Why do Basset Hounds smell

do Basset hounds smell

Do Basset Hounds smell more than other dogs

Basset Hounds do tend to smell more than most dog breeds. There are many reasons Basset Hounds can be a bit stinky.

Firstly they have loose skin. This can trap moisture and cause an odor in the folds of the skin and makes them prone to bacterial and yeast infections on the skin. The Basset Hound also has a naturally oily coat. This was useful for hunting as when it rained the water just slide straight off.

Basset Hounds are also known for their iconic big ears. These tend to go into their food and water. Their ears also don’t allow good airflow resulting in a warm moist environment for bacteria to grow. This makes them prone to ear infections.

Basset Hounds are also known for their big jowls which cause them to drool. Just like the oily skin, large jowls had a useful function for hunting. When they are sniffing and following a scent trail their jowls sweep the ground. This lifts the odor up on to the roof of their mouths and back of the nose. It enables them to taste the odor. For more on why dogs have jowls see here.

In addition to these Basset Hound specific odor sources, there are many other causes of odor that all dogs are prone to. Apart from body odor, the smell can also be from a localized source such as from the ears, mouth, or anal glad.

Reasons your Basset Hound may smell

If your Basset Hound smells you need to ascertain the location of the smell. The offending smell may be coming from the whole body or it may be localized to a certain source such as the mouth or ears.  It is just a case of getting close to your dog and sniffing different areas such as the feet, face, and ears. This list will assist you in deciding what to do to eliminate the smell.

Underlying medical issue

If your Basset Hound has other symptoms indicating they may be sick the smell may be due to a medical issue. It is important to consult your vet if you have any concerns.

Yeast Infection

A yeast infection on the skin has a distinction yeasty smell similar to moldy bread. This type of infection can affect the dog’s skin, feet, or inside the ears.

External Allergies

External allergies on your dog’s skin may be due to environmental triggers such as certain plants and grasses or dust, diet-related. For more on dealing with common skin problems see here.

Common causes of skin allergies in Basset Hounds are:


Fleas biting a dog will cause itching. Some dogs ate extremely sensitive to fleas and just a few fleas can cause real discomfort. Other dogs can be absolutely covered in fleas and not be that bothered. Fleas on a dog who is allergic to the saliva of a flea will cause terrible itching and can lead to serious symptoms. Your Basset Hound may smell of dry blood if they have a flea problem.


A Basset Hound may have a reaction to a chemical you are using. This can be the cleaning solution on your carpeting, the detergent used to clean your bed sheets or their dog bed, the shampoo that is used to groom them. It can be any powder or fluid that they come into contact with.

Plant and Grass allergies

Many dogs are allergic to certain types of plants and grass varieties. Wandering Dew is a very common variety of grass that a lot of dogs have issues with. Generally, the most obvious signs of this kind of issue are your dog will lick excessively at the bottom of their paws. The fur under the pads will be red as the result of saliva staining.

Food and Diet-related

Some dogs can get itchy and inflamed skin as a result of certain ingredients in dog food. Red meat allergies can be quite common while other dogs may be allergic to chicken. Often it is not the ingredients in the food causing the allergy, but the additives such as preservatives and in particular food coloring. Grains in a lot of dog food have been found to cause allergies also. Grain-free dog food has become popular for this reason.

When trying to fix a diet or food allergy, it is a case of elimination. If you recently changed your dog’s brand of dog food, it may pay to switch back to the food you were using. When changing your dog’s diet, don’t do a complete change straight away. Feed 10% of the new food for the first day or two and slowly increase over a week until they are eating 100% of the new food.

Anal Glands

The anal glands are two glands located around the dog’s anus. When a dog defecates it leaves a smell unique to them as a type of territory marker. Sometimes these glands need to be express to release excessive fluid. You will know when this is as they will have a strong fishy smell and often dogs will drag their bottoms across the floor. To have your Basset Hounds anal glands express to go to your vet or a dog groomer.


Dogs fart too. This is normal. However, if your dog’s flatulence is so bad that it clears a room something is wrong. It can be caused by a poor diet, intestinal parasites or an upset stomach. If your dog’s flatulence is consistently bad, consult your vet.


If a smell is coming from the ears it may be due to a yeast infection, ear mites or bacterial infection. It may simply be a build-up of excessive wax. If there is discharge coming from the ear, or they are scratching the ears or tilting their heads consult your vet. Ear infections can get bad really fast and can be extremely serious if they get into the inner ear.

Basset Hounds, due to their large droopy ears are prone to ear infections. it is important to clean their ears on a regular basis.


Bad breath or halitosis can be one of the most common reasons for a smelly dog. If their breath is extremely unpleasant there may be a serious problem such as rotten teeth or a GI issue.

Providing your Basset Hound with chew toys and other chews will help to keep their teeth in good condition. There are also many other benefits that dogs get from chewing. To learn more about the benefits of chewing for dogs see here.

Unhealthy diet

If your Basset Hounds diet is not biologically appropriate a generalized funk can occur. This can be the result of skin issues or internal gut issues.

Coat is dirty

Some dogs just like to get dirty. This can be playing in the mud or even rolling around in other dog’s poo or dead animals. Due to a Basset Hounds oily coat, dirt tends to stick to them.

Basset Hound odor remedy and solutions

Once you have figured out what is causing the smell, whether it be coming from all over or is localized to a certain area, you are halfway to finding a solution. Here are suggestions to deal with and reduce Basset Hound smell.

Bath with a Deodorizing shampoo

If normal dog shampoos just don’t seem to work with your Basset Hound you may need to use a shampoo specially formulated to deodorize. My top pick is Fresh Wave Odor Removing Dog Shampoo.

This shampoo is capable of getting rid of particularly strong odors. It’s a powerful product that uses natural ingredients. It uses no harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances that only mask the odor. It fixes the problem at its source and leaves a pleasant smell behind.

Bath with an antifungal and antibacterial shampoo

If your Basset Hounds smell is due to a fungal or bacterial infection on the skin try to wash them with an appropriate shampoo. My top pick is Nootie Medicated Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

This shampoo is very concentrated and when you apply it forms a really thick and rich lather. It also works really well in treating yeast infections and cooling and soothing your dog’s skin It will also always leave your Basset Hound smelling really clean and fresh and leaves their coat beautiful and shiny.

Use a spray-on deodorant

These are best used after a bath to make that just bathed smell longer. They can be used between baths but if your Basset Hound is really smelly it will be less effective. My top pick is the Wahl Deodorizing & Refreshing Deodorant.

Clean your Basset Hounds face and jowls

If the smell is coming from your Basset Hounds face and jowl area the simplest way to clean the here is to use a facial foam. It can also be used to clean the outside of the ears that may have been put in their food and water. The Biogroom face foam requires no rinsing and helps to remove staining around the lips and eyes.

View Biogroom Facial Foam on Amazon

Brush your Basset Hound regularly

Brushing your dog will help to remove dirt and debris and help them to smell better between bathing. Basset Hounds only have a short coat but they do shed. Often, excessive undercoat can trap odor. For a guide on how to brush a dog see here.

These are the two best brushes for a Basset Hound to remove dead undercoat and for deshedding.

The Zoom Groom

The Zoom Groom removes loose hair like a magnet, and it stimulates capillaries and natural oil production for healthy skin and a healthy coat. It is like giving your dog a massage at the same time.

It can be also used in the bath on a wet coat. There are imitations of The Zoom Groom available but I have found that they don’t work as well as the Zoom Groom is made of a special type of rubber that attracts the loose fur well.

Shedding Blade

shedding blade

The shedding blade is my personal favorite de-shedding tool. It can be held in one-handed or the handle splits in two so you can use two-handed. Also great for dragging excess water off your dog after the bath.

It is important to note that with the steel de-shedding tools like this and the Furminator it is best not to do too much in one session as they can be scratchy and may cause brush burn and aggravate the skin. This is not a problem with the Zoom Groom.

Brush your Basset Hounds teeth

The main cause of bad breath in dogs is poor dental hygiene. Keeping your dog’s teeth clean will help to prevent plaque building up and tartar forming. For a guide to how to brush your dog’s teeth see here.

Other ways to clean your Basset Hounds teeth are to give them dental treats such as  Greenies. I recommend the Greenies Dog Dental Chews Dog Treats. I have found these are very effective at cleaning the teeth and help to freshen the breath at the same time. Alternatively, give your Basset Hound dental chew toys which will not only help with dental hygiene but keep them occupies too.

There are many dog toys that are designed to clean your dog’s teeth and offer mechanical plaque removal. But make sure you do not use toys which are coarse as they tend to wear down the teeth or hard toys which might lead to breakage of teeth (if your dog is an aggressive chewer). Supervise your dog when they are chewing a toy.

A further option for fresh breath is to use a dental spray for dogs.

Wash your dog’s bedding

Regularly wash your Basset Hounds bedding and any blankets. You would be surprised just how smelly these items get.  If your bath your dog and they go and lie on their dirty bedding they will smell again in no time.

It is also a good idea to disinfect your Basset Hounds kennel. Wooden kennels tend to trap odor in the wood. Plastic kennels are easier to clean.

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Best type of toys for Basset Hounds

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