Why Does My Staffy Smell So Bad? 7 Reasons Staffies Stink

cute staffy looking up

As an owner of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier for 11 years I have come across my fair share of smells. Though Staffies are not known to be smelly dogs, or even smell more than other dogs, they can stink at times. In my journey I have found several reasons why my Staffy smells bad at times.

Why does my Staffy smell so bad? There are several reasons why a Staffy will stink. Typically skin problems, infections, dental problems, anal glands or general lack of grooming are to blame. These problems are usually easy to treat when caught early or prevented from occurring in the first place.

My Staffy has been smelly on more than one occasion for a variety of reasons. In my 11 years I have found ways to prevent such stinky problems from occurring. Prevention is the best way to keep your Staffy smelling good. It is however important to know where a stink comes from to treat minor to major issues.

In this post I will cover several of the reasons why you Staffy might be smelling so bad and ways you can manage, treat, and prevent them from happening. Let’s dig in.

Why Does Your Staffy Stink – 7 Reasons Staffies Smell Bad

The following is a list of some of the most common causes of bad smells in Staffies. Some have a very particular smell, others will be accompanied by additional symptoms. If you are ever unsure what exactly your Staffy’s problem may be, always consult with a veterinarian.

Staffy Skin Problems

staffy on leash

One of the most common problems a Staffy will have is skin problems. My Staffy has suffered with skin issues her whole life. It is something we constantly manage and monitor.

Canine Seborrhea is often a leading cause for a bad smelling Staffy. A musty, cheese-like odor will be coming from your dog. Seborrhea is a condition that causes either horribly dry and excessively oily skin.

Staffies with Seborrhea will have flaky dry skin as well as greasy buildup in their ears, armpits, belly, elbows and ankles. Seborrhea causes itchy, irritated, and dry skin leading to excessive scratching. This can result in secondary infections that can occur from skin drama due to scratching, producing even more of an odor.

Atopy is also a common type of skin condition in Staffies that can cause odors. My Staffy Ruby has had Atopy since she was a young puppy. Atopy is caused by environmental, food, and/or parasite allergies. It is a chronic skin disease that will cause inflammation, skin irritation, redness and sometimes greasy skin. Musty odors are often present in Staffies with Atopy.

Atopy can lead to secondary infections in your Staffy due to excessive scratching and skin irritation. These infections will smell from the bacteria present. Treating your Staffy’s atopy can be managed with regular medication. Prevention can be taken by identifying allergens and removing them wherever you can from your Staffy’s immediate environment.

ruby and chester in front of mural

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Ear Infections

Ear infections are a common reason why a Staffy will smell bad. Especially if you have a Staffy with skin issues. Ear infections occur frequently in dogs with chronic skin problems, much like my Staffy. 

Yeast infections, bacterial infections, or a combination of both infections will cause a very distinct and strong smell. Staffies with yeast infections will have a very pungent musty or sweet smell. Bacterial infections will have an even stronger odor in most cases.

Both types of infections will also produce discharge from your dog’s ear. Redness, soreness, and general discomfort are common symptoms that your Staffy has an ear infection. Consult with your vet when you notice these smells and symptoms. Getting these ear problems addressed immediately will prevent potential ear damage and more serious issues.

Clean your Staffy’s ears only when they appear dirty. Too frequent cleaning can cause irritation and further problems. I highly recommend Virbac Epi-Otic to remove small amounts of wax build up. This is my go-to ear cleaning solution for my Staffy and American Bully. Virbac Epi-Otic is a terrific and affordable product to use.

vibrac epi otic ear cleaner

Dental Problems

Most dogs’ breath doesn’t smell like roses. In fact I’d bet none of them do. There are times however when your Staffy’s horrible dog breath is a potential dental issue.

The most common cause of bad breath in a Staffy is gum disease. Known as periodontal disease which is a buildup of plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth. These build ups lead to bacteria growth and eventually damage to the gums and teeth. Along with terrible breath as caused by the damaging effects of these bacteria.

A routine of regular brushings, as well as providing your Staffy with some good chews and toys will help keep plaque and tartar build up from accumulating. I brush my Staffy’s teeth at least once a week to keep her dental health and breath at it’s best.

Resources & ReviewsThe Best Dog Dental Care Products

Other Causes Of Bad Breath

There are other potential causes of bad breath. These can include diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease.

Diabetes will often lead to a sweet or fruity smell. It can also include other symptoms such as increased urination and thirst.

Kidney disease will be identified as a strong urine smell coming from your dog’s breath. When this is the case immediate diagnosis is needed from your vet for treatment.

A generally terrible smell from your dog’s breath can be a sign of liver disease. Extremely bad breath accompanied by loss of appetite, yellowish coloring in the gums, and excessive and frequent vomiting are symptoms of liver disease. Contact your veterinarian immediately to help diagnose and treat your Staffy.

Staffy Farts – Gas Problems

Every dog farts, it’s a natural thing just like us humans. When your Staffy is farting a lot, and the smell is particularly bad, this may be a problem. Generally, frequent gas or very smelly gas is related to diet. Food sensitivities, allergies, sudden changes to diet, and eating meals too quickly can all lead to bad gas.

Slow feeders, snuffle mats and food puzzles are excellent ways to slow down a fast eater. There are some great products such as the Outward Hound Slow Feeders, and the Awoof Snuffle Mats that will slow your Staffy’s eating.

I have written an entire article on this topic that you will find helpful. My Staffy had terrible gas when she was a puppy. It wasn’t until we identified the foods she had troubles with and managed her diet and meal times that we saw her gas subside.

Related ArticleWhy Does My Staffy Fart So Much? – Top Tips For Toots

Anal Glands Issues

beautiful staffy profile

Are you noticing a strong fishy smell coming from your Staffy? If so you are most likely having issues with impacted anal sacs. Dogs have a set of glands on either side of their anus used as identification signals and for marking. Wonder why your Staffy will sniff another dog’s butt? Anal sacs are the reason. The anal sacs give off a lot of information about the dog to other dogs.

Staffies will drag or scoot their butts along the ground when they have an impacted anal sac. The condition is very uncomfortable for your Staffy. Immediate treatment is necessary before the minor issue becomes a major one. Treatment can be as simple as draining them yourself. Not the most fun activity, but part of being a dog owner. Additional fibre added to your Staffy’s diet can also help prevent future impacts.

Check with your vet if you dog suffers frequently from impact anal sacs. Or when the blockage is not subsiding after draining. Left untreated these anal gland issuse can lead to an infection and other health problems.


A UTI or Urinary tract infection happens when bacteria enters the urethra of your Staffy and enters it into the bladder. These infections will cause serious discomfort for your Staffy. Yelping, crying, shaking, and general displays of discomfort during urination are all signs of a UTI.  A strong odor of urine and potentially blood will be present in this type of infection.

Consult with your veterinarian when you suspect your Staffy has a UTI. Discomfort peeing or blood in their urine needs to be treated immediately by your vet. UTIs are often easy to treat with antibiotics from your doctor.

Some recent studies have shown that cranberry supplementation can be effective in prevention of Urinary Tract Infections. Supplements and chews such as the Zesty Paws Cranberry Soft Chews Urinary Supplement can help prevent your American Bulldog from suffering UTI in the future.

Lack Of Regular Grooming

staffy ears down

Not all bad smells from your Staffy are the reason why they smell so bad. Your dog is just straight up dirty sometimes. A proper grooming routine is needed with your Staffy. Otherwise they can leave your home smelling like a stinky dog.

Weekly brushings of your Staffy’s coat will remove excess dirt, allergens, and smelly debris that will build up and create a stink. Regular brushings are great for removing dirt, but they also keep your Staffy’s skin healthy. Brushing helps distribute the natural oils of your dog’s skin and coat helping to keep their skin moisturized and healthy.

Bathing your Staffy should occur every 6-8 weeks. Unless they get themselves really dirty of course. Frequently bathing your Staffy can cause dryness, irritation, and itchy skin. As a result this can lead to other skin issues. 

I always use a gentle, hypoallergenic oatmeal based shampoo on my Staffy. This helps keep her skin and coat moisturized, shiny and healthy. Between baths I recommend a good, hypoallergenic dog wipe such as the Earth Rated Dog Wipes. We use these around the house between baths all the time. They are a simple and fast way to keep your Staffy smelling good and staying clean.

earth rated dog wipes

Resources & ReviewsThe 15 Best Dog Grooming & Bathing Products

Final Thoughts

staffy with ball smiling Ruby

Keeping your Staffy from smelling bad is a simple matter of routines and knowing the root cause. When you are able to identify particular smells, symptoms, and behaviors you can easily treat the cause of your Staffy’s stink.

There will be times when your Staffy smells bad and you will need to consult with your vet. Prevention however is the best medicine for your Staffy. Regular teeth cleaning, ear inspections, monitoring of their skin and coat, along with a suitable diet can help you prevent and catch potential stinky problems early.

It took me a few years of living with my Staffy to discover all the various smells and stinks that can occur. Once I was able to understand the smelly problems I was better equipped to manage, prevent and treat them all, which is what I hope this article can do for you.


King Komb DeShedding ToolOne of the best dog brushes on the market. I use the King Komb each and every week with my Pibbles. Easy to use and even easier to clean.

Wahl Dry Skin Oatmeal Shampoo – Smells great, cleans great, and best of all keeps my dog’s skin and coat looking and feeling amazing. Wahl Dry Skin Oatmeal Shampoo keeps my Pibbles skin moisturized like no other.

Earth Rated Dog Wipes – Dog wipes are an essential to keep on hand, and nothing beats Earth Rated. Hypoallergenic, biodegradable, and durable. I keep these dog wipes in the house and the car for everyday use.

Kong Extreme – Kongs are one of my most used tools to give my dogs some mental stimulation and something tough to chew. Kong Extremes are as tough as they come and will give your Pibble the entertainment they crave.

Outward Hound Food Puzzle – Outward Hound food puzzles are the best in the industry. Available from beginner to advanced. These are an excellent way to challenge and mentally stimulate your dog.

BeneBone Dog Chew – The toughest dog chew around. My dogs absolutely love the bacon flavor and peanut butter flavor BeneBone. These will keep your toughest chewers busy for weeks, if not months and years.

BarkBox Super Chewer – Variety is the spice of life, and BarkBox Super Chewer is the perfect way to keep your dog engaged. New treats, toys, and chews each and every month that your super chewer will love.

iCrate Dog Crate – The iCrate is my absolute top recommendation for dog crates. I use this for both my dogs and love the sturdy, easy to store, and versatile adjustable panel. You need the iCrate in your life.

HiKiss Long Training Lead – Recall training and puppy training outdoors requires a long training lead. My favorite to use is the HiKiss long training lead. Available in a range of lengths to suit your long lead training needs.

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