Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fish?

If you have ever been close to a dog who smells like fish, you may be wondering why.

It’s not something that happens to all dogs, but for those that it does happen to, it can be a pretty strong smell.

So what’s going on?

Is there something wrong with the dog?

In this article we will take a look at why dogs sometimes smell like fish and what can be done about it.

What is the Main Reason Why My Dog Smells Like Fish?

Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fish

For dogs, fish is just another meat.

They eat it, they enjoy it, and if given the opportunity they hunt it down in the wild with enthusiasm.

If your dog smells like fish she may have no more than an interest in fish as a treat or supplement to her regular diet.

However, dogs can also give off fishy smells for reasons unrelated to their diet.

Possible causes for why your dog has a fishy smell:

  • Dental Issues
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Certain Infections
  • Anal Gland Complications 

Top Reasons Why Your Dog Smells Like Fish

1. Impacted Anal Glands

Impactions happen when the fluid in the anal sacs isn’t completely emptied, which happens a lot.

While your dog will normally expel anal sac fluid when they poop, that may occasionally stay in the anal sacs after they have defecated.

Impaction occurs as a result of the drying out of the fluid over time, making it impossible for the anal sacs to empty on their own.

The impacted anal sacs will be extremely uncomfortable for the pup, whether it’s pain with each bowel movement or sensitivity to touch.

There are a variety of reasons why your dog’s feces becomes impaction-prone: soft stool that isn’t solid enough to express the anal glands, anomalies in the anal sacs, and obesity.

If the sacs are not treated, they can get infected, which makes it a more dangerous issue.

2. Infection and Abscesses

Impactions frequently lead to infections within the anal glands, which can soon progress to an abscess.

Abscesses in the anal sac will appear discolored and bloated, and if left untreated, they will rupture, causing your dog additional pain and complications.

3. Tumors of the Anal Sac

Anal sac tumors are very rare; yet, they are extremely dangerous.

They impair your dog’s ability to express the pheromones’ produced by his anal glands, and they can even lead to difficulties passing stool if they grow large enough.

Furthermore, they have the potential to be malignant and to spread to other parts of the body.

It is possible that a biopsy and an ultrasound will be required to diagnose the condition.

In some rare cases, surgical removal of the tumor and the dogs anal gland is the most effective treatment for this condition.

Signs and symptoms of Anal Sac Disease

Anal sac problems might manifest themselves in the following ways:

  • A strong fishy odor, particularly in the area around your dog’s rump
  • Scooting about on the ground
  • They are biting or licking at the bottom of their feet
  • Having difficulties going to the bathroom
  • When they sit, they show signs of discomfort
  • Yelling out in agony
  • Their anus is surrounded by hard or discolored lumps
  • They have blood or pus in their feces
  • A ruptured anal sac may be indicated by an open incision or abscess on the bottom of the animal

4. Concerns about dog’s dental health

Does your dog have fishy scented breath?

It may be a sign of a dental condition.

When it comes to dogs, periodontal disease is the most prevalent condition seen.

Periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation and infection of the tissues that support and surround the teeth, as well as the teeth themselves.

It happens in up to 80 percent of canines over three years and older.

The presence of substantial tartar on your dog’s teeth, which looks like yellowish-brown material stuck to his teeth, as well as puffy red gums, indicate that he may be suffering from periodontal disease, which is a condition that affects the gums of dogs.

Periodontal disease should really be treated as soon as possible by your veterinarian to prevent the disease from spreading deeper into the body.

Regular dental hygiene cleanings under anesthesia, as well as everyday dental home care, are the most effective treatments for this illness.

Abscessed or broken teeth in dogs can also result in a fishy smelly breath. To avoid this, have your dog’s veterinarian examine their mouth and teeth to rule out any specific tooth concerns that may exist.

Are The Following Problems A Cause of Concern?

Why does my dog’s pee have a fishy scent to it?

Your dog’s urine may have an unpleasant odor that smells like fish, may have an extremely strong or pungent fragrance, or may have changed smell unexpectedly.

This could indicate a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or other urinary problems in your dog.

It’s critical that you seek help from your veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent their condition from worsening.

Why does my dog’s butt smell like fish?

There are many reasons why your dog’s butt smells like fish. This is extremely common when a dog’s anal glands are full, as extra anal sac fluid will begin to leak out of the glands.

These glands can also become clogged with fluid that cannot be discharged naturally through bowel movements.

This can result in unpleasant odors that may even deter other dogs. Your dog may be in pain, and you may notice blood or puss in his or her stool.

Consult your veterinarian, but don’t freak out if you catch a whiff of tuna while walking your dog.

Does my female dog smell like fish?

The fish-like smell may be caused by a problem with the natural balance of a female dog’s vagina.

It may indicate that she has a yeast or bacteria infection.

It could potentially be a symptom of urinary tract infection or pyometra (a bladder infection) (infection of the uterus).

If your dog produces an unpleasant or abnormal odor, has an unusual discharge, or otherwise appears to be ill, you should contact your veterinarian.

Why does my male dog smell like fish?

The fishy smell in male dogs may be due to urinary tract infection and disorder.

These are possible causes of the smell. Urinary tract infections (UTI) can occur in bladders and kidneys, male prostate diseases, and bladder cancer can all cause bad odors.

Monitor the smell, always check with your vet if this goes on for a few days.

What is it about my dog’s breath that makes it smell like fish?

When it comes to a dog’s breath, it is unusual that it is described as fresh or pleasant, but if your dog’s breath smells like fish, it could be an indication of dental problems (infection, tooth decay, abscesses, or gingivitis), digestive problems, kidney disease, or diabetes.

If your dog has fishy or foul-smelling breath on a frequent basis, it’s critical that you consult with your veterinarian for guidance.

It is possible that your dog has dental problems, in which case brushing their teeth on a regular basis will not be enough to eliminate foul breath, and they will require treatment from your veterinarian.

When Is a Dog’s Fishy Smell a Cause for Concern?

Noticing a fishy smell? Taking your dog to the veterinarian should be your first line of care to immediately address problems.

When it comes to dog health, veterinarians are trained to recognize problems that dog owners may miss, and they can advise you on the best way to care for your dog.

Generally speaking, the earlier the problems are identified and treated, the easier and cheaper to take care of.

The Most Effective Way to Make Your Dog Smell Good

There are a few things dog owners may do to assist and prevent their canines from getting an unpleasant, fishy smell.

Some actions you might take to improve your dog’s smell include:

  • Brushing your dog’s teeth frequently, possibly once a day, with a soft bristle or finger toothbrush with an enzyme dog-safe toothpaste containing can help decrease foul breath.
  • Dental Examinations, when you take your dog to the veterinarian to get her teeth cleaned, make sure that the doctor takes X-rays of her teeth.
  • In the event, your veterinarian determines that your dog does not have a dental condition, she may recommend a specific diet or medication to treat any suspected gastrointestinal disorders, which may help to improve your dog’s bad breath.
  • However, you should request that your dog’s anal glands not be expressed on a frequent basis, as this may result in additional complications.
  • If your dog is scooting and licking her buttocks, take her to the vet to have her anal glands examined.
  • Additionally, it is critical to provide your dog with a high-quality, comprehensive, and balanced diet to ensure that her skin and coat remain healthy and that her intestinal health remains stable.

Our Final Thoughts

There are various possible causes for your dog’s fishy smell, and some might involve medical treatment.

So, if you don’t know what’s causing the fish odor, don’t neglect it.

If you are concerned about your dog’s health, always contact your veterinarian right away.

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