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Why Does My Dog Smell Like Maple Syrup? What You Need to Know

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Jacquelyn Kennedy
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Pet owners are always concerned about their dog’s health and well-being. Of course, right?

Dog who smells like maple syrup

Any abnormal behavior or strange health symptom in pets can bring paramount trouble for their owners if they remain untreated.

In the case of your dog’s breath and urine starting to smell like maple syrup, it’s a good example of something you don’t want to ignore.

Without causing too much alarm, I’ll say right now this symptom could be a result of a serious health issue. 

Maple syrup urine disease is a disorder generally found in four-legged animals.

It can be treated by taking precautionary measures and by consulting some expert veterinarians.

The good news is there may be other less harmful causes behind this. Either way, I want to put your mind at ease with some helpful tips to keep your dog in better health going forward.

Pet parents take great pains to ensure the good health of their furry friends. Here I will share some reliable caregiving ideas to address this issue.

Signs and Symptoms of MSUD (Maple Syrup Urine Disease):

MSUD is a metabolic disorder that prevents your body from breaking down amino acids and proteins.

It results in a sweet funky odor from your dog’s breath, coat, and urine. Its Initial symptoms are given below.

  • Poor appetite
  • Irritability
  • Weak sucking ability
  • Weight loss
  • Distinctive maple sugar in ear wax
  • Hypertonia
  • Irregular sleep patterns

If it is left untreated, it may lead to fatal diseases like:

  • Coma
  • Neurological damage
  • Physical disability

Why Dogs Give off an Odor From Their Body

Cuddling smelly dog

Generally, our pets always smell something. Pet owners remain worried about their domestic friend’s breath, coat, and urine smells like maple syrup.

There are many factors responsible for this sweet and funky maple smell. 

1. Unhealthy Lifestyle

Commonly, your dog rolls around the park and may invite some bacterial and fungal infections around its nose and ear.

Thus, unhygienic living condition often leads to this sickly maple syrup smell from the fur of your pet. 

Besides, urinary tract infections can also cause a stinky smell from your pet’s pee. On the contrary, some dogs smell sweet naturally.

So, it is not wise to relate it to serious illness. You must keep a check on your pet’s health to make him active and happy.

2. Imbalanced Diet

Secondly, eating patterns play an evident role in boosting your pet’s immunity.

Sometimes any plant in your neighborhood can cause a maple syrup smell in your doggy.

A poor diet can contribute to this condition as well. You should provide a diet according to your pet’s age and nutritious level to make him healthy and active.

3. Seasonal Allergies

A Seasonal or food allergy causes inflammation of the skin, which leads to excessive secretion of oil from certain glands in the epidermis.

It gives off a foul smell from your dog’s coat. Harsh weather proves detrimental for certain breeds of dogs, which can be tackled by keeping them indoors.

4. Dental Problems

The most common cause of bad breath among dogs is on account of dental issues. Small breeds are prone to gum diseases, building up of plaque, and inflammation of gums.

The overgrowth of bacteria leads to a foul smell. Bad canine breath can be a sign that your dog is suffering from tooth decay or some infection.

Diseases Caused by Maple Syrup Smell:

1. Canine Diabetes

If you notice your dog’s urine smells like unpleasant, funky syrup, it could be a sign of canine diabetes. It is a serious health problem that demands an immediate medical cure.

In this disorder, you can notice excessive sugar levels in your pet’s urine and blood samples.

Moreover, your dog might suffer from recurring urinary tract infections if left untreated. 

Dogs with diabetes may display symptoms including:

  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of agility 
  • Insomnia

2. Skin Diseases

If you notice some lethargic smell from the coat of your dog, then skin infections are inescapable. It can be caused by some worms, fleas, and tickles.

Moreover, it can lead to some serious infections around the ear and nose. The fur can become smelly, itchy, and sticky if remain for a longer period.

How Can You Take Care to Avoid Any Illness?

Dogs are considered the most reliable, loyal, and friendly creatures for humans to cherish across the globe.

Certainly, they demand care and love to strengthen their bond with their masters. We are going to share high-yield remedies to control ailments in your dogs.

1. Prevent Parasites

It is crucial to keep your dog away from a parasitic attack. Usually, Pets are in the habit of outdoor gaming and playing activities.

So, pests and fleas can cause intestinal infections in the long run. On the other hand, cleaning utensils and yards can prevent the transmission of parasites to other pets as well.

It will ensure good health by eliminating foul maple syrup smell in a constant way.

2. Brushing

Brushing dog's fur

Good brushing helps distribute natural oils and gets rid of dead fur. It also limits the shedding of skin and enhances the circulation of blood.

In addition to this, you should pat your dog’s fur with corn starch for a quick dry bath. Proper grooming helps to maintain nail, hair, and skin texture.

It decreases the growth of bacteria and ultimately saves your dog from several types of ailments. 

As a vet, I recommend a daily bath and brushing in order to save your dog from this funky smell.

Brushing helps eliminate dead tissues from the skin, which will limit the maple syrup smell naturally.

3. Regular Exercise

Dogs getting air on body outdoors

The most fundamental element to keep your pet healthy is to perform regular exercise. It enhances their stimulation and immunity level.

Any exercise based on an animal’s health and age can be done on periodic levels. 

Dogs love to play, which includes fetching balls, digging, and jumping.

So, you should follow specific exercises to boost their mental and physical health.

It will increase their blood circulation and reduce the maple syrup smell.

4. Balanced Diet

Like humans, animals need a balanced diet to fulfill their nutritious demands. In this context, you should consult any veterinarian expert to plan a feeding schedule for your dog.

They need proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and some fats to maintain good health. 

Avoid food containing sugar, artificial fillers, and preservatives. Moreover, you should provide food according to the age and activity level of your dog.

5. Hydration

Consumption of water is mandatory to maintain good health in dogs. It helps to dispose of foul chemicals from the body by excretion.

Provide your dog with fresh and clean water daily. It will help to lock up natural moisture in the skin, which will inhibit the foul smell.

Additionally, use a stainless-steel bowl for water instead of a plastic bowl. 

6. Vaccination

Dog vaccination for good health

Vaccination is essential to protect your dog from certain fatal diseases.

Sometimes, your furry friend needs a booster to gear up the activity level. There are two types of vaccines available for dogs. 

  • core vaccine 
  • non-core vaccine

A core vaccine is injected into every puppy on a periodic level since its birth, while non-core is recommended for certain diseases depending upon the age and lifestyle of the dog.

So, you must consult your veterinarian for a proper dose of the vaccine.

As a vet practitioner, I would suggest you stay up to date with these vaccines to ward off diseases that can lend to the unwanted maple syrup smell.

7. Regular Checkups

Dog getting check up at vet

As prevention is better than cure, it is necessary to visit any vet clinic to combat diseases.

Your vet will check your dog’s abdomen, heart rate, lungs, and ENT-related issues.

He will give you a feeding and exercise schedule for your puppy to increase immunity and overall health. 

So, you must visit the vet expert biannually to maintain the good health of your four-pawed friend.

Regular checkups and medications will definitely end up this maple syrup smell rapidly.

The Bottom Line:

As a vet, I’ll suggest you take good care of your furry friend and give company and love to them if you want to maintain their good health alongside medications.

We cannot deny the fact of the maple syrup-like smell from dogs, but we can eradicate this stinky condition by providing a hygienic and conducive environment for our pets. 

In sick circumstances, caring for your dog at home is insufficient. So, it is mandatory to consult your vet expert.

I hope my caregiving tips will prove beneficial for your dog. I invite your feedback in the comment section.


Blackburn, P. R., Gass, J. M., Vairo, F., Farnham, K. M., Atwal, H. K., Macklin, S., Klee, E. W., & Atwal, P. S. (2017). Maple syrup urine disease: mechanisms and management. The application of clinical genetics10, 57–66. 

O′Neill DG, Church DB, McGreevy PD, Thomson PC, Brodbelt DC (2014) Prevalence of Disorders Recorded in Dogs Attending Primary-Care Veterinary Practices in England. PLoS ONE 9(3): e90501. 

Niaz, K., Maqbool, F., Khan, F., Hassan, F. I., Momtaz, S., & Abdollahi, M. (2018). Comparative occurrence of diabetes in canine, feline, and few wild animals and their association with pancreatic diseases and ketoacidosis with therapeutic approach. Veterinary world11(4), 410–422. 

Rock, A. (2010). Controlling small animal parasites. Veterinary Nursing Journal25(8), 15-18. doi: 10.1111/j.2045-0648.2010.tb00114.x  

Epi Info 7 CDC (2012) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US): Introducing Epi

Willard MD, Tvedten H (2004) Small animal clinical diagnosis by laboratory methods. St. Louis, Miss.: Saunders.

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About the author

Jacquelyn Kennedy

PetDT was founded by Jacquelyn Kennedy, a dog lover and pet admirer. She built the website to provide pet owners with information, experiences, and opinions on breeds, temperament, personalities, health, nutrition, products, and care.