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Malodorous mutts need a wash and a vet check

Dr. Jeff NicholALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Q: We have two small dogs – a Chihuahua and a terrier mix – that have a body odor problem. We can give them a bath today and, within two days, the odor is back. I have owned a number of dogs in my lifetime (I’m 81 years old) and this has never been a problem. Is it their food?

Dr. Nichol: Even during times of social distancing, B.O. can be a family stigma. The good news is that while your dogs’ odorousness does not indicate a character flaw, it shouldn’t be their calling card. They share a treatable medical disorder.

I consulted with Dr. Rebecca Mount of Dermatology for Animals in Albuquerque. She’s a board-certified specialist and shared this advice: “There are a couple of factors which may play a role. Some dogs have occult bacteria or yeast infections, and get a gamey smell from the mixture of these microbes and their natural body oils. Ideally, a quick check with cytology may be helpful, but it may be worth trying an over-the-counter antimicrobial shampoo. I like Douxo products, which can be purchased on Amazon. I am not sure if these dogs get supplements or if their diet has a large amount of fish oil. Occasionally, fish oil will give dogs a general fishy odor.”

Take your dogs to their veterinarian for a physical exam. Using a glass slide the doctor can collect organisms and evaluate them microscopically. This will determine the types of bacteria or yeast and whether an overgrowth is responsible for the dearth of invitations to graduation parties. Daily bathing with Douxo Shampoo could significantly improve your pupsters’ social lives.

I mention social events for dogs because it’s important for them to play and cavort with others of their ilk. Dogs are not at risk of COVID-19 infection. They need to sniff and be sniffed without being viewed as stinky pariahs. Playmates at the small dog dog park will enjoy your pets’ company without anyone holding his or her nose.

CAT BEHAVIOR CONFERENCE: I’ll host a virtual small group behavior conference for cats on Wednesday, May 27, at 1 p.m. Call 505-792-5131 to register. I’ll give individual help. $60/family.

Dr. Jeff Nichol provides pet behavior consultations in person, and by telephone and Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week, he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video. Sign up at no charge at Post pet questions on or by mail to 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.