Do Pugs Smell? How To Make Your Pug Smell Better

Written by: Milica Brzakovic
Pugs have a lot of great qualities, but nice smell isn't one of their main characteristics. How can you improve this and make your pug smell better?

Pugs are great companion dogs – loving, playful and so cute.

And while they have all these qualities, and many more, they’re not exactly known for their nice smell. On the contrary.

So what to do with your smelly pug?

Most pug owners complain about their dog’s smell at some point. And while you can’t expects dogs not to smell at all, there are still things you can do in order to fix this problem. First of all, let’s see why pugs tend to smell bad and see what can be done to prevent it.

Why Does My Pug Have A Bad Smell?

There is usually a reason behind bad smell in pugs. Let’s take a look at the most common causes and sources behind the unpleasant odor!


Skin folds are the most common source of bad smell in pugs. As you can see, pugs have wrinkly skin around their neck and in the facial area. While these wrinkles may be adorable, they’re not really that practical.

The folds are really good at gathering food, dirt or other debris. Whatever it is that gets stuck there could be the source of bad smell. But that’s not everything.

Considering the fact that wrinkles are a warm and dark environment, they make a great home for bacteria, most commonly yeast. If it’s yeast your pug is dealing with, he/she will probably paw at the face or rub it against something because of the itching.


Another source of bad smell, more precisely bad breath, can be the mouth. The bad breath could be caused by tooth decay, infection or something stuck between the teeth.

It could also indicate something more serious, as some conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease, lead to bad breath.


The ears could also be in charge of the bad smell, especially if your pug is dealing with an ear infection. You may also notice that your dog is scratching and rubbing the ears and head if something is bothering him/her.

Anal Glands

Some pugs smell really bad after pushing out a stool. Naturally, it’s never a pleasant smell, but we’re not talking about that “normal” smell. Namely, some pugs have anal glands that secrete more scent oil than normal and that’s the source of the really bad smell. The problem is even bigger if feces get stuck in the hairs around the area, making the smell last much longer.

Entire Body

Sometimes there’s no particular body part to blame, but the smell is coming from the entire body.

This is especially common after you’ve taken your pug outside, for example when it’s raining or it’s humid. This happens when body oils accumulate and your pug hasn’t had a bath for some time. However, this is usually fixed by a bath.

Smell During Heat

When female pugs are in heat they could smell worse than usual, due to the mixture of blood, endometrial tissue, and watery body fluids.

If that’s the case with your pug, you can give baths during this time and change diapers more frequently in order to reduce the smell.

How Do I Make My Pug Smell Better?

Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your pug’s smell! First of all, you have to try to locate the smell and establish what’s causing it.

Your vet can help as well. When you do, check out these tips that will make your pug a more pleasant companion dog to spend time with!

  • Clean the wrinkles. Inspect your pug’s skin folds and look for any debris. If you notice anything, use a canine facial wipe and wipe out each fold carefully. This shouldn’t only be a treatment, but prevention as well. Learn how to clean them by watching the video below.
  • Use antiseptic canine wipes. If you notice that the smell in the skin folds is getting worse as you get closer and if you notice crusts or swollen skin, it’s most probably yeast infection you’re dealing with. Use antiseptic wipes for yeast and bacterial infections two to three times a day. Take your dog to the vet for further examination and diagnosis if the smell doesn’t become milder after three days.
  • Check your pug’s oral health. It’s very important that you do this if it’s the mouth that’s causing the bad breath, as these problems won’t go away by themselves. If it’s “only” bad breath and not a medical problem behind it, you could try giving your dog dental chews or natural breath fresheners, such as celery.
  • Clean the ears. This is especially effective as a prevention method if you don’t want the wax to build up and cause problems. To learn how to clean your dog’s ears, read this article.
  • Give regular baths. It’s recommended that you give your pug a bath every three weeks. Use quality products that don’t dry out the skin. It’s also important to brush the body after the bath or in between the baths sometimes. By doing that, you’re removing dead hairs covered in body oils and reducing the smell a bit.
  • Check the anal glands. This needs to be done by a veterinarian who will come up with a solution once he/she has established what the problem is.
  • Use a leave-in spray. These products can help your pug smell better and they also protect the hair. However, don’t overuse them – it’s enough to apply them lightly every other day.

Good to know: Pugs are prone to eye problems, so make sure that you check eyes on a daily level for any sign of eye discharge.

What If Nothing Helps?

Does your pug smell bad even after you’ve given him/her a bath? It could be that you didn’t scrub deep enough, as it can be quite tricky to properly wash every skin fold at your pug’s body. Try using a canine bath scrub brush, as it facilitates things a lot. As a plus, it’s also great for blood circulation. It’s also possible that the smell doesn’t go away if you’re using bad products. Be sure to choose quality products.

However, if your pug still smells bad, it could be due to a skin infection, as infections don’t go away with baths or other tricks. An infection is not easy to spot sometimes, as pugs have really thick coats. So, if you can’t seem to figure out what’s behind the smell, take your pug to the vet and see if your pug has a skin infection.

For more tips, check out these home remedies in the video below!