4 min read


Why Does My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Smell



4 min read


Why Does My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Smell




The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a lovely dog to have. It’s small and adorable, gets along with other people, and pets, and it is quite athletic for its size, so it’s not difficult to get them the right amount of exercise daily. Cavaliers also have furry coats that come in a variety of lovely colors. But whereas this is a good thing, their fur is a bit high maintenance. This, in addition to the fact that they like chasing after small animals means that they can get quite dirty and dusty. As such, if you don’t groom your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel regularly, you might soon have a very smelly cute little dog to deal with. This is just one of the reasons Cavaliers smell. Read on for more. 

The Root of the Behavior

There are various reasons that may explain why your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel smells. As with most dogs, the most common cause for bad odor is dirt. Your dog secretes oils that help to protect their skin. These oils trap dirt and over time develop into a greasy, smelly layer. Additionally, disease (including ear, skin and toe infections) is another common cause of bad smell in dogs. These infections are commonly associated with a corn-chip smell and are caused by an accumulation of yeast and moisture in the infected area. 

According to experts, dogs can suffer from bad breath, and there are two main causes for this condition. One which is the most common is that your dog is not receiving proper dental care. Small dogs like cavaliers are prone to tartar and plaque buildup, and failure to brush their teeth regularly could cause gum disease. Two, if your dog’s dental hygiene is good, but he still has persistent bad breath, he may have oral tumors, or even a problem with his gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system, or organs such as liver and kidneys. Other experts maintain that when dogs eat bad smelling food, they accumulate bacteria in the mouth. 

If your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has been very active in the yard lately, it is possible the remains of a dead bird your pup ate or part of a bone that was buried days ago is stuck in between their teeth. Regular dental hygiene allows you to perform a complete oral check on your dog and to pry out food items and other foreign matter that may be lodged in between their teeth. Lastly, these small dogs can be quite shy and timid and hence are prone to separation anxiety. According to the ASPCA, anxious dogs sometimes defecate and urinate in the house. Some dogs might even do so while sitting, causing a bad odor if their soiled coat is not cleaned off. 

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Encouraging the Behavior

Bad odor is never a good thing and if not dealt with, can lead to a load of health problems for your dog. As most odor is caused by microbes, eliminating it is also good to keep your house sanitary. One way to do this is by trimming your dog’s coat regularly, paying keen attention to the fur around the hind legs. You should also brush your dog's coat to dislodge all dirt and dust that has collected while chasing little animals in the yard or in the park. As it’s not advisable to wash your dog too often; just wipe down their fur with wet wipes in between baths. If your dog's fur is wet, perhaps due to playing in puddles, pat them dry with a towel before allowing them on furniture or in bed. 

Brushing your dog's coat before a bath is also a great way to ensure that the shampoo gets deeper into the fur and on the skin. Invest in a good quality dog shampoo. Most dog experts recommend using oatmeal shampoo as it is effective for oil control but still gentle enough on the dog’s skin. Massage the shampoo onto your dog’s coat, paying more attention to areas that accumulate dirt, like under the ears and under the legs. By the way, dogs love when their ears are rubbed so an ear massage during a bath is an added benefit as it boosts relaxation. Take your dog to the vet if you notice any itching, lesions, or persistent bad smell from their coat or toes. A visit to the vet will also help to rule out any serious causes of halitosis. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels shed a lot of fur. So as much as you want to keep your dog’s fur clean, it is vital to keep coat brushing to a minimum; at most twice a week. As well, invest in good quality brushing tools that will not tug at your dog's coat or hurt their skin. More so, brush with gentle strokes as doing so aggressively will only ruin your Cavalier’s silky coat.

If bad odor persists, check your dog’s bed and beddings to ensure they don’t have urine or feces in there somewhere. As mentioned, urination and defecation are some common symptoms of separation anxiety and it is not unlikely that your dog may do so in his sleeping space if they usually get skittish when you leave them alone. To keep Fido safe and smelling fresh, air and clean his beddings as needed. 


Dog odor is probably nothing to be alarmed about, at least until you have eliminated some of the common causes. To determine whether you need to be worried, ask yourself these questions: Do you bathe your dog as recommended by the vet? Are your dog’s beddings clean? How is your dog’s oral hygiene? Once you eliminate sanitation issues as a possibility, visit your vet for diagnosis or treatment, on the off-chance your pup is suffering from something serious. It’s worth noting that serious causes of bad odor can be eliminated altogether if you stick to a strict schedule at the vet’s.  

Written by a Golden Retriever lover Maryanne Gaitho

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 08/24/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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