Dog Poop Smells Like Bleach (Top 5 Reasons Why)

Dog poop is neither a glamorous nor a fun topic to talk about. However, being a dog parent means dealing with both the bad and good parts of parenthood. Or in this case, it means dealing with the different poop smells.  

Dog poop smells like bleach – what does it mean? If your dog’s poop smells like bleach, chances are you are confusing the smell with ammonia – as these can be very similar. Ammonia-smelling poop is indicative of gastrointestinal issues. However, if the whole dog smells like bleach, you might be dealing with bleach poisoning. In both cases, seeing a vet is critical.  

In this article, we will talk about dog poop and its different smells. We will discuss the bleach scent, ammonia scents, and some other unusual poop scents. We will also explain why they occur, when to visit the vet, and how to get rid of them.  

The Characteristics Of A Good Dog Poop 

Before we start discussing the different and abnormal poop smells, we need to explain the characteristics of a good poop or, better said.  

Characteristic number 1: Consistency  

A poop with adequate consistency should be log-shaped and, when picked from the ground, should not leave any marks. If the poop is in crumbles, it is too solid and may progress to causing constipation. An excess firm stool can be caused by poor water intake and diets lacking dietary fiber. On the other hand, if too loose, it is defined as diarrhea and can be triggered by an array of issues, from infections and worms to indiscretions and allergies.  

Characteristic number 2: Color 

The poop color depends mostly on the diet. Although the exact color is distinct for each dog based on its eating habits, red-brown, dark-brown, or even greenish-brown shades are acceptable and considered normal. On the other hand, extremely dark or black poop indicated blood presence and bleeding within the digestive tract. Pale or yellow and extra greasy poop occurs in dogs with pancreas problems and the inability to digest fat. Simply put, any dramatic change in the poop color is a reason to call the vet.  

Characteristic number 3: Volume  

The volume of poop is another quality indicator. Obviously, a dog that eats more will poop more than a dog that poops less. However, huge poop volumes are indicative of digestive issues and diets loaded with dietary fibers, while small poop amounts indicate Gi issues and blockages. Any sudden and unusual change in the dog’s poop volume is a reason to call your trusted veterinarian and schedule an appointment.  

Characteristic number 4: Frequency  

The average dog pooping frequency is twice per day. However, this is not a rule as the pooping frequency depends mostly on the feeding and walking schedule. Puppies tend to poop more than twice per day because they eat a lot and often and have relatively small stomachs. In contrast, senior dogs often poop less frequently because they have slower metabolisms. If your dog suddenly starts pooping more or less frequently than usual, call the vet and seek help.  

Characteristic number 5: Odor  

The normal dog poop has an unpleasant but mild odor. A particularly stinky poop indicates something wrong is going on within the dog’s digestive system, and there is an imbalance of the gut microflora. These gut microflora changes can have many consequences ranging from troubled digestion to impaired immune system responses. All in all, a dog’s poop should smell bad, but the smell really shouldn’t be THAT unbearable.  

What Does Strong-Smelling Dog Poop Mean? 

It is normal for dog poop to smell bad and repulsive. However, if the poop smells particularly strong, it is probably because of the diet. Many commercial dog foods include ingredients dogs cannot fully digest and utilize. These ingredients ferment or degrade and release chemicals with strong odors. 

For example, commercial dog foods contain grains like corn, wheat, and soy. Dogs cannot break down these ingredients and are often allergic to them. Even grain-free formulas contain ingredients that are not fully compatible with the dog’s digestive system, like peas and potatoes.  

In simple words, a strong-smelling poop in dogs means there is something within the diet they cannot digest and is throwing their digestive systems out of balance.  

Reasons A Dogs Poop May Become Stinky 

Many factors affect the dog’s poop quality. Therefore, there are many reasons a dog poop might become unusually stinky and repulsive. Here are some common reasons why your dog makes poop that is stinker than what you are used to.  

Reason number 1: Dietary indiscretions 

Dietary indiscretion is the fancy term that describes the dog’s weird and often disgusting appetite. For example, if your dog decides to raid the trash can and snack on some leftovers or eat chicken poop from the backyard, the incident is described as a dietary indiscretion. Obviously, if the dog eats something other than its regular food, its poop will become differently scented.  

Reason number 2: Sudden diet changes  

Contrary to popular belief, dogs have sensitive digestive systems, and sudden diet changes often lead to diarrhea. When the poop consistency changes from normal to loose, changes in the odor will follow. To avoid these issues, it is strongly recommended to practice more gradual diet changes.  

Reason number 3: Stress 

Another reason causing diarrhea and stinky poop is stress. Dogs are very prone to different stressors and often respond to them with diarrhea. To prevent stress-related diarrhea, it is advisable to use probiotics. For example, if there is a potentially stressful event in the near future, like a vet visit or car ride, you can start supplementing your dog with probiotics a week in advance.  

Reason number 4: GI infections and inflammations  

Viral and bacterial infections are common causes of infections within the dog’s digestive system. Although more common in young and immune-compromised dogs, they can occur in all dogs. These infections lead to decreased poop quality and strong smells. Inflammations are similar. The most common inflammatory condition of the dog’s GI tract is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  

Reason number 5: Parasitic infestations 

Intestinal parasites or worms are common inhabitants of the dog’s intestinal tract. The most frequent worms can be classified into three large groups – roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. These worms irritate the lining of the intestines resulting in upsets, diarrhea, and overall changes in poop quality. Keeping your pup up-to-date on dewormers is critical for preventing worm infestations.  

Why Does My Dog Smell Like Bleach? 

Bleach poisoning in dogs is more common than you might think. A dog with bleach poisoning is likely to smell like bleach and produce bleach-smelling poop. In general, bleach has a repulsive smell, but some dogs seem to be unusually attracted to it. Even inhaling bleach fumes can be toxic, but ingestions tend to have more severe consequences.  

A dog with bleach poisoning will show the following signs and symptoms: 

· Diarrhea 

· Vomiting 

· Nausea 

· Agitation  

· Salivation  

· Tremors 

· Weakened limbs 

· Coughing 

· Sore throat 

· Seizures 

· Ulcers in the mouth.  

Bleach poisoning is a medical emergency, and dogs require urgent veterinary attention. To stabilize the patient, the vet will perform gastric lavage – pump the content of the stomach with a special tool and then administer activated charcoal to absorb the remaining toxins.  

In addition to this, the vet will support the dog with intravenous fluids and symptomatic therapy that manages the symptoms and side effects of bleach. Based on the severity of the poisoning and its progression, the vet may use milk to dilute the bleach and decrease the intensity of its effects.  

Keep in mind that bleach can be found in many household products, including toilet cleaners, paint thinners, gasoline, laundry detergents, paint removers, floor polishers, caustic soda, dishwashing liquids, and oven cleaners. Keeping these products out of your dog’s reach is critical for preventing bleach poisoning.  

Why Does My Dogs Poop Smell Like Ammonia? 

If your dog’s poop starts smelling like ammonia, it means it is experiencing some form of gastrointestinal upset. When the balance in the digestive system is compromised, so are the healthy gut bacteria. These changes lead to altered digestion processes and the formation of gasses and chemicals with ammonia-like scents.  

If your dog accidentally poops inside the house or in the garden, just removing the poop is not enough as the ammonia smell is likely to persist. To get rid of the ammonia scent, you can use these household ingredients and cleaning methods: 

· Vinegar – vinegar is excellent for removing foul odors as well as urine and poop stains. All you need to do is spray a mist over the pooped place and use paper towels to blot the place. Depending on the intensity of the smell, it may be necessary to repeat the procedure several times.  

· Baking soda – the wet poop stain can also be sprinkled with baking soda. Ideally, you should leave the soda to soak overnight and then use the vacuum cleaner to remove the remnants. Baking soda has the ability to remove unpleasant odors.  

· Enzymatic cleaners – enzymatic cleaners are a must-have during the potty-training period as they can successfully eliminate foul urine odors. However, they are also efficient in fighting off ammonia poo smells. Enzymatic cleaners are available commercially and are intended for use on different surfaces.  

· Wet vacuum cleaning – wet vacuum cleaners are ideal for cleaning spots with persistent smells. It goes without saying that you will probably have to vacuum the same spot several times, but after that, the unpleasant scent will be successfully eliminated.  

It goes without saying that a dog producing ammonia-smelling poop needs to be examined by a vet. Sometimes the digestive issue is small and easily treatable, and other times it will require long and multimodal treatment plans.  

What Does Giardia Poop Smell Like? 

A Giardia poop in dogs is rancid-smelling, soft, extra greasy, and with excess amounts of mucus. Although the appearance and decreased poop quality are characteristic, they are not enough to set the Giardia diagnosis.  

But what is Giardia in dogs? Giardia is an intestinal protozoan parasite and a common cause of diarrhea in dogs. Dogs can get Giardia by drinking from contaminated water or contact with poop from infected animals. The disease is easily spread in densely populated environments such as kennels, boarding facilities, pet stores, and shelters.  

In addition to producing fatty and rancid-smelling diarrhea, dogs infected with Giardia experience vomiting, changes in appetite, lethargy, and weight loss. The diarrhea is intermittent, meaning it is not continuously present but tends to come and go. Sometimes it can be greenish and other times tainted with blood speckles.  

Luckily, once diagnosed, Giardia is relatively easy to treat, and the infection is eliminated using standard antiparasitic drugs. Keeping your pup up-to-date on antiparasitic preventives is a good way of avoiding such infections.  

Dog Poop Smells Like A Dead Animal

If a dog poop smells like a dead animal, it often indicates there is a rotting process inside the digestive tract, or better said, some tissue is dying. The dying tissue is sloughing off and gets eliminated via the poop, causing changes to its regular characteristics. This usually occurs in puppies with parvovirus infections. A dog producing poop that smells like a dead animal is considered a medical emergency.  

Dog Poop Smells Like Chemicals

A dog poop that smells like chemicals can be caused by malabsorption or diets low in fibers. In both cases, the digestive processes are disrupted and lead to the formation of abnormal waste products. These waste products often have chemical-like smells. If your dog’s poop starts smelling like chemicals, pay attention to other poop characteristics like consistency, volume, color, and frequency. If there are other parameter alterations, call the vet.  

Summing Up: Weird-Smelling Dog Poop

The quality of the dog poop can say a lot about its overall health. Changes in the poop characteristics – consistency, color, frequency, volume, and smell are indicative of an ongoing issue and require further investigation.  

If your dog’s poop suddenly starts smelling differently, you need to be proactive and get to the bottom of things. Call your trusted veterinarian, explain the situation, and schedule an appointment. The sooner you address the problem, the sooner your dog will stop making smelly poop.  


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

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