Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish: What You Need to Know

Your dogs can have a wide range of smells when it comes to their breaths. But the point is that your pup’s breath isn’t going to smell like toothpaste or mint anytime soon. If you’ve taken care of dogs for a long time, you’d know that their breath is naturally unpleasant.

However, if your dog’s breath smells like fish, that could mean something that isn’t quite normal. One thing that you should know is that your dog didn’t go to the river to catch fish like a grizzly bear. Actually, it’s far from that. Let’s find out today what causes this fishy breath.

Are your dogs suffering from bad breath?

Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

To answer this fishy question, we should tackle first what causes bad breath in general to dogs. This will help us differentiate what causes bad breath from a “fishy” breath.

For us humans, we tend to get bad breath from rotting teeth or by not brushing our teeth regularly. Furthermore, bad breath can be caused by what we eat or consume.

This is similar with our dogs. Dogs are susceptible to have bad breath because of what they consume and eat. If your dog isn’t getting medical help regularly when it comes to his gums and teeth, then that could cause bad breath too.

Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

Although your dog doesn’t really have a good smelling breath, they do have bearable smells if taken care of. This means that on a normal basis, you and your dog should have a good time together without you smelling anything awful. Your dog should be able to lick you just fine without any hindrances.

If your dog’s breath gives you discomfort, then that means your dog maybe suffering from bad breath. This is also known as halitosis in the medical field. Be sure to pay a visit to the veterinarian. At the same time, try to clean your dog’s teeth from time to time while giving him scented chew toys.

But what if the smell is like that of a fish?

Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

If the smell of your dog’s breath is awful like that of a rotting fish, then it’s a different case from halitosis.

To go straight to the point, your dog is probably licking his butt if the breath smells like raw fish. Yes, it’s not that he ate anchovies from your neighbors kitchen or that he swam up the river. Instead, your dog is getting the smell from his anus.

It’s not the really good news, and it does sound disgusting, but it’s really the reason why.

So what exactly explains this? Well, there is a little biology to this. Your dog has two anal sacs near his rectum. These anal glands are common to many mammals such as dogs and cats.

These anal glands allow your dogs to mark its territory using urine. This is why these glands are also more commonly referred to as “scent glands”, which makes it extremely vital to canine instincts.

What’s wrong with the glands?

Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

Now that you’re aware with the glands’ biology, you might be thinking that it sounds hopeless if your dog just likes to lick his anus. Good news for you, because if your dog licks his butt, it’s not a habit or addiction that can’t be stopped.

Instead, it could mean that there is inflammation in the scent glands. Since these are sacs, it tends to fill up overtime. This is why it’s important to express the glands or empty it.

Your dogs empty their glands when they get nervous or excited by secreting small amounts. Usually, the fluid that they secrete is transparent so you won’t notice it. Moreover, when your dogs defecate they also empty the glands.

Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

However, sometimes these glands fill up without emptying. When anal glands don’t get regularly emptied, it can get impacted and infected. This is very common to small breeds like pugs and pomeranians.

If your dog’s glands get impacted, be sure to consult a veterinarian immediately. Usually, the vet will perform medical procedure to your dog’s glands in order to express it. However, you can also do this to your dog.

If the vet is inaccessible, you can try and express your dog by yourself. Just be sure your dog is easy to handle, because he will get irritated and uncomfortable during this procedure.

To do this, you’ll need to get a pair of medical gloves because you’ll be inserting your fingers to your dog’s anus to properly express him. The glands are located at the left and right sides of your dog’s rectum. You’ll be able to feel a hump as you push your fingers inside.

When you feel the humps, gently press it and squeeze it with your hands. Do this repeatedly until the glands deflate and your dog is fully expressed. Again, if you’re not confident about it, go to the nearest vet.

With that said, if your dog licks his anus, it means that he’s cleaning up his glands that recently got emptied in an irregular way. So what are these “irregular ways? Well, when your dog tries to rub his butt on the floor, it’s a sign that he’s trying to express himself because the glands are already full.

Wrapping it Up

A fishy smell is always a sign that your dog has trouble with his scent glands. Although you can actually empty your dog’s glands by yourself, it’s also good to consult with a veterinarian.

With that said, the next time that your pooch is licking his butt or scooting on the carpet, you’d know that it’s not a laughing matter. Our dogs can be very fragile friends because they don’t speak the same language that we do. Hence, paying attention is key to keep your pet from discomfort.

Did you find this article informative? If yes, comment, share, and let us know below! Have a good time with your lovable dog!


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