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6 Reasons Why does my dog’s breath smell like fish?

Dogs emit various odors just like humans, and there can be a lot of reasons behind them. Usually, most of these odors last for a short time. However, if these odors do not go away, one should realize that this can cause a serious problem and should not be neglected. A dog’s smell depends upon its size, sex, or health. Want to know the reasons about why does my dog smell like fish? Well, there can be various reasons depending on the dog’s diet, health, or breed. Dog fishy breath can be due to many reasons, such as bad breath, impaction in the anal sacs, or lack of care for dental health.

Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fish?

Here are some of the possible reasons for why my dog smells like fish:

#1 Anal Sac Disease in Dogs

One of the possible reasons for a fishy odor in dogs can be anal sac disease. It is an umbrella term comprising various conditions in the anal glands. The anal glands secrete a fluid substance when dogs are excreting. The glands squeeze the fluids out during excretion, which causes a fishy odor in dogs. This disease is more common in dogs that are obese or smaller in size. The problem is rarer in larger dogs. 

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Causes of Anal Gland Infection in Dogs

  • Impactions: Impactions in the anal glands are one of the main reasons why dogs emit a fishy odor. The anal glands or sacs are on both sides of a dog’s anus. These glands secrete oily and paste-like fluids during the process of excretion. The fluid is usually expressed when dogs defecate. However, sometimes these fluids get blocked and form a thick paste. This thick paste can cause your dog to feel pain while pooping and form a lump on each side of your dog’s anus. Hence, getting your dog treated by a veterinarian who will manually remove the substance and help you prevent it is important. If the paste is not squeezed out properly, it can be due to the following reasons:
    • Lack of movement and exercise.
    • A low-fiber diet.
    • Obesity.
  • Infection: If the impaction problem is not treated for a long time, the glands can become swollen and cause disease in the dog’s either side of the rectum. These infected dog glands can also rupture the skin of the dog. Hence, it should be treated in the initial stage. 

#2 Bad Breath in Dogs

Want to know why does my dog’s breath smell like fish? The most common reason for bad breath of dog is poor dental hygiene. If your dog is not being brushed regularly or properly, its gums will form unhygienic tartar or other dental infections or periodontal diseases, which you should not take negligently. If you see a large amount of tarter in your dog’s mouth, a yellow and brown substance, it may be a periodontal disease in dogs. The disease should be treated quickly to avoid infection or falling of teeth, You can use the best dog dental brush available in market.

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If your dog breath smells like fish, it not only tells us about dental health but also about the problems caused in a dog’s respiratory or digestive organs. Keep your furry friend away from allergic food and improper digestion, leading to bad breath in dogs. If you do not know about your dog’s allergies, you should visit a vet who will help you plan a proper diet for your dog. Frequent bad breath can also signify diseases in the kidney, liver, or diabetes.

#3 Skin Infection in Dogs

Often, skin infection in dogs is caused by excessive skin, like they are in bulldogs. The folds of a dog’s skin collect dead skin cells and yeast, which causes a fish-scented smell and leads to yeast infection in dogs. Limiting the intake of carbohydrates or bathing your canine frequently can help your dog get rid of the fishy odor. 

#4 Ear Infection in Dogs

If your dog has smelly ears, it is due to ear infection in dogs. This infection can be due to a lack of cleanliness which can be can be prevented by cleaning them frequently. Another reason for the fishy smell is the overgrowth of yeast in dogs ears, you can use dog ear cleaner. This can lead to yeast infection in dogs ears.

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#5 Urinary Tract Infection

If you notice that your dog’s breath is extremely pungent, it could be due to a uterus infection in dogs. UTI in dogs is caused in the bladder and can be cured by a vet. Your vet will do a couple of tests and inform you about your dog’s required prescriptions. 

#6 Female Dog Smells Like Fish

The fishy smell in your female dog’s vaginal area may be due to a Urinary tract infection or yeast infection. These infections are caused due to excessive bacteria formed in the bladder and vaginal area. This problem should not be avoided since it can cause uterine infections in dogs. Another reason the fishy in your female dog can be a symptom of pyometra disease. If you notice an unusual kind of vaginal discharge coming from your female dog, you should consult and seek help from your dog’s veterinarian.

How to Prevent the Fishy Smell in Dogs?

While anal sac disease in dogs requires you to consult a professional, there are a few ways to prevent it. You can watch your dog’s feces to ensure that it is not too loose or too dry since soft feces means that the anal glands are not secreting the fluids properly.

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Another important thing you should do is to include the right amount of fiber in your dog’s diet. Lack of movement and exercise can also cause problems in your dog’s anal glands. Hence, exercise your furry friend frequently to prevent dog obesity.  


The fishy smell in dogs is a sign of an underlying problem. You should visit your dog’s veterinarian frequently to ensure your dog is healthy. You can also see a dog groomer for the removal of the fluids from the anal glands. However, do not make frequent visits to express the fluids because they can rupture the skin and tissues of your dog. Make sure that your dog is naturally releasing the fluids. If you notice your dog struggling to poop or lick its anus due to the unbearable pain in its glands, visit your dog’s veterinarian to prevent further infection.