Why Does My Dog Smell Like Metal? Should I Be Concerned?

If your dog smells like metal, the anal glands are likely to blame. When a dog’s anal glands don’t empty as they should, it can cause a metallic scent. Although you can express the anal glands yourself, it’s best to have a professional take care of it.

Dogs are curious and adventurous animals. Because of this, they often get into things they shouldn’t (such as the trash). This can leave your dog with a foul odor, but what if they continue to smell bad after you give them a bath?

It’s not uncommon for dogs to smell like metal, and the smell typically DOES NOT go away after bathing. Below, we will cover the main reason your dog has a metallic smell and what you can do to make it go away.

Anal Glands – The Main Culprit

If you notice a foul metallic smell coming from your dog, it’s most likely coming from the anal glands.

Your dog’s anal glands secrete a scent distinct to them. These glands fill with fluid that is secreted when your dog defecates.

Though their body naturally releases the fluid from the sacs, there may be times when the glands are not emptying as they should. This is typically due to a blockage that leads to infections.

Blockages cause significant discomfort for your dog and should be addressed immediately. The sooner you identify the problem, the sooner you can get your dog to the veterinarian.

Here are the top signs your dog is having issues expressing their anal glands

Signs of Anal Gland Blockage

Excessive attention to the “rear end” is the most common sign that your dogs anal glands are blocked. They may clean the area frequently or rub their bottom across the carpet.

You may also fluid under the area your dog was sitting. This could be an indication that the anal glands are slowly leaking.

There may be swelling and redness in the area, which is typically an indication of infection.

Of course, your dog will also produce a strong metallic smell.

What Causes Anal Gland Blockage?

Some dogs may never experience issues with their anal glands, while others may be more predisposed to it. Here are the top three reasons your dog may be experiencing issues with their anal glands.

Diarrhea

One cause of anal gland blockage is chronic diarrhea. When your dog’s stool is firm, it empties the anal gland secretions as the stool passes.

When the stool is too soft, the anal glands are not able to secrete and function as they normally would.

Chronic diarrhea is a condition that needs to be addressed by your veterinarian, especially if it’s causing anal gland issues.

Food Allergies

Allergies in dogs are much different than allergies in humans. Whether your dog is trying a new brand of food or you’ve introduced something new into their diet, you may find your dog is allergic to it.

Allergy symptoms can present in the form of a rash or inflammation in the dog’s body. Inflammation can occur in the anal glands, causing difficulty in emptying their bowels.

If you’ve noticed the metallic smell shortly after switching their food, there’s a good chance your dog is allergic to their new food.

Obesity

Dogs that are obese tend to naturally have more anal gland issues. The extra weight your dog carries can cause the anal glands to be displaced, causing them to not function properly.

The good news is that when put on a proper diet and exercise plan, dogs can lose weight very quickly.

Veterinarian Guidance For Anal Gland Issues

Any time your dog has a health issue, it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment with the vet. Once the veterinarian determines what’s causing the dog’s anal gland issue, they can begin with a safe and effective treatment plan.

Some dogs may experience frequent blockages due to their anatomy and the body’s inability to naturally express the glands through passing stool. If this is the case, be sure to work closely with your vet to ensure you have a plan in place for prevention.

Expressing Procedure

Though there are ways you can express your dog’s anal glands at home, it’s much safer to have this procedure completed by your vet.

Some dog groomers may offer anal gland expressions as a service, but we do not recommend this. Due to the nature of the procedure and the risk of further inflammation occurring, it’s something that’s best left to the vet.

The expressing process is simple but delicate. The expression occurs through the squeezing of the glands, similar to milking. This allows the fluid to release from the duct, removing pressure in the gland.

By continuing this process until the fluid has completely emptied, your dog’s discomfort should lessen. You may see them still scooting their bottom on the floor following the expression, but this shouldn’t last long.

The Importance of Prevention

Although the vet can express the anal glands to provide relief for your dog, this shouldn’t be a regular thing.

If your dog is more susceptible to blockages, work with your veterinarian to address the root cause of the issue. Discuss with your vet a plan to prevent anal gland issues in the future.

The vet will likely talk to you about the diet. Diet is a huge part of healthy digestion, and healthy digestion is a huge part in preventing issues with the anal glands.

Ensure that your dog is getting enough fiber in their diet. Both to promote digestive health and aid in the prevention of anal gland issues.

Probiotics are another option to improve your dog’s digestive health. Observing your dog’s behavior and knowing when something has changed is important for catching any problems that may occur.

Don’t Ignore The Metal Smell

As dog owners, we sometimes get so caught up in everyday life that we put off the health of our dogs. If your dog is putting off a foul smell that sticks around after a bath, something is wrong. Be sure to schedule an appointment with the vet as soon as possible.

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