Dogs typically have distinct odors at various times due to where they’ve been, what they’ve eaten, or their present health condition. While you can expect odors from your dog, whether lousy breath or smelly fur, one smell that takes many unaware is pups smelling like maple syrup. Surprisingly, the maple syrup smell in dogs occurs more often than you imagine, but this doesn’t make it any less shocking.
For such a pleasant smell, you may be shocked to learn that it doesn’t bode well for your pup, especially if it hasn’t eaten any maple within the past day or two. That’s why dog owners should always pay attention to how their dogs smell.
The odor might come from the pup’s fur or breath and is typically heavy. At first, it can seem harmless, but over time, the intensity increases, making it uncomfortable for people around.
This guide aims to help you identify the causes of this smell in your dog and proffer solutions and preventive measures. With that said, let’s see why your dog smells like maple syrup.
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Reasons Why My Dog Smells Like Maple Syrup
If you recently noticed the sweet-smelling maple syrup smell from your dog’s breath or fur, stick around this section to find out why.
There are a few reasons why your dog may pick up that smell without coming in contact with maple syrup, and we’ll highlight some of them below:
1. Canine Diabetes
Like in humans, diabetes is also found in dogs, and one of the symptoms is usually the maple syrup smell. If you perceive this smell from your pup, it may be a sign of canine diabetes.
There are three types of canine diabetes: type I occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, type II occurs when the body does not adequately use the insulin produced, and type III is due to hormones and typically during pregnancy.
It would help if you observed where the smell comes from, as this will help diagnose the problem. Maple smell from the dog’s breath or urine is likely canine diabetes. Type I diabetes is the most popular, forming when the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells. On the other hand, type III diabetes is rare but can develop during pregnancy.
Since diabetes leads to a high amount of sugar in the bloodstream, it comes out in the dog’s urine and breath, smelling like maple syrup. Additional signs include weight loss, increased urination, appetite, and thirst.
2. Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infection (UTI) causes an intense foul smell in urine, but this can change into a maple syrup smell when some bacterial infections accompany the UTI. UTIs may come with difficulty urinating, so watch out for this.
3. Yeast Infection
Sometimes, the maple syrup smells from the dog’s fur rather than its urine or breath. In cases like these, yeast infestation is the most likely cause.
The area around the pup’s ears and nose are the most common places where yeast infections occur as they trap moisture, encouraging yeast growth. You may also find this infection between the pads on the underside of the dog’s paws.
Yeast infection is usually due to a weakened immune system that allows the yeast to thrive. Environmental and hormonal challenges can also cause yeast infections. Some signs to look for include itchy ears and nose, hair loss, inflammation, and area irritation.
4. In Contact With Maple Syrup
Sometimes, there’s nothing in it, and your dog simply came in contact with maple syrup. Check your maple syrup jar and your pup’s mouth for traces of sticky substances that may indicate it has licked this syrup. Check the dog’s body and under its paws, too, as it may have walked on or sat in the syrup.
5. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds smell similar to maple syrup, so your dog can smell like the syrup when it eats fenugreek seeds or its supplement. First, ensure the smell comes from its breath before crosschecking the food it has eaten for any fenugreek seeds or its supplement. However, fenugreek seeds benefit your dog’s digestive system and cure skin problems.
What to do if My Dog Smells Like Maple Syrup?
If your dog smells like maple syrup, you must take this seriously, even though the smell is not offensive. The smell may be from your pup’s fur, breath, or urine, so you must pay attention to all these.
The first step to solving the problem is identifying the cause. Solving the problem depends on the cause, as solutions vary.
1. For Coming in Contact with Maple Syrup
When the cause is because of simply coming in contact with maple syrup by sitting or standing on the syrup, the solution is simple, and you don’t need to worry about any serious problems.
Before you can put its smell down to coming in contact with the syrup, you must thoroughly check its fur, under its paws and mouth, for maple. You also should check the maple syrup in your kitchen for any sign of disturbance, indicating your dog has been there.
Natural maple syrup in a small portion is safe for your dog, so you don’t have to do anything. However, maple syrup containing xylitol may be toxic to dogs, so you should watch your pup closely for any discomfort and take them to the vet.
2. For Canine Diabetes
Before you can diagnose canine diabetes, you must take your dog to the vet for proper check; however, you should observe the dog for signs of this disease.
Typically, the smell will emanate from the urine and breath. You may need several tests to ascertain the dog’s diabetic condition, like pancreatic blood testing, blood count, and urinalysis.
Treatment involves diet modifications to build insulin in mild cases, while giving the pup insulin shots twice a day is also a popular way of adding insulin to the bloodstream. Using prescription formulas with balanced portions of all the necessary nutrients is helpful.
3. For Yeast Infection
When the fur smells like maple syrup, yeast infection is the likely cause, but you may need to check other symptoms like itchy ears and inflammation of the area.
To diagnose yeast infection in your dog, the veterinarian will confirm under a microscope using a swap from the pup’s ear.
Prescriptions like antifungal cream and ear cleaner are the best way to cure mild cases. In more severe scenarios, you may require oral antifungal. Remember only to use prescriptions from your veterinarian.
My Dog’s Fur Smells Like Maple Syrup!
If your dog’s fur smells like sweet maple syrup, your dog may have a yeast infection. It is noticeable when you cuddle your dog as the sweet smell lingers around your nostrils.
The infection gives the dog fur and skin a sickly maple syrup smell. Yeast infection is common in and around the ears and nose as trapped moisture encourages growth.
Your best bet is to allow a veterinarian to run the required tests, which involves checking the swabbed substance under the microscope. On rare occasions, the dog may be free from yeast infection and is lucky to have a sweet smell.
My Dog’s Breath Smells Like Maple Syrup
Sometimes, it’s not the fur but the dog’s breath that smells like maple syrup. The maple-smelling breath may indicate serious ailments, so you must take action immediately to prevent complications.
Once you’ve ruled out that your dog has eaten maple syrup, the other possible cause may be an underlying canine diabetes.
Pay attention to more symptoms like frequent urination, weight loss, increase in appetite, and drinking excessive water. Take the dog to the vet for tests and subsequent treatment.
Is there a Plant That Makes Dogs Smell Like Maple Syrup?
Suppose you’ve crossed health challenges or the dog making contact with maple syrup off your list of potential causes. You may want to look at plants that smell like maple, which may be why your dog carries that sweet smell.
Some plants can make your dog smell like maple syrup, like cudweeds. This wild plant is also called California cudweed as it is native to the region, with its other names being Ladies Tobacco and California Everlasting.
The pretty plant grows in the wild and woodlands. The flowers and leaves have a maple-like smell that will stick to your dog if eaten or rubbed against its fur.
Follow this section for popular questions about dogs smelling like maple syrup as we answer them. You might find answers to that lingering question.
California cudweed is not poisonous to dogs, but you may need to pay attention to know if your dog is eating an unhealthy amount.
While diabetes is not the most common dog ailment, it is relatively common, with about 1% of all dogs suffering from diabetes at one point in their lives.
It is safe for dogs to eat natural maple syrup in small quantities, as too much sugar will lead to various other problems. Maple syrup containing xylitol may be toxic for your dog.
While maple syrup is sweet-smelling, you should find out why your dog carries that smell, as it may be due to underlying challenges. Other times, there’s nothing to be worried about, as the dog may have stepped on or eaten a small portion of your maple jar.
The key is finding the possible causes, diagnosing, and treating your dog where necessary. Some primary causes of dogs smelling like maple syrup include canine diabetes and yeast infection. Early detection and treatment will prevent complications.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.