My Bulldog Smells Like Maple Syrup! What Should I Do?

No, you’re not just craving for some pancakes. Bulldogs can smell sweet for a variety of reasons. My dog smells like maple syrup and it can be due to various reasons. It can be a simple case of your dog snacking on maple syrup in the pantry or a more serious condition like diabetes. Bulldogs can also get skin diseases that will result in an odor reminiscent of maple syrup.

In this post, I will discuss the explanation behind the mystery smell on your Bulldog. I also gave here some tips on what you can do about it:

Why does my Bulldog smell like maple syrup?

If you’re wondering why your Bulldog smells like maple syrup, the following might be the reasons why:

1. Eating something sweet

my dog smells like maple syrup

Before you panic and assume that your Bulldog is sick, you should first check the last thing it ate. There’s a possibility that your food-driven doggo looted your kitchen and snacked on the maple syrup supply. A quick check of the pantry will confirm your suspicions.

A hungry Bulldog won’t resist the sweet taste of maple syrup. Also, don’t underestimate the climbing prowess of a Bulldog, especially a puppy, to reach the prized syrup.

You should also ask other people in your house whether they have your pooch maple syrup. If it’s being served on the table, there’s a possibility that your Bulldog licked the plate when no one’s looking.

Anything sweet has the potential of smelling like maple syrup once it mixes with the bacteria and substance on your Bulldog’s mouth.

Also, there are anecdotes that dogs, especially puppies, tend to have a naturally sweet smell on their breaths. But if the sweet odor isn’t going away, it won’t hurt to bring your Bulldog to the vet’s clinic just to be sure.

2. Diabetes

my dog smells like maple syrup

Diabetes mellitus in dogs is another reason why a Bulldog may smell like maple syrup. But, like humans, dogs can also develop this metabolic disease for a variety of reasons.

Diabetes mellitus in canines affects the glucose or sugar level in the blood. It can occur in two specific types:

Type I diabetes

This diabetes happens when the canine’s pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. It’s an autoimmune disease because the canine’s body attacks the pancreas with antibodies, which leads to its deterioration.

Bulldogs with Type I diabetes can inherit it from one of their affected parents. To prevent it from becoming life-threatening, your Bulldog will need to receive insulin shots to fill the gap on the canine’s inability to self-produce the substance.

Like both types, Type I diabetes can make your Bulldog’s breath smell sweet, sometimes with a hint of maple syrup.

Type II diabetes

With Type II diabetes, the condition is often acquired or developed due to a poor canine lifestyle. Unlike Type I, dogs with Type II diabetes can actually produce enough insulin. However, its body isn’t able to effectively use the insulin supply to store glucose.

Obese Bulldogs are at high risk of having Type II diabetes. Environmental triggers are also at play, especially if you keep feeding your pet with table scraps and other unhealthy meals.

Overall, diabetes in canines is pretty common, not just in Bulldogs. Experts estimate that about 1 in every 300 dogs are affected, but many remained undiagnosed.

Signs that your Bulldog has diabetes

Aside from the maple syrup scent, there are more signs that your Bulldog has diabetes. Remember that these are general symptoms only and inconclusive until your dog undergoes veterinary examination:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden weight loss
  • A sudden increase in appetite
  • Lethargy and depressed attitude
  • Vomiting

If you suspect that the maple syrup-smelling Bulldog has diabetes, it’s important to immediately bring the doggo to a veterinarian. Your dog will undergo blood work and lab tests to confirm the occurrence of such a metabolic disorder.

Risk factors for diabetes in dogs

Just because your Bulldog smells like maple syrup doesn’t automatically mean that it has diabetes. Aside from the listed symptoms above, the following risk factors also increase the chance of a canine having diabetes:

  • Gender. It turns out that unspayed female dogs are twice likely to develop diabetes than males. So if you have a female Bulldog, this is one good reason to get her fixed!
  • Age. The older your Bulldog gets, its risk of getting diabetes becomes higher. Most dogs diagnosed with diabetes are at least five years old or above.
  • Genetics. If your Bulldog has one diabetic parent, there’s a very high chance that it will inherit the health problem. This is why you shouldn’t disregard health checks and the possibility of diabetes once your dog starts smelling like maple syrup.
  • Steroid medications. Bulldogs that are taking steroid medications for long periods have a higher risk of having diabetes down the line.
  • Cushing’s disease. This disease causes a dog’s body to overproduce steroids. And as mentioned, the continuous presence of steroids in the body will cause diabetes.

3. Ear yeast infection

Another possible reason behind your Bulldog’s maple syrup scent is a yeast infection. This can occur on the skin and ears of your Bulldog, which will lead to the formation of unusual odors.

If the maple syrup scent is coming from the canine’s fur or paws than its breath, there’s a high chance that yeast is the culprit. This is because yeast proliferates on trapped moisture, which is often found on Bulldogs’ skin wrinkles, ears, and paws. If not addressed, some Bulldogs will develop the ‘Fritos feet’, which is similar to the odor of the famous corn chips.

Remember that all dogs have yeast on their skin. It only becomes problematic when the yeast overproduces due to a variety of factors.

Symptoms of ear yeast infection in Bulldogs:

The good thing is that yeast infections are quite easy to spot. Here are the symptoms you should check:

  • Yellowish or brown discharge from the ears
  • Poor balance
  • Temporary hearing loss
  • Redness and swelling
  • Weird eye movements
  • Walking in circles
  • Maple syrup odor from the ears
  • Crusty ear flaps

Canine ear infections can vary in intensity. It depends on what part of the ear is affected. It can be the inner (otitis interna), mid (otitis media), or outer ear (otitis externa). The farther it is, the harder it will be to treat the infection.

At the vet, your Bulldog will be examined for yeast infection. The veterinarian will look beyond the maple syrup smell to confirm the overproduction of yeast in your dog’s skin.

Causes of yeast infection in dogs

Your Bulldog will suffer from a form of skin infection at least once in its life. It won’t necessarily be a yeast infection, but judging this breed’s sensitive skin, three’s a high chance that yeast will become a problem.

The following are some of the most common causes of yeast infection in Bulldogs:

  • Allergies. Bulldogs are notorious for having weak stomachs, which makes them prone to food allergies. Oftentimes, food allergies manifest as skin infections. Such irritations can lead to a maple syrup scent, though it will start to progress into a foul odor if the skin becomes infected.
  • Antibiotics. Antibiotic intake can mess up the good bacteria on your Bulldog’s skin. It can cause a maple syrup odor as well as the overproduction of yeast.
  • Underlying conditions. If allergy or antibiotic intake isn’t the reason behind the yeast infection, your Bulldog is probably suffering from other underlying conditions. It can be diabetes, seborrheic dermatitis, and so on.

4. Exposure to cudweed

On a less serious note, Bulldogs can also smell like maple syrup when they chew or get physically exposed to a plant called California cudweed. This is also known as California Everlasting and Ladies Tobacco, which is mainly found on the West Coast.

Overall, California cudweed isn’t toxic to dogs, but it’s best to keep it out of your Bulldog’s reach. It can still trigger stomach upset, especially for the Bulldog breed.

If you have cudweeds in your yard, check if it has been chewed or pulled. If so, it’s probably the culprit behind your Bulldog’s maple syrup odor.

What to do if your dog smells like maple syrup

If your Bulldog suddenly starts smelling like maple syrup, the veterinarian is always the best person to call. The vet can advise on what you should do and ultimately ask you to bring the pooch to a veterinarian. This way, your dog will be thoroughly examined and subjected to various lab tests.

Moreover, you should never try to self-medicate your dog’s health problem at home. Whether the cause of the maple syrup odor is a skin infection or diabetes, it’s always best to seek professional veterinary care. In the long run, trying to save money through DIY treatments will result in a more expensive problem.

But before you panic, it’s also important to observe your canine. Look for other symptoms that will help the diagnosis. If the smell went away after a bath, it might not be a major cause of concern. What you have to be worried about is if the smell becomes stronger by the day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What’s the reason behind my dog’s sweet smell?

A: A sweet odor on the canine’s breath can indicate diabetes. But if the odor is on the fur, it’s possible that your Bulldog just rolled on something that has a sweet odor in it. If the odor is persistent, I suggest taking your dog to a vet for proper examination and diagnosis.

Q: How come my dog smell like pancakes?

A: A pancake smell coming from your pet could be anything from eating something sweet, rolling on the dirt, or the onset of diabetes. It’s important to get to the root of the problem to ensure that your dog isn’t suffering from any underlying illness. Also, you should watch out for other symptoms that could help the veterinarian diagnose the health problem.

Q: Can dogs get Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD)?

A: It’s very uncommon for canines to develop MSUD. Even for humans, this condition is very rare. Still, you can always consult your dog’s vet if you suspect that your dog is exhibiting the symptoms of MSUD. This includes earwax, urine, and sweat that smells strongly like maple syrup or burnt sugar. The affected canine will also become sluggish, weak, and irritable.

Q: Why does my Bulldog’s breath smell like corn chips?

A: Also known as ‘Fritos feet’, dogs can develop a scent similar to the famed corn chips. While this may sound yummy, it’s actually a sign that your Bulldog is experiencing bacterial problems. It’s important to address this problem to prevent further skin irritations. You can consult your dog’s veterinarian for the best solution, especially if the pooch has notoriously sensitive skin.

Q: Are Bulldogs smelly dogs?

A: Bulldogs don’t necessarily smell bad, but their sensitivities can make them develop nasty odors. For one, they have weak stomachs that tend to be gaseous. As a result, their farts can be pretty explosive, including the smell. Also, Bulldogs are prone to allergies that can trigger skin irritations. And when it gets infected, the skin problem will also emit a bad smell.

Q: What’s causing my dog to smell like rotten peaches?

A: A smell of rotten peaches in dogs usually indicates a skin problem. You should check for skin parasites like ticks and fleas, which can inflict bite wounds on your Bulldog. When these wounds become infected, they can develop an unpleasant similar to that of rotten peaches. This is an alarming situation, so you should go to its vet right away.

Final words

My dog smells like maple syrup and it’s not that uncommon. If you’re dealing with the same problem, you first have to understand its root case.. It can be an innocent case of your pooch having a sweet snack behind your back. Still, you shouldn’t be too complacent, as this smell can point to diabetes and other underlying illnesses. When in doubt, the vet is just one call away.

Did your dog ever smell like maple syrup before? What did you do to solve the problem? Share your tips below!


  • 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!