Why Does My Dog Smell Like Maple Syrup? 3 Possible Causes

Why does my dog smell like maple syrup? The sickly sweet scent emanating from your dog can be due to three things.

why does my dog smell like maple syrup

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First, your dog got a paw on your maple syrup in the kitchen. Second, your dog chewed some California Cudweed from the garden. Lastly, and the most dreaded of all, your canine has diabetes.

What does it mean if your dog smells like maple syrup?

Most of the time, we expect dogs to have bad breath, especially if not brushed daily. But if your pet has a maple syrup smell coming from its mouth, you have to be concerned.

What does it mean if your dog smells like maple syrup

This odor isn’t typical of a dog’s body, and it just doesn’t make sense.

But before we jump to conclusions, there are three possible scenarios here. Let’s just wish that your pet doesn’t fall on the third reason on this list:

1. Your dog got into your maple syrup stash.

Before anything else, I suggest checking your pantry and kitchen. If there is spilled maple syrup all over, your dog probably got into your supplies. You can also check your dog’s mouth for a sticky substance, which are remnants of sweet syrup.

Maple syrup is totally safe for dogs and even a good source of manganese for them. However, you should be modest in the amount because maple syrup contains lots of sugars.

You can give a teaspoon of maple syrup to your dog from time to time. You can also mix it to their food and treats, or even the water bowl to encourage the pooch to drink (please read my article Why Is My Dog Not Drinking Water After Tooth Extraction ).

However, make sure that it’s not imitation maple syrup. These fake products contain xylitol, which is very toxic to dogs. If your dog ingested maple syrup mixed with xylitol, you should bring your pet to the veterinarian immediately. Aside from artificial maple syrup, xylitol can be found on chewing gum and oral products.

2. Your dog chewed a specific plant.

If your maple syrup bottle is intact, you should check your garden for a specific plant called California Cudweed. This is also called California Everlasting and Ladies Tobacco.

Its odor is reminiscent of maple syrup, and the leaves are very sticky with a slight resemblance to fenugreek. To spot it in your garden, look for clusters of white flowers with a touch of yellow at the tips. When you smell it, you’ll pick up a faint scent similar to maple syrup.

California Cudweed is mostly found on the U.S. west coast. There’s no specific use for this weed, though some believe there are herbal benefits.

Is it safe for your dog? California Cudweed isn’t believed to be toxic to canines, but you should still discourage your dog from consuming it.

3. Your dog has diabetes.

If there’s no Cudweed in your garden and your dog didn’t ambush your maple syrup bottle, canine diabetes might be the culprit.

The excessive sugar in the dog’s bloodstream will produce a sweet smell on its mouth. Diabetes can also cause what many call maple syrup urine disease (MSUD). the urine odor of an affected dog smells fruity.

Aside from the sweet breath odor, the following are the other signs of canine diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst despite drinking all the time
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Increased hunger
  • Failing eyesight
  • Lethargy and exhaustion
  • Sweet urine smell

If you observed these symptoms on your dog, you should bring it to the vet right away. You wouldn’t want canine diabetes to be left unmanaged. Over time, your dog’s condition will deteriorate, and death will be imminent without veterinary care.

What is canine diabetes?

Canine diabetes is much like human diabetes. It can either be due to a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to respond to it. With this, it comes in two types: Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 canine diabetes is the most common. It’s due to insulin deficiency, making the dog’s body unable to process all the sugars from its food. To compensate for the deficiency, the affected dog needs to be given insulin regularly. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for Type 1 diabetes, and there’s no way to reverse it.
On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes is the lesser evil. This is a developed metabolic disorder due to obesity, poor diet, and even some medications. What happens is that the body doesn’t respond to insulin well despite normal supply.
Just like Type 1 canine diabetes, Type 2 may also require insulin supplementation. And in most cases, this condition is reversible through weight loss and changes in the dog’s lifestyle.
Take note that canine diabetes will require life-long care and medication. You need to coordinate with your dog’s vet to ensure that your pet will have a good quality of life.
Part of caring for a diabetic dog is monitoring its blood sugar level. Depending on your dog’s case, you may need to take measurements daily.
Another important thing you should know about canine diabetes is that it’s not always about high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). A dog can also suffer from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if given too much insulin and at the wrong time.

How long will a diabetic dog live?

Most dogs that get past three months after the diagnosis will have long and fulfilled lives. This is possible if the dog receives proper medication and care at home.
There’s only a small portion of dogs that have to be put down due to diabetes. Most of these cases have severe conditions that are no longer manageable.
If given insulin properly and on-time, a diabetic dog can have the same lifespan as a healthy canine. Some dogs with diabetes will even die of something else.
In the end, early diagnosis and medical intervention will increase your dog’s survival rate massively.

Can a human glucose meter be used on a dog?

No, human glucose meters are calibrated to take measurements based on the physiological makeup of humans. If used on a dog, it will not yield accurate results. A diabetic dog may have a normal result in a human glucometer, which will hinder early diagnosis.
Instead, it should use a pet glucometer. It’s designed to measure the blood sugar levels of animals, including dogs. You can ask your dog’s vet about the glucometer that best suits your pet.

What dog breeds are prone to diabetes?

To be fair, any dog can develop or inherit diabetes. However, breeds like Beagles, Pugs, Poodles, Dachshunds, Fox Terriers, and Cairn Terriers are genetically more susceptible than other canines.
Aside from the breed, old age will also increase your dog’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Other factors include the use of steroid medications, and failure to neuter/spay will also increase your dog’s likelihood of having diabetes.

Is there an insulin pill for dogs?

So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only approves two insulin drugs for canine diabetes. These are Vetsulin and ProZinc. Both are insulin products that help control blood sugar levels of canines and felines alike.
Of the two, the newer ProZinc offers a faster and long-lasting effect among dogs. Your dog’s vet will decide what’s best for your pet’s condition. Remember that you should never self-administer these drugs to your dog. It will only cause more problems if you used the wrong dosage and timing.

What should a diabetic dog not eat?

Basically, your dog needs to avoid simple sugars. Some food items with simple sugars are rice, bread, cereals, and sweet syrups. It’s not that your dog has to stop eating all of these. Moderation is key to balance the canine’s blood sugar levels and nutrition.
Your dog’s veterinarian can also recommend a new diet to help manage your pet’s condition. In some cases, there’s no need to make a big diet switch. You just have to watch over the portions and the amount of exercise your dog gets.

Why does my dog smell like vanilla?

Most of the time, the vanilla scent might be coming from your dog’s anal sacs. If not cleaned, this would turn into a yeast-like smell that grows worse as days go by. If your dog licks its rear often, the vanilla scent is a sign that you need to get its anal sacs cleaned.
However, if your dog has vanilla, sweet smelling urine, it’s best to bring it to a veterinarian. The vanilla odor might be linked to diabetes.

Why does my dog smell like cookies?

Sometimes, dogs smell like cookies or biscuits because of yeast buildup on the toes. The gaps between dogs’ toes aren’t well-ventilated. If moisture gets trapped within, it will harbor the growth of yeast. For some dogs, it can smell like popcorn or corn chips. If your dog smells like this, you have to clean its paws properly.


Why does my dog smell like maple syrup? It’s possible that your dog ate your maple syrup or chewed a Cudweed plant from your garden. However, some cases can also be due to diabetes. When in doubt, it’s best to get your dog examined at the vet’s clinic. Early diagnosis is the key to give your dog a good life despite the disease.

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