Bloodhounds are one of the most recognizable breeds of dogs, known for their long ears and droopy eyes. But there’s another trait that sets them apart from other breeds: their smelly reputation! The truth is that no healthy dog should stink any more than another. However, Bloodhounds do have some physical traits that can make it more of an issue than for other breeds. This article explores why Bloodhounds may stink, looking at the various conditions and infections that can cause odours, such as skin and ear infections, fleas and ticks, canine seborrhea, dental and gum issues, and debris in their nasal passages.
Bloodhound Scent Ability
Bloodhounds possess an incredibly powerful sense of smell. The nose of a bloodhound is a combination of large nostrils and a long muzzle which gives them more surface area for scent absorption. In fact, it contains some 300 million olfactory receptors — making it one of the most powerful noses in the animal kingdom. However, there are some other features the Bloodhound has that allow them to manage such feats and help their superior sense of smell to pick up the faintest of scents…however, these are the same features that can lead to them being a bit whiffy
The loose, wrinkled skin around a Bloodhound’s face helps trap scent particles, and the long ears hang down alongside its face, almost to the ground, allowing them to capture and circulate air inside them — a feature ideal for scenting.
The loose, wrinkled skin around the face helps trap scent particles, and long, drooping ears that drag on the ground collect odors and sweep them into the nostril area. The dog’s long neck and muscular shoulders, which slope into its strong back, allow it to track close to the ground for miles on end.
With these anatomical features combined, bloodhounds are uniquely equipped for sniffing out whatever needs finding. It is this remarkable combination of features – from both anatomy and scent-tracking capabilities – that make the bloodhound so adept at sniffing out people or animals who may have gone missing.
Bloodhound’s Wrinkles and Their Odour
Bloodhounds have short coats, which is better for them if they find themselves rooting around in the undergrowth. It is also good for their owners as they usually only require a brush through them to keep the coat clean.
However those loose-skinned wrinkles on Bloodhounds are prone to ear, and skin infections, particularly in the recesses of their ears, wrinkles of their skin, and between their toes… sometimes called “Frito Feet” due to the corn chip-like smell These can be both bacterial and fungal, and if your Bloodhound continues to give off a pungent stench, this could well be the issue.
Fleas and Ticks
An infestation of fleas, ticks, or mites can cause some interesting aromas. Dogs like bloodhounds, that are prone to putting their noses into the undergrowth should be on a flea and tick preventative treatment. Even if they are, an examination of the skin may reveal the black “Dirt” from fleas Also keep an eye open for any reddened and broken skin, which can hint at mite infestations. All of these can cause your dog to stink
Seborrheic dermatitis, commonly known as seborrhea, is a skin condition in which the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, leading to scaly, flaky, irritated, and red skin.
Seborrhea often appears on the back, face, and flanks, and is more pronounced in folds of skin, so Bloodhounds can be particularly susceptible.
Seborrhea can be either seborrhea sicca (dry seborrhea) or seborrhea oleosa (oily seborrhea). Generally, dogs suffering from seborrheic dermatitis have both dry and oily forms of the condition.
An accumulation of dead skin and sebum can build up and oxidize, producing some pretty funky smells
Teeth and Gums
Teeth and Gum issues are particularly bad in Bloodhounds, so be on the lookout for dental disease… Those flappy lips can hide a lot of problems and can cause some awful smells too.
Eighty percent of dogs experience dental issues by the age of two, making it the most prevalent chronic problem in pets. Unfortunately, Bloodhounds have a higher risk of dental health issues compared to other dogs.
Dental disease begins as plaque and tartar on the teeth and can spread to the gumline and roots of your dog’s teeth. If left untreated it can cause severe health problems, such as damage to your Bloodhound’s kidneys, liver, heart, and joints that could potentially reduce its life span by one to three years!
Due to their exceptionally long and droopy ears, Bloodhounds are prone to getting their ears in all sorts of places, and as such, they are particularly vulnerable to ear infections. Ear infections can also produce some unpleasant smells.
We recommend regular cleaning of their ears to help prevent a buildup of bacteria, debris, and wax that may lead to ear infections.
Debris in Nasal Passages
Inhalation of debris that becomes lodged in your dog’s nasal cavity can result in a localised pruritic lesion; a telltale sign is an odour of spoiled meat on the dog’s breath.
While Bloodhounds can pick up some “interesting” smells during their excursions, they can be managed with regular grooming. However, Bloodhounds are quite prone to developing skin infections, fleas and ticks, seborrhea, dental and gum problems, and ear infections, which all can lead to a pungent stench.
Regular cleaning of the ears, brushing of the teeth and coat, and preventative treatments for fleas and ticks are all important in keeping a Bloodhound’s smell under control.
If your dog seems to be more smelly than it should be, or you suspect any infections, check in with your Veterinarian Your vet will usually be able to tell you the issue, but in some cases, a comprehensive exam including a microscopic examination of skin scrapings and an otoscopic exam of the ears may be needed to determine an exact cause and set a treatment plan.
Sam is an award-winning canine photographer and runs Farlap Bloodhound breeders and Kennels in Devon and is the secretary of the Bloodhound Club.
Sam Clark has a passion for bloodhounds and their amazing ability to track a scent, and was one of the first in the UK to train her dogs to either track humans or other dogs for canine rescue.