Why Do American Bullies Smell? – 10 Helpful Stink Tips

american bully sad face

American Bullies are like any other dog when it comes to their potential to smell. They are not a breed known for their stink, but they can at times be smelly and we can’t pinpoint why. If you know what to look for however you can find the problem.

Why do American Bullies smell? There are a few causes such as dental problems, ear infections, skin problems, gas, anal glands, and general hygeine that cause an American Bully to stink or smell. Determining the root cause will help with treatment and prevention.

As a long time dog owner, and recent first time American Bully owner I am well prepared to combat any stink or smell that might come my way. I have learned what to look for, and even what particular problems smell like.

In this post I will walk you through the various culprits of why your American Bully might smell so bad, and some help treatment and prevention tips. Let’s dig in.

Why Does My American Bully Smell So Bad?

As a general rule your American Bully will smell bad due to a health problem. These problems can range in severity, but most are preventable as well as treatable. Proper dental care, hygiene routines, diet, and vet visits will keep your American Bully from smelling so bad.

The following are the main causes of a smelly American Bully and some preventative measures, and suggested treatments. If you are very concerned, and your dog seems ill or acting out of the ordinary, contact your vet immediately and have your dog examined.

Dental Problems

One of the most common causes of a smelly American Bully would be their breath. Specifically a dental problem. Now dog breath doesn’t normally smell like a basket of roses, but sometimes it can be really bad, and this may signal problems.

Just like us humans, dogs can have a buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth causing things like gum disease. This can cause a nasty smell as your dog’s gums become inflamed, and erode their gums and teeth.

Dogs are even more susceptible to gum disease as they have a more alkaline mouth than humans, which promotes plaque formation. They also don’t brush regularly like us humans.

american bully chester chewing and biting benebone
Tip #1 - Make Dental care a part of your dog's routine. Brushing your dog's teeth at least weekly, and giving them good chew toys to remove build up.

There are some great dental care products available to keep your American Bully’s smile fresh and clean. Check out my Resources & Reviews page for some of my top recommendations.

Resources & ReviewsThe Best Dog Dental Care Products

Ear Infections

Ear infections can cause a nasty odor, and be the root of your American Bully’s problem. Whether your dog has cropped or natural ears, infections can happen and create a very distinct odor, as well as a great deal of discomfort.

Ear infections can be fairly simple to spot. If your dog’s ears are dirty, gunky, or oozing smelly discharge, you have yourself an ear infection. Even when the dirt and gunk is not obvious the rancid smell is always a tell tale sign.

The main causes of ear infections are usually trapped moisture, lack of regular cleaning, and occasionally allergies. American Bullies with nature ears that are more floppy will be a little more prone to ear infections.

Tip #2 - Check your dog’s ear regularly, and give them a cleaning with a good dog friendly wipe to remove excess dirt and gunk. 

It may sound weird, but familiarizing yourself with your dog’s healthy ear smell, can help you notice when things are taking a turn. When I am cuddled up on the couch with my dogs I will give them a sniff test regularly to make sure things are normal.

If your dog does have an ear infection, no amount of wipes are going to help. You need to take them to the vet to have it treated. A few weeks of ear drops is the typical treatment.

american bully puppy face

Canine Skin Problems

A common reason why your American Bully might stink is skin problems. Pyoderma is the clinical name for bacterial infections that occur on your dog’s skin. These infections can be caused by things ranging from dry flaky skin, dirty skin folds, hypothyroidism, ringworms, to small cuts and scrapes that become infected.

Tip #3 - Feed your American Bully a high quality dog food rich in animal proteins, essential fatty acids, probiotics and nutrients.

Things like dry flaky skin can be prevented through proper nutrition and grooming practices. American Bullies can have sensitive skin, so things like over bathing and poor diet can lead to dry irritated skin causing open sores from scratching. 

Lack of quality protein, Omega fatty acids, and probiotics can also lead to poor skin and coat conditions. Along with my dog’s food I supplement with a Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil to give them those extra fatty acids their skin needs.

Related ArticleHow Often Should You Bathe An American Bully? 9 Grooming Tips

Giving your American Bully a bath too often because he smells bad may actually be causing the problem. Not solving it. Bathing too often will strip the natural oils from their skin and cause skin problems.

Tip #4 - Don’t over bathe your American Bully and use gentle hypoallergenic, oatmeal based shampoos. Use gentle dog wipes to clean out skin folds and areas that are prone to moisture build up.

Clean your American Bully’s skin folds with a gentle hypoallergenic dog wipe. Dirt and moisture can build up in folds on some American Bullies, making it prime for bacterial growth and subsequent infections.

american bully white background

Skin problems can also be a result of reactions to fleas and mites. Make sure your American Bully is up to date with their treatments, and consult your vet if you notice bald spots or infected areas.

More serious issues like autoimmune of endocrine disease can also be causing their skin issues. Consult with your vet to rule out the possibility of these types of causes.

Resources & ReviewsThe 15 Best Dog Grooming & Bathing Products

Allergies And Atopy

Much like skin conditions allergies and atopy can create problems with your dogs skin as well as the GI tract. Things such as food intolerance and allergies can create some very itchy skin. Rashes and hives can appear and become open infected sores.

Food intolerance can also cause some serious gas problems. Things like soy and corn can be a cause, but certain proteins can also not agree with your dog’s digestive system.

Tip #5 - Rule out any possible food allergies. Consult with your vet about moving your dog to a hypoallergenic, or eliminate diet to find the sources of their allergic reaction.

Atopy is a reaction to environmental allergens such as dust and pollen. These allergens can build up on your dog’s coat and create an allergic reaction that is very itchy and uncomfortable.

Certain medications like Atopica and Cytopoint are often used to treat Atopy. My Staffy has used both as she suffers from grass and pollen allergies every year. 

To help mitigate some of her reaction I use a gentle dog wipe on her coat and skin every time we come from outside in the spring and summer. This helps remove the build up of allergens. A good brushing is also beneficial.

Tip #6 - Brush your dog and use gentle wipes during the spring and summer seasons to remove allergens from their coat.


american bully head tilt

We all fart. It’s natural, even for dogs. Sometimes however it can be too often, and far too smelly. When your American Bully is passing gas far too often or the smell is absolutely room clearing everytime, there is an underlying problem.

Several things can cause your American Bully to have really bad gas. The type of food they are eating, how fast they are eating, exercise, and general breathing problems are usually the main factors. Other underlying issues can be at play so consult with a vet.

If you have recently changed your American Bully’s food, or the quality of the food you are giving them is not top quality and contains fillers, soy, and corn, this could be causing the gas. Food intolerances as mentioned previously can also be a cause.

Tip #7 - When transitioning your dog to a new food, do so slowly. Introduce their new food gradually over the course of a few weeks and reduce their current food. Too fast of a transition can lead to gassy, upset stomachs.

When your American Bully eats too quickly this can also cause gas problems. If your dog is inhaling their bowl of food in a matter of seconds, they are also swallowing excess air. This fast eating can lead to a gassy Bully.

Tip #8 - Use a slow feeder or puzzle bowl to feed your fast eating dog to prevent gas. Outward Hound carries the best food bowls on the market

Lack of exercise can cause gas build up in your dog’s intestinal tract. Regular walks can help keep your dog’s system moving and prevent build up of these bacteria cause gasses.

Tip #9 - Exercise such as daily walks can help reduce a gassy dog’s farts.

Anal Glands

american bully laying down

Does your American Bully have a rather fishy smell? If so this is most likely caused by impacted anal glands. 

Dogs have these two glands as a way of scent marking. Ever wonder why dogs smell each other’s butts? Anal glands. These communicate a lot of information to other dogs about the health, age, gender, and general state of another dog.

When these glands are not expressed, often due to poor diet, they can have a build up and become impacted. This is painful for your dog and causes a real fishy smell. Consult with your vet if your dog is dragging their butt often and has that distinct fishy smell.

Just A Dirty Dog

The last and seemingly most obvious reason why your American Bully smells is they are just plain old dirty. Perhaps they rolled or stepped in something when you weren’t looking. When was the last time they had a bath?

American Bullies can have a bath about every 8-10 weeks. As mentioned before avoid bathing too often and use a gentle oatmeal based shampoo.

Dogs can get into all sorts of dirty and disgusting things when you have your back turned for a minute. Giving your American Bully a good wipe down with a dog wipe when they come inside, a regular weekly brushing, and a bath every couple months will help.

Tip #10 - Stick to a regular grooming and bathing routine to keep your American Bully looking, feeling, and smelling good. Set a reminder in your calendar for these routines if it helps.

How Do I Keep My American Bully From Smelling?

american bully sitting with owner

To keep your American Bully from smelling you first need to be proactive to prevent the smells from occurring. Proper dental care, regular grooming and bathing, checking for ear and skin infections, and maintaining a proper nutritious diet are all good first steps in prevention.

Always consult with your veterinarian if you are unsure about why your American Bully smells. There can be underlying health issues that need addressing before they become serious prolonged afflictions.

To summarize some of the best preventative tips you can follow to keep your American Bully from smelling bad.

  • Make Dental care a part of your dog’s routine.
  • Check and clean your dog’s ear regularly.
  • Feed your American Bully a high quality dog food
  • Don’t over bathe your American Bully and use gentle hypoallergenic, oatmeal based shampoos.
  • Rule out any possible food allergies. Consult with your vet.
  • Brush your dog and use gentle wipes during the spring and summer seasons.
  • When transitioning your dog to a new food, do so slowly
  • Use a slow feeder or puzzle bowl to feed your fast eating dog to prevent gas.
  • Exercise helps reduce a gassy dog’s farts.
  • Stick to a regular grooming and bathing routine

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