Why Does My American Bully Smell So Bad? Here’s Why

An American Bully’s smell can have you want to run for the hills because of the stink. American Bullies are not smelly dogs but some factors contribute to a stink here and there.

As an American Bully owner, it is important to know the reasons why this happens and how you can fix it.

In this article, we will show you what factors lead to an American Bully smell so bad and how to fix it. 

Why Does My American Bully Smell So Bad


American Bullies release gas occasionally which can be an overwhelming smell. This is normal and common, however, when it is too frequent it can also be an indication of an underlying health problem.

The presence of diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel syndrome among other health problems can cause flatulence.

Flatulence can also be caused by feeding your American Bully a low-quality diet which upsets their stomach causing excessive gas formation or food intolerance because of some ingredients in the dog food.

Other causes of flatulence include a sudden change of the diet, feeding your American Bully table scraps, and their pace of feeding, that is, fast eating and drinking.

When the specific reason causing your American Bully’s flatulence is identified, an appropriate solution can be put in place to manage the flatulence. 

Related: Why does my American Bully fart so much?

They are dirty

A dirty dog smells and stinks. Accumulation of dirt and natural skin oil on your American Bully’s coat results in the production of an odor.

Your schedule for cleaning your dog depends on your dog’s activity level and how quickly they get dirty and this may need to be adjusted often to keep them clean and control stink.

Ear infection

The ears of the American Bully provide a warm and moist environment that encourages the overgrowth of the natural bacteria and yeast found on their skin.

The overgrowth of these microorganisms leads to infection. Lack of frequent cleaning of the ears can result in this leading to an ear infection which shows up as a discharge with an odor.

Sometimes you may not know there is an infection until it progresses to the level of production of the discharge and odor.

Skin infection

Your American Bully has natural bacteria and yeast that can cause infection when the build-up.

Skin infections are also caused by allergic reactions, fungi, hormonal imbalance, and localized inflammations. These can trigger the overgrowth of yeast and bacteria of the skin which leads to infection and smell being part of the symptoms.

The symptoms of skin infection include the appearance of rashes, itchy skin, sneezing, and the production of a bad smell.

an American Bully scratching themselves due to skin irritation can also lead to secondary bacterial infections which increase the intensity of the odor.

Digestive problems

Digestive health problems such as gastrointestinal disease or gastroenteritis cause an American Bully to diarrhea which has a foul smell.

After an American Bully relieves themselves, some of the feces can remain on the fur at their rear end which means the smell remains on them. This contributes to a American Bullies stink. 

Related: American Bully with diarrhea: When it’s normal and when it’s serious

Bad breath

Nobody is a fan of bad breath. Bad breath is one of the reasons your dog can stink. Bad breath is caused by poor dental care.

The build-up of food particles on the teeth leads to plaque and tartar where bacteria breed and produce bad breath. This can also lead to gum disease in a dog.

Diseases that also cause bad breath include diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease.

Anal sac secretion

All dogs have sacs commonly referred to as anal glands that are located at their rectum and which secrete a fluid every time they excrete.

The secretion has a “fishy odor” which is usually not detected by smell, however, when a dog has a problem with the sacs either because of infection or the fluid accumulates and does not easily express, the smell can be detected.

In this situation, when a dog poops the secretion can stick on their anal hair making them stink. 

Wet dog odor

When your American Bully is wet after a bath or from swimming, you will smell a “doggie” odor.

This smell comes from the organic substances produced by bacteria and yeast that naturally live on your American Bully’s skin and hair.

On contact with water, these organic substances break free and as they evaporate into the air, they produce the odor.

When your dog is dry this does not happen and so the smell cannot be detected. This is the reason why your dog stinks especially when they are wet.

How do I stop my dog from smelling?

Provide a high-quality diet

A low-quality diet usually has filler ingredients that are not suitable for an American Bully’s health and results in stomach upsets and flatulence.

It is important to feed your dog a high-quality diet consisting of ingredients formulated for medium-large dog breeds.

This food is well-balanced with ingredients for healthy growth as well as excluding filler ingredients that may cause flatulence.

Also feed your American Bully the right dog food appropriate for their age, that is, dog food for a puppy or adult medium-large breed food.

Taste of the Wild dry dog food, and Wellness Complete Health dry puppy food are great options for American Bullies.

To avoid excessive flatulence, change your dog’s diet gradually to allow their stomach to slowly adjust to the new food.

Also, stop feeding them table scraps because their digestive system does not properly process human food which leads to stomach upsets and flatulence. 

Create a grooming schedule

Grooming for American Bullies is important to keep them clean as well as healthy by preventing infection or identifying abnormalities. The grooming for an American Bully includes:


Bath your American Bully every 6 to 8 weeks. Depending on how frequently they get dirty and need cleaning, adjust this schedule.

Have a good dog shampoo and brush for the cleaning process to ensure that they are properly cleaned.

 A good shampoo we recommend for the American Bully is the Buddy Wash dog shampoo which is gentle and effectively cleanses the skin and coat. The KONG brush is a good shampooing brush that removes dirt from the coat. 

Clean your American Bully’s ears during baths as well as between baths to prevent ear infections from occurring. Use the Virbac Epi-Otic ear cleanser.

If the stink is from an ear or skin infection, take your dog to the vet to have them examined and for treatment to be provided.

Brushing of the coat

In between baths brush your American Bully’s coat at least twice a week.

Brushing enables the removal of loose shed hair, dead skin and it massages your dog’s skin improving blood circulation to the skin as well as spreading their natural skin oil through their coat giving it a natural shine.

A good brush for grooming and de-shedding is the KONG brush which apart from being a shampooing brush, is a good grooming and deshedding brush.

The brush has soft rubber bristles that are gentle on brushing and not harsh to your dog’s skin. 

Dental routine

Regularly brush your dog with a dog toothpaste and brush to remove plaque in order to prevent bad breath as well as disease.

The best toothbrush and toothpaste is the Arm and Hammer dental set. This contains toothpaste and a brush that is long and curved to enable you to reach the back of the teeth for easier cleaning.

Also, provide your  dog a treat that helps to clean teeth as they chew by removing plaque and buildup. We recommend Virbac dental hygiene chews which come in different sizes. The large size is suitable for an American Bully.

Take them to the vet for medical checkups

Health checkups and examinations by the vet will help to determine the health status of your dog.

The vet will be able to establish whether the bad smell is from underlying diseases or infections and provide treatment.

If the bad smell is from the anal sacs, the vet will express them to remove the natural fluids which will minimize and stop the odor.

Glandex dog fiber supplement is an anal sac supplement that supports the health of your dog’s anal glands. We recommend it for an American Bully’s healthy anal sac function. 

Schedule weekly cleaning of their bedding

Dirt and dog odor clings on your dog’s bedding and everything they come in contact with, that is, their bed, toys, blankets, and throws.

Perform weekly cleaning of these covers and fabrics to get rid of the stink to have them smelling good. This will also prevent the transfer of odor to other fabrics or furniture in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my American Bully Smell like fish?

An American Bully can smell like fish because of the natural secretion from their anal sacs found on both sides of the rectum which has a foul nauseating fish-like odor. The fluid from the anal sac is released in small quantities when a dog defecates, is excited, or nervous.

Anal sac secretion helps with the lubrication of stool as a dog excretes as well as having pheromones that allow a dog to mark their territory.

When an American Bully has a problem associated with the glands and cannot empty or express them, the smell from the secretion is very detectable. When this happens, the sacs need to be examined by a vet who will determine the problem and also expresses the fluid.

Why does my American Bully stink even after a bath?

An American Bully stinks even after a bath because of the odor produced by the organic chemicals produced by bacteria and yeast that live on the dog’s hair.

This happens when the organic chemicals come in contact with water, break free from the dog’s hair and produce a foul smell as they evaporate in the air.

The odor from these organic chemicals gives off the “wet dog” smell. When a dog is dry, this does not happen therefore the recommendation is to completely dry your American Bully after a bath or when wet for the smell to disappear.


The causes of bad smell for an American Bully are several but once a specific reason is identified, the solutions can be implemented to help stop the stink.

Doggie smell cannot entirely be eliminated because of a dog’s natural scent but extreme odors can be controlled and managed by implementing simple routines as well as having your vet intervene to identify health problems and medical-related causes.

By following the tips provided, you’ll be able to control and stop the smell.