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Why Does My Dog Smell Of Fish?

After reading this post, you will know:

  • Anal gland is one of the key factor that affects your dog’s smell. If your puppy smells like fish, you should consider the anal sacs and some other issues.
  • You should think about how to get rid of the fishy scent coming from your dog. It may simply be necessary to physically express your dog’s anal glands, which should get rid of the odor.
  • The related questions and answers about your dog’s fishy smell.

Initial Evaluation About Your Dog’s Fishy Smell

Every dog owner should try to pinpoint the source of the odor (that might make a pet smell fishy) before diving into some of the medical issues. Does your dog have a fishy smell coming from lips, ears, beneath the tail, or somewhere else?

Your dog may smell a little funny for a variety of reasons, and determining where the scent is most noticeable might help solve the riddle.

Some health problems that result in a strange or fishy odor include:

  • Periodontal disease (dental issues);
  • Parasites;
  • Immune disorder;
  • Diabetes;
  • Infected ears;
  • Skin bacterial or yeast infections;
  • Kidney illness;
  • Dandruff and other skin disorders.

What Potential Causes Fishy Smell in Dogs?

What Are Anal Glands?

The most likely reason for your dog to smell fishy is that the affected anal glands need to be relieved. 

dogs anal glands smell
Dogs anal glands smell.

The anal sacs in your dog’s rectum are located on both sides and are the size of peas. An oily material that is present in these sacs is discharged through your dog’s feces. To other puppies and animals, it serves as a sign of territory, mate readiness, etc.

You may have seen a dog skid behind on the ground because of this “clogged” mechanism. The vet or the majority of groomers can release the glands of your dog, if it is necessary. You may also learn how to complete this easy activity by asking us for guidance.

What Issues Can Dogs Have With Their Anal Sacs?

Dogs frequently experience issues with their anal sacs. They impact around 4% of dogs that see veterinarians each year, making them the third most often identified health problem. These sacs can become clogged, bloated, or infected, which can produce excruciating discomfort and the unique, strong fishy smell you may be accustomed to.

The following are anal sac problems:

  • Anal sac impaction accounts for 80% of anal sac problems. It happens when the anal sacs do not completely empty each time your dog poos. The liquid that is still present may evaporate and obstruct the sacs’ ability to empty. Impacted anal sacs can be excruciatingly painful, be infected, and develop abscesses.
  • Tumors can be developed in the dog’s anal sacs or the wall-lining glands. Anal gland tumors are often benign (but don’t spread), and mostly affect complete males. Anal sac tumors are more uncommon and have the potential to metastasize. Your dog’s bottom should be inspected by your veterinarian if there is any unusual swelling there.
  • Anal sac infections and abscesses account for 9%, which cause the anal sacs to swell, turn discolored, and occasionally even rupture, resulting in excruciating discomfort and further difficulties.

Symptoms, Signs of Anal Sac Disease

Anal sac problems might emerge if your dog has some of these problems:

  • A pungent fishy odor, especially at your dog’s bottom;
  • Scooting across the ground;
  • Licking or biting their behinds;
  • Difficulties using the bathroom;
  • Indications of discomfort when sitting;
  • Wailing in agony;
  • Lumps that are hard or discolored around their anus;
  • Pus or blood in their stools;
  • On their bottom, an open incision or abscess may indicate a burst anal sac;
  • Being overweight or obese;
  • Allergies to foods and the environment;
  • Hypothyroidism;
  • Skin mites and skin infections are caused by bacteria or yeast.

Before the disease worsens and becomes more uncomfortable for your dog, it’s critical that you consult your veterinarian if you suspect anal sac issues.

What Should I Do to Get Rid Of Fishy Smell From Dog

How to get rid of the fishy smell from dogs is something you should consider. Your dog might only require having his anal glands manually expressed, which should eliminate the stink.

why does my dogs butt smell like fish
When your puppy smells like fish.

Some dogs, particularly those of the tiny dog breeds, need to have their anal glands expressed often. However, it should only be done when the anal glands are not emptying spontaneously because manually expressing them too regularly might lead to irritation and scar tissue.

Despite the fact that some groomers will express your dog’s anal sacs, it is always preferable to consult your veterinarian first because there may be an underlying health problem that has to be resolved.

How Can I Prevent Anal Sac Disease 

how to get rid of fishy smell from dogs
You would need useful information about how to get rid of your dog’s smell like fish.

Anal sac problems can afflict any dog, and the cause isn’t always known, but you can try to lower your dog’s risk by taking the following precautions:

  • Feed your dog a high-quality diet with the appropriate quantity of fiber.
  • Verify that they engage in sufficient, regular exercise.
  • Make sure your dog has access to water so it can keep hydrated.
  • Make sure your dog’s stools aren’t overly soft by keeping an eye on them.
  • Maintain a healthy weight for your dog. While other veterinarians disagree, it has been reported that obese dogs are more prone to experience problems with their anal sacs. Nevertheless, one of the greatest methods to preserve your dog’s general health is to keep them at a healthy weight.
  • Learn the warning indications that your dog may be developing problems with the anal sac.

What You Need to Know When Your Dog Smell Of Fish

Why Does My Female Dog Smell Like Fish?

Your female dog may be experiencing difficulty with the regular balance of yeast or germs in her vagina if she smells like fish. Additionally, it can indicate a urinary tract infection or pyometra (infection of the womb). Contact your veterinarian if your dog exhibits any odd discharge, has an offensive odor, or otherwise looks sick.

Why Does My Dog’s Urine Smell Like Fish?

Your dog may have urinary issues, such as a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or kidney stones if your dog’s urine smells fishy, is particularly strong or pungent, or suddenly smells different. It’s crucial that you consult your veterinarian before your dog’s condition worsens.

Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Like Fish?

Although a dog’s breath rarely smells fresh or nice, if your dog does, it might indicate digestive disorders, renal illness, diabetes, or dental problems (such as infection, tooth decay, abscesses, or gingivitis). 

You should seek guidance from your veterinarian if your dog frequently develops foul-smelling or fishy breath. Regular tooth brushing may not be sufficient to eliminate foul breath if your dog does have dental problems; instead, your veterinarian may need to treat them.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Anal Sac Disorders?

The VetCompass program at the Royal Veterinary College conducted a study in 2021 using the medical records of more than 104,000 dogs. In order to determine which breeds had a higher or lower risk of anal sac diseases, data from these dogs was analyzed.

  • Breeds have a higher risk of anal sac disorders compared with crossbred dogs: Bichon Frise, Cocker Spaniels, King Charles Spaniels, Shih Tzus, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
  • Breeds have a higher risk of diseases of the anal sac: Poodle types, Flat-faced (brachycephalic) dogs, Dachshund types, and Spaniel types.
  • Breeds, in comparison to crossbred dogs, have a lower risk of anal sac diseases: Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Border Collies, Boxers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherd Dogs.

How Do I Squeeze or Empty My Dog’s Anal Sacs?

Dogs with anal sac disorders can frequently experience pain, but if your dog does not have anal sac troubles, they should be left alone. 

If this is the first time your dog has displayed symptoms, it’s crucial that you refrain from attempting to express their anal sacs yourself. It is never advisable to manually empty an animal’s anal sacs unless directed to do so by a veterinarian since doing so might traumatize the animal and injure the anal sac duct.

If your dog needs treatment more than once, your veterinarian may opt to express your dog’s anal sacs, but you should never do this without consulting with them beforehand. Excessive anal sac expression, particularly when it’s unnecessary, might hurt your dog and lead to difficulties down the road.

In Short

Depending on what the dogs eat, how healthy they are, and what they have been exposed to (or rolled about on) outside, dogs can smell like a variety of different things. However, it may be both irritating to the sense of smell and alarming if your dog smells like last night’s flounder meal.

Always seek guidance from your veterinarian if you discover that your dog smells like fish or if you have concerns about its health. Your veterinarian will be able to evaluate the problem for your dog and its seriousness and suggest a course of action.

Camp Canine Florida
Camp Canine Florida
We are special people who love pets, especially dogs. Over the past 3 years, we have accumulated a lot of experience in how to care for and train dogs. Now, what we're doing is building an in-depth blog to share knowledge that will help you get to know your dogs better, making you and your dog best friends.

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