It is imperative to get to the cause of a dog's odor and itching. A problem such as this can have a number of causes, and a correct diagnosis may only be made after a process of elimination. The age of the dog may be important and so his the length of time the dog has been with the present owner. Any changes to the dog's general health may be significant. Itching is usually as a result of allergy, parasitic infestation, infection, endocrine or auto-immune disorder. It is useful to regard both odor and itching as symptoms rather than disorders, but they are symptoms that should not be ignored.
Check the dog for any obvious parasites, such as ticks or fleas. Look for any signs of rash. Consult a veterinarian. The veterinarian may check for underlying illness by examining the dog and carrying out blood tests. If she suspects a skin disorder, she may carry out a skin biopsy or refer the animal to a specialist. A fungal infection, particularly in the ears can cause odor. The veterinarian will detect this and recommend regular cleaning and a topical treatment. Over-production of oil may also cause skin and odor problems.
Follow any instructions regarding the dog's diet. Dogs may develop an allergy to a food substance. The veterinarian may recommend an elimination diet. This means giving the dog a completely new diet, and gradually reintroducing familiar foods until the allergen is identified. The allergen may be in the environment rather than the diet, and you should discuss this with the veterinarian.
Discuss dietary supplements and treatments with the veterinarian. Sometimes additional vitamins or other supplements may be recommended. The veterinarian may order antibiotics if an infection is diagnosed. She may also recommend short-term use of cortisone creams when the itching is particularly acute.
Noreen Wainwright has been writing since 1997. Her work has appeared in "The Daily Telegraph," "The Guardian," "The Countryman" and "The Lady." She has a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from Liverpool Polytechnic and a postgraduate law degree from Staffordshire University.