are the causes?

Conjunctivitis

Or, as we humans call it, pink eye. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the outer layer of the eye and inner layer of the eyelid, often paired with that yellow-green puss-like discharge that crusts overnight, as well as bloodshot whites and excessive blinking or itching.

Conjunctivitis has many causes. Some cases are viral, others are bacterial, and some can be attributed to allergies or even tumors. The key? Seeing the vet at the first sign of symptoms to nail down the source so it can be treated—it’ll likely include antibiotics and soothing washes to keep any serious damage at bay.

Watery Eye aka Epiphora

Some dogs—and humans, for that matter—have constantly watery eyes. But with epiphora or excessive tearing, the eyes are, well, just that: excessively wet.

The problem lies in the duct not being able to properly dispose of excess tearing, which is especially common in flat-faced dog breeds. Sometimes, the stream of tears can result in the darkened fur around the eyes, especially for light-colored dogs.

The overabundance of tearing can also lead to infected, smelly skin. Causes of excessive tearing really run the gamut: it could be a result of conjunctivitis, allergies, a duct problem, an eyelash growing where it shouldn’t, or glaucoma.

Visit the vet to figure out what’s causing it, then treat accordingly—in some cases, relief from epiphora will require tear duct surgery.

KCS aka Dry eye

The opposite of constant watery, teary eyes? Dry eye. The official term? Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or KCS for short.

Uncomfortable, itchy, dried out eyes lack lubrication and therefore the ability to flush away irritants or infections. And that could cause some serious harm. Without tears, in an effort to protect the eye, the whites of the eyes turn brown and yellow-green discharge appears.

Common causes for dry eye include eye infections, tear duct issues, and side-effects of anesthesia or antibiotics. Blindness can occur if untreated, so make sure to visit your vet if symptoms crop up.

Eye Injury

Dogs play and explore and are sometimes just clumsy, which can lead to eye injuries. The eye can be scratched (think running through vegetation or wrestling with another dog) or a foreign body such as dirt or debris can get lodged in their eye. Even exposing the eye to a chemical may cause changes in your dog’s eye discharge.

In addition to changes in discharge, other signs can include a visible foreign object, scratching or pawing at the face, or a bloody or bloodshot eye. Eye injuries can have serious complications, so see a vet immediately if you suspect your dog hurt their eye. If you can see something in your dog’s eye, don’t try to remove it yourself. Ask your vet to do so.

What’s normal, and when should I worry?

Like human eyes, dog’s eyes need lubrication to function normally. So how do you know if your dog is having eye problems?

Well, when was the last time you thought about the consistency of your own eye’s lubrication? Probably the last time they were excessively wet, or excessively dry, or excessively gunky. And you were probably blinking, squinting, touching them, and otherwise showing physical signs of infection or irritation.

The same holds true for your dog. Eye discharge is normal until it’s not. To assure good eye health and quality of life for your dog, keep an eye out (haha) for tell-tale signs of eye issues:

  • Excessively watery eyes
  • Excessively dry eyes
  • A noticeable increase in eye discharge
  • Change in eye discharge consistency or color
  • Rubbing or pawing at the eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Bloody or excessively bloodshot eyes
  • A visible foreign object in the eye

At this point, you’ve probably picked up on what you should do if you notice these symptoms—call your vet as soon as possible.

Cleaning and care tips for your dog’s eyes

Once you have any injuries, allergies, and/or infections under control, here are some of our tips for maintaining your dog’s eye health.

1) Try a dog tear stain remover

These gentle liquids are designed especially for use with smaller dogs and lighter-haired dogs. They can be very handy for routine grooming, as well as stubborn stains and bogies.

2) Use a pet ‘eye comb’

While it seems like a strange idea, “eye combs” are actually quite wonderful. They’re sturdy, easy, efficient, and help you avoid using chemicals to clean your dog’s eyes.

3) Give a quick trim around the eyes

If your dog has long hair that may be contributing to the problem, clean the hair and trim it regularly—this is an issue especially in flat-faced or smaller toy dogs. Try a simple pet grooming kit at home, or visit the groomer if you’re not confident about your trimming skills!

4) Keep your dog’s eyes moist with a pet eyewash

Eye drops designed for canine use are a miracle invention, as far as we’re concerned. They’re non-irritating and non-toxic, so it’s okay if your dog taste-tests any excess product.

These drops are great for eye lubrication, flushing out irritants, and soothing allergic reactions. We suggest having treats on hand when administering drops!

5) Don’t use your fingers to clean it

Be careful! It’s a sensitive area. If it’s run-of-the-mill gunk, start with a clean, damp towel rather than bare fingers. Avoid cotton balls or other products that may shed material into the eye.

Further Reading

  • Why are my dog’s eyes red?
  • Does my dog have a cold?
  • Tear stains in dogs: Why they happen and how to help

Need Dog Grooming?

Does your dog need a fresh trim? A groomer can now come to your house! Rover offers dog grooming in Seattle, Austin, and Denver. To learn more, please check out our page here.

Top image via Instagram.

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