Do Chow Chows Smell Bad? 4 Ways to Make a Chow Smell Great

Do Chow Chows Smell Bad? Photo of a Chow Chow dog smelling bad

Chow Chows are beautiful and loveable dogs. Despite this, some feel as though they have a smell that makes them not-so-great for the nose-sensitive amongst us.

Is this true or false? Take a look and decide for yourself.

As far as dogs, in general, are concerned, Chow Chows are nice-smelling dogs! They naturally have very low dog odor and are very good at keeping themselves clean.

However, you will need to take proper care of their paws, mouth, and coat to keep them from smelling bad due to environmental and health factors.

Do Chow Chows have a natural “dog” smell?

Many people assume that Chow Chows have an intense “dog” smell that you can catch whenever you walk into a home where one lives. However, the opposite is true!

As mentioned, Chow Chows naturally have a low dog odor, and they are also very clean animals. They like to groom themselves and keep themselves very “prim and proper,” which minimizes any smell that they would have even more. 

All dogs do have some sort of smell, of course, but it won’t even be enough to detect in your Chow Chow unless you specifically stick your face in their fur and inhale deeply to find it. That may freak your dog out, though, and possibly some humans…

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What can make a Chow Chow smell bad?

If you are smelling your Chow Chow’s “dog” smell, it will be due to something not being cared for properly. This has everything to do with human intervention rather than your Chow not taking care of itself!

Problem areas include:

  • Paws
  • Mouth
  • Ears
  • Fur/skin

It should be simple to figure out these commonly smelly areas, of course. Once you find the source of the smell, there are specific ways to deal with it!

Why do my Chow Chow’s paws smell bad?

If your Chow’s paws smell bad, it could be a few factors that are all dealt with simply (more on that a little later).

More than likely, they were out for a walk and picked up something smelly along the way. It could be general mud or dirt. It could also be animal feces, fungi, and more. Even if your dog is just out in the yard, it doesn’t necessarily take much!

Another option is that dogs sweat like us humans. They sweat quite a bit through their paw pads, and this means that sweat can build up on the pads or between their toes if it’s especially hot or they’re stressed (and sweating a lot). This is also more likely if they’re wearing booties since it prevents the sweat from evaporating.

Why does my Chow Chow’s mouth smell bad?

If your Chow Chow has bad breath, it could be any number of things. Most commonly, it could be something they ate. Perhaps he nibbled on something outside that was incredibly stinky, or they ate a mouse or other pest. It could also just be something in their diet that leaves an odor after they’ve had it.

Another common cause is that he has some sort of infection or a dental issue. Tooth decay and other dental hygiene problems are prevalent with dogs, so this is a very likely cause. It could be just the foul odor, or you could see signs of pus, blood, and other discharge (more on helping prevent it in a little bit).

Why do my Chow Chow’s ears smell bad?

Chow Chows have adorable ears but can have ear infections. Since dogs can’t clean their ears very effectively, it’s possible that mites or bacteria can get in and cause mild or severe infections in their ears. 

It is sometimes hard to distinguish between this and their fur or skin. Still, you can usually spot it by looking in the ear itself and checking for bacteria or pests that have strange color and seems out of place.

Why does my Chow Chow’s fur smell bad?

Does your entire Chow just seem to smell bad? If so, it’s most likely an issue with your Chow’s skin or fur.

Chow Chows can have problems with their skin, just like every other dog breed. It can get dried out or have an infection if neglected.

While dogs will naturally secrete sebum to help keep their skin hydrated, you will need to care for their skin above and beyond (more on that shortly).

Their fur can also capture bacteria, mud, grass, and more, especially if they’ve been out for a walk. If this isn’t removed, it can start to cause stinkiness in their fur.

The fur itself will also take on a natural musk if it’s not cared for properly. This gets worse in the hotter months or when your Chow is blowing their coat twice a year!

My Chow Chow is still stinky – what should I do?

If you think that none of these are the cause, or you still feel as though your Chow is stinky, it’s time to call in the pros!

You’ll want to take your Chow to the vet to rule out anything serious, such as a skin infection, tooth problem, and more.

Your vet will also be able to give you a professional opinion on whether your Chow is stinky. That sounds weird, perhaps, but it’s true!

A professional can also look at issues such as hormone levels, stress levels, and whether something in their diet could be causing problems. They will also know the common causes specific to Chows, which will help you get a more trained eye on the situation.

A strong enough smell for you to notice is always an indication of a problem, so a vet will be a great professional support to help you get to the bottom of it.

Top ways to help your Chow Chow smell great

Whether you’re looking at this preventatively, or you want to make sure that you never have a smelly Chow Chow again, here are some of the best ways that you can help keep your Chow smelling his absolute best.

He’ll love it as much as you will! Top ways include:

  • Clean paws after walks
  • Promote dental hygiene and fish-free (or reduced) food
  • Groom them every few days
  • Give them regular baths

Clean paws after walks

After a romp in the yard or a walk, get into the habit of cleaning your dog’s paws.

You can do this with a towel and warm water if you want, or you can look at several versions of dog paw cleaning cups. Pick the one that is going to feel best for you and that your dog will enjoy. 

Promote dental hygiene and fish-free (or reduced) food

To help curb his mouth stink, avoid foods with a high fishy smell and even fish byproducts. Your vet can help you find some great options that won’t give him a fishy aftertaste.

You’ll also find some comfort in those dental hygiene treats or even toys that encourage them to chew and work off the plaque and other build-ups.

Groom them every few days

With a soft grooming brush, groom your Chow every few days. This will help promote proper circulation and oil secretion, preventing skin problems and boosting hydration. It also will help keep their fur clean, properly cared-for, and free of debris or clumps of fur that will cause build-up and stink.

Give them regular baths

Just because you groom your dog doesn’t mean that you can skip the bath! At least once a month, you’ll want to bathe him with a vet-approved and sensitive shampoo thoroughly. This will help further cleanse and moisturize the skin and help keep the fur looking and feeling its best.

If you aren’t comfortable bathing your Chow, take him to a professional groomer instead!

Final Thoughts

Chow Chows have very little natural odor to them. However, they can be prone to dental issues, ear infections, and oil/sweat build-up both in their paws and over their body.

Proper grooming and vet appointments are essential to keep your Chow feeling its best and smelling as fresh as possible.

Chow Chows are good-smelling dogs and shouldn’t have too much of a natural odor to them.

If you notice a fragrance, it’s due to something you’ve overlooked or forgotten about!

Know someone with stinky Chow? Share this with them and help them “air out” the problem.

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