Why Does My Golden Retriever Stink? 7 Causes & 9 Solutions

Golden retrievers can smell bad for many reasons, that’s why they need constant care and grooming if you want to keep that magnificent golden fur healthy and not all over your place.

As you probably know, they really love playing and it won’t matter to them where or when? man do they love playing in the mud.

Most of them will get wet as soon as they see water, but it’s not all about playing or getting themselves dirty.

So here’s a short answer for other reasons that could make them stink.

Why does my golden retriever stink? Golden retrievers can stink because of bacteria, yeast metabolizing, or skin oils. The less you bath your golden retriever the more the bacteria and the yeast will spread and the smell will too. When the skin is healthy it’s harder for the bacteria’s number to increase.

You also don’t want to bath your dog too often. A bath every two or three weeks or when needed should be fine. You can learn more about how often you should bath your golden retriever here.

That was just the summary, to know more about what could cause the smell and does it require the vet or just homemade remedies will do, Keep reading to learn more.

7 Causes Why Your Golden Retriever Smell Bad

  1. Natural causes
  2. Bad breath
  3. Teeth & gums disease
  4. The dog’s diet
  5. Ear’s bacteria
  6. Infected body part
  7. Anal glands

Let’s take a moment to discuss each of these reasons and see how they could cause your dog to stink.

Natural causes

Most of the times what causes a bad smell in golden retrievers are natural cause such as

  • They’ve been in Water
  • Feces stuck in their fur
  • They’ve been rolling around in smelly things like mud, dirt, or grass.

If playing in the grass or mud is causing the smell, then you’ll need to limit this behavior. 

Search if there’s anything stuck in their fur that could be causing that smell, and a good bath with a good shampoo will solve it right away.

Bad breath

If your dog breath is a little bit smelly, it’s okay, but if their breath smell is too bad it could be for lots of reasons and some of them are pretty common.

Periodontal disease ( Gums inflammation)

Periodontal disease or more common as dental disease, it happens when gingivitis isn’t addressed soon enough, which will lead to infection in the roots of their teeth.

That disease can make a tooth rotten, and that tooth could easily cause bad breath.

In that case, their tooth will need to be pulled by the vet.

To avoid all of that consider brushing your dog’s teeth regularly and take care of their dental health with a simple check-up with their vet to prevent periodontal before happening.

You can check my recommended brushes for golden retrievers here.


If your dog has diabetes you already know that they shouldn’t eat certain foods, but what happens if they eat that food? Their body will start breaking down fats instead of glucose which will build-up an organic compound called ketones.

In conclusion, diabetes directly affects their breath smell.

You can learn what human foods golden retrievers should never eat here. I have included 18 foods on this list and I think some of them may surprise you.


Plaque is a type of bacteria. When there’s leftover food stuck in their teeth it forms that plaque.

The bacteria will start to populate in their mouth if it’s not removed regularly. Because it could harden into calculus, which you probably know it as tartar.

it is the beginning of periodontal disease because it develops gingivitis which will lead to inflammation in the gums.

Kidney failure

If your pup is suffering from kidney disease, it’s probably the reason for their bad breath because the kidney is one of the organs that are responsible for filtering toxins, and if the kidney stops the body toxins will rise up and it will affect your dog’s breath smell.

Liver disease 

Just like kidney failure, if the liver has stopped functioning and it can’t filter toxins.

It will cause bad odors and it can be released into the lungs which will come out when they breathe.

Teeth & gums disease

Unlike us, dogs can’t take care of their dental health. You don’t wake up in the morning to find your dog brushing their teeth or flossing.

Or when they have bad breath they don’t ask you for mints. That’s why it’s up to us to take care of their teeth and dental health. 

If you neglect that, lots of teeth and gum diseases can show.

If they have diseased teeth and gums it will increase drooling which will be stuck in their fur and they will be smelly.

The dog’s diet

The dog’s diet is one of the most important reasons.

If your dog has allergies to some food, his skin would react and it will produce more oils that will accompany itching or dandruff.

Some foods could cause your dog gas which will make him smelly most of the time.

If one of these signs appears, you will need to change your dog’s diet.

Ear’s bacteria

Sometimes there are bacteria living inside their ear which could cause a bad smell. 

It could accompany some flatulence if it’s too much it could cause them intestine problems, and they will need to go to the vet. There’s one sign that can help you notice if they have a bacterial infection, they will shake their head a lot.

Infected body part

They can have bacteria, yeast, and body oils. They all lead to bad smells. The bad odor will mostly appear in two areas: the armpit and the groin.

The infected area will be thick and greasy, it will also have a darker pigment compared to the surrounding areas.

Anal glands

Anal glands or anal sacs are located on the side of your dog’s anus. They are responsible for the smell that the dog secretes, it’s full of specialized sweat glands that cause a fishy smell.

Here’s a few things that could cause that bad smell.

  • Communication with other dogs 

Sometimes when they meet another dog they secrete that fishy smell to let the other dog learn some information about them, that’s why when they meet a new dog they smell each other’s tails, it also explains why they sniff another dog’s poop.

  • Anal glands disease

It’s a disease common in small dogs, it’s really painful and it could be accompanied by some symptoms.

  • Blood in their urine or poop
  • Hurting sound when they defecate
  • Licking or biting in the anus area
  • Scooting on the floor a lot

It’s a painful disease for them so please if you find any other signs besides the fishy smell take them to the vet, the sooner the better.

Interestingly, Anal Glands could also make your dog smell like fish. You can learn why some golden retrievers smell like fish here. Of course, I’ve discussed some solutions that actually work in there, so make sure to check it out.

How to Get Rid of Bad Smell on Golden Retrievers? 

A photo of a golden retriever taking a bath to illustrate why does my golden retriever stink

Goldens can smell bad for literally anything. Goldens owners always joke around that golden retrievers may just be the smelliest dog breed there is, and I actually think there is some truth to that.

First of all, if you find that it’s a health-related issue, you’ll need to take them to the vet to find the resource of that bad smell, so they can treat it properly.

Number two; Never underestimate the power of homemade remedies:

Search to find the source of the bad smell

Always start by trying to find out what is causing the bad smell. Treating the symptoms (the bad smell) without solving the root cause is a bad idea always.

Give them a bath with a good shampoo

Giving your pup a good bath with something like an oatmeal shampoo can greatly help with the smell and not only on the short term. I do recommend getting an oatmeal shampoo as these can help with the dog’s coat growth and help it become healthier.

You can check my full list of recommended shampoos here. For a quick recommendation, I personally use and love the PetPleasant Oatmeal and Lavender shampoo. You can check it on Amazon here. The smell of my dogs after a shower with this shampoo is just heavenly.

Vacuum and cleaning your house might be helpful

Vacuuming your house when you have a dog is just always a good idea. You gather and remove all the hair and you fight fleas, ticks, and bacteria by keeping the house clean.

Try new shampoos for your furry friend

Search for a good shampoo because some can dry up their skin, Organic shampoos for pets might be a great solution and it will help with the itching and the dry skin.

Again, I recommend you check the Lavender & Oatmeal shampoo I use above. I am almost certain you will love it.

Groom them

After giving them a nice bath grooming would be perfect, but that doesn’t mean you should only groom them after a bath. You should groom them every 1 to 2 days.

Brush their teeth

Because most of the bad smell that appears in any dog comes from their mouth. 

So you should brush their teeth at least 3 times per week and with time start brushing them daily.

Clean their bed

You should clean their bed or wherever they are sleeping on regular bases, to make sure that their surroundings are always clean. just wash it more often with hot water and vinegar or you can replace it with baking soda and hot water to remove any bad odor.

Do not use fabric softeners, it may irritate their skin.

Change their diet

Your dog’s diet is the most important of all things, for their health and for your own nose.

Because what goes in is what comes out.

Wipe your dog’s ears

To prevent any ear’s bacterial infection.

Do All Golden Retrievers Smell? 

Yes, they all smell, because of their body oils and their water-resistant coat, they will smell but you can always avoid that by giving them a good bath, grooming, and brushing their teeth regularly.

Related Questions 

Why does my golden retriever paws smell like Fritos? 

Every dog has trillions of bacteria and fungi living on their skin and fur. When dogs sweat through their paws it’s the perfect place for the bacteria and fungus to live because it’s moist and warm, and that causes the Fritos smell in their paws.

why do my dog’s feet smell cheesy

Dog’s feet are moist most of the time and there’s no air and that combination creates a perfect environment for bacteria to live and grow, there are lots of types of bacteria living on the dog’s skin but the bac


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind Retrievershub.com. With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting Retrievershub.com and being part of our vibrant community.

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