Why Does My Dog Smell Like Burnt Rubber?

By Bethany Tate

Here are some of the most common reasons why your dog might smell like burnt rubber. 

Your dog was sprayed by a skunk

If your dog spends a lot of time outside then it’s possible that he smells like rubber because he was sprayed by a skunk. Under a skunk’s tail is a small gland that produces the oily liquid which the animal notoriously sprays when they feel threatened. If your dog attacked a skunk, or simply got too close for comfort, it’s possible that he was sprayed.

Signs your dog was sprayed by a skunk

A burnt rubber smell is the first and most obvious sign that your dog has been sprayed by a skunk. Other symptoms of skunk spray include squinting or irritation in the eyes (if the spray hits your dog’s eyes) and a slight yellowish color around the spot that was sprayed. 

Some people also compare the smell of skunk spray to hot asphalt, so the smell from your dog might not smell exactly the same as burnt rubber. 

If your dog shows any signs of injury or of being attacked by the skunk then take them to the vet immediately. 

What to do if your dog was sprayed by a skunk

If your dog was sprayed by a skunk there are some steps you can take to get rid of the burnt rubber smell. 

You’ll need to give your smelly dog a bath, but not with typical dog shampoo. Your run of the mill dog shampoo won’t eliminate the odor. Luckily there’s a home remedy you can try to remove the burnt rubber scent. 

Please note that this recipe is for a dog weighing around 20 lbs. Adjust the measurements based on your pet’s weight.

In a large container or bucket mix the following ingredients:

  • Baking soda (one cup)
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide (four cups)
  • Dawn dish soap (one to two teaspoons)

After mixing these ingredients the solution should start to look fuzzy. Once everything is mixed, use your hands to rub the mixture into your dog’s fur. Just be careful not to get any of the solution in your dog’s eyes (if this does happen rinse your dog’s eyes). 

After you’ve massaged the solution over your dog’s entire body let it sit for at least ten minutes. After that rinse, and if needed repeat. Depending on your dog’s coat you may have to repeat the process several times to get the burnt rubber smell out. 

Anal glands

If your dog spends most of their time indoors and smells like burnt rubber, then skunk spray might not be the reason. In this instance it might your dog’s anal glands that causing the foul odor. Your dog’s anal glands are responsible for producing your dog’s scent marker, and they can start to stink if something goes wrong with them. 

If the anal glands aren’t expressed enough they can start to stink. Most people describe this as a fishy smell, but some dogs have been known to give off a burnt rubber smell when their anal glands need to be expressed. 

If your dog is having issues with their anal glands you should schedule an appointment with your vet. If the glands need to be expressed, your vet can take care of that. If there’s a more serious problem causing the bad smell (like anal sac disease) your vet will be able to diagnose it and prescribe treatment. 

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Bethany Tate
Writing and analyzing data are her superpowers. Dogs, nature, and trail running are her oxygen. Bethany passionately believes pets make the world a better place. Her world is made better by Nemo, her pet dachshund.