5 Reasons Your Dog Smells Like Fish And How To Eliminate It

Why do dogs smells like fish?
A dog can release a fishy smell due to various reasons. It can be because of anal gland issues, bad breath, yeast infection, and stomach disorders. While every dog breed can discharge a fishy smell, this condition is majorly observed in adult and senior dogs.

How often do you spray your house with fragmented scents to eliminate the fishy and lousy smells from your rooms and corridors? You might already know that the source of this fishy smell is your beloved pet, but why do dogs smell like fish?

A dog can release many scents from its body, but the most unpleasant is the fishy smell, which can be annoying and disgusting for anyone. Experts say that the major reason a dog smells like a fish is because of its anal glands. That might be the case, but we have listed down several more reasons that can be the root of the problem.

Table Of Contents
  1. Why Does My Dog Smells Like Fish?
  2. 5 Reasons Dogs Smells Like Fish
    • 1. Anal Gland Disorder
    • 2. Bad Breath
    • 3. Yeast Infection
    • 4. Gastrointestinal Disorder
    • 5. Pyometra Infection
  3. How To Get Rid Of Fishy Smell From Dog?
  4. Why Does My Female Dog Smell Like Fish?
  5. Why Does My Male Dog Smell Like Fish?
  6. Why Does My Puppy Smell Like Fish?
  7. Final Thougths

Why Does My Dog Smells Like Fish?

A dog discharges a dozen smells from its body, but the fishy smell is often stinking and lousy. It’s a familiar odor that almost every dog is capable of discharging. If your dog also smells like a fish more often, then you might wonder, what’s the culprit behind this bad odor?

Various reasons can lead to a fishy smell in dogs. As a dog owner, you should know the reasons behind this weird smell in your dog. It will be relatively easy to treat the problem when it is easier to identify the primary cause.

I have seen many dog owners getting frustrated by the smelly discharge from their dogs, and they are always in a hurry to get the rid of this smell without knowing the actual causes. But with little knowledge and awareness, you can quickly determine why your dog is releasing this fishy smell. So, if you think your dog is also a smell-pooper, don’t get annoyed; instead, focus on the reasons.

5 Reasons Dogs Smells Like Fish

Be it an adult dog or a puppy, a male or a female, every dog breed can discharge a fishy smell from their body. While it’s completely normal for dogs to release a terrible smell, owners should know the main source of this funky odor. Here are 5 reasons that leads to fishy smell in dogs:

1. Anal Gland Disorder

7 out of 10 dogs smells fishy because of their anal glands disorder. Also known as anal sacs, these glands are two small pouches located at both sides of your dog’s anus. Anal glands have oily materials constituents in them, and when a dog passes bowels, they release an unscented smell. Sometimes, dogs also release fishy smell from their glands to warn other breeds or mark territory to keep themselves safe.

Why do dogs express their anal glands?

Anal sac expression is widespread in dogs. When a dog’s anal sacs cannot release enough oil during the poop, the glands become impacted. And, impacted anal glands cannot express oils, thus leading to an anal gland disorder and swollen anus. 

Symptoms of anal glands disorder in dogs

If your dog has recently started smelling like a fish, there is a strong possibility that they are struggling with their anal glands. Dogs exhibit various symptoms when they’re feeling pain in their anal glands:

  • Showing discomfort while pooping
  • Blood in their poop
  • Swollen anus area
  • Licking their anus too often
  • Scooting on the ground

When should you see the vet?

Most of the time, a dog naturally express their glands. However, if they’re unable to do so, you should visit your vet. Your veterinarian will manually excrete the oil from the dog’s glands and perform the further tests to check the source of smelly discharge in them.

2. Bad Breath

Another reason that leads to a fishy smell in dogs is their bad breath. Dental diseases are common in dogs and can cause severe damage to your dog’s dental health. A bad mouth can also cause tooth infection, teeth discoloration, and may weaken your dog’s teeth, which can be painful for them in their old age. Here are some causes of bad breath in dogs:

  • Upset stomach
  • Tooth infection
  • Stuck food in mouth
  • Kidney disease
  • Diarrhea

To prevent mouth issues and bad breath in your dog, it’s essential to take care of your dog’s dental health. Brush them regularly to keep your dog’s mouth scented and clean. If your dog is uncomfortable with a brush, you can try other alternative methods to clean their teeth.

Related: 9 natural ways to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing

When should you see the vet?

A bad breath doesn’t last for too long in dogs. And, many times, you can get rid of their bad breath by cleaning their teeth regularly. If the problem persists and your dog’s bad breath continuous for weeks, you should take your dog to the veterinarian. Your vet will look for any dental issues causing bad breath in your beloved canine.

3. Yeast Infection

Yeast occurs naturally on a dog’s skin, ears, tail, anus, and other damp areas on their body. When yeast overgrows on your dog’s body, they start smelling fishy. Sometimes yeast also grows on a dog’s private areas, causing them to lick their genitals more often.

You should regularly examine your dog’s body to see if they’re struggling with a yeast infection. If your dog is a regular swimmer and loves to play with water, there are high chances that they’ll catch a yeast infection due to wet body. It’s important to dry your pet whenever they contact water.

When should you see the vet?

Yeast infection can worsen over time and may cause severe damage to your dog’s health. Untreated yeast infection can also lead to skin infection and may be hard to cure. If your dog is not getting rid of yeast infection for weeks, you should consult your veterinarian for their complete body checkup.

4. Gastrointestinal Disorder

When dogs suffer from Gastrointestinal disorders, they usually have an upset stomach or intestinal issues. If your dog is also suffering from a digestive or gastrointestinal disorder, they will have trouble digesting the food and will do excessive burping. The release of air from their stomach smells lousy and fishy. In many cases, GI disorders lead to lethargy, dehydration, diarrhea, and malnutrition in dogs, so it’s essential to consult your veterinarian if the problem stays for long.

When should you see the vet?

It’s normal for dogs to suffer from digestive and GI disorders, and it lasts for 7-8 days in most breeds. However, if your dog is not getting well for weeks, you must consult your veterinarian to inspect your dog’s stomach. The veterinarian will closely examine your dog’s stomach and seek the underlying stomach issues.

5. Pyometra Infection

Pyometra is a severe infection that mainly affects female dog breeds. It’s the uterus infection that develops during the dog’s hormonal changes. Pyometra is caused when the pus fills the dog’s uterus and leads to the growth of fungi, bacteria, and fishy odors. If untreated, it can also lead to kidney failure and dehydration in pets. 

The common symptoms of Pyometra are depression, lethargy, and fatigue that female dogs develop during their mid-age. Some dogs also discharge mucus from their vagina, which is again a common symptom of Pyometra infection.

When should you see the vet?

Pyometra is a serious disease in dogs and may lead to dangerous consequences if left untreated. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from Pyometra, you should immediately take your canine to the vet. Your vet will closely examine your dog’s uterus and suggest the proper treatment. Your dog may have to undergo surgery if it requires uterus removal. 

How To Get Rid Of Fishy Smell From Dog?

Keeping your dog healthy, fit, and clean ensures that they do not discharge any fishy smell from their body. Sometimes, even a little regular grooming can prevent your dog from catching diseases and infections. In most cases, it has been observed that owners lack ownership of their dog’s health and don’t do anything to improve their dog’s wellness. 

Well, if your dog is showing the signs of anal sacs issues, GI disorders, or Pyometra infection, it’s advisable to visit your vet to know the root of the problem. The earlier you’ll look out for the solutions to treat your dog’s fishy smell discharge, the easier it’ll be for both of you. 

5 Home remedies to get rid of fishy smells in dogs:

  • Bathe them at least once a week
  • Ensure their diet is nutritious with fewer oils
  • Clean your dog’s butt more often
  • Change and wash your dog’s bedding regularly
  • Use vinegar/baking soda to fight fishy odor in your house

Related: 7 natural ways to get rid of dog smell in the house

Why Does My Female Dog Smell Like Fish?

The major reason your female dog smells like a fish is that they’re struggling with issues in their uterus and vagina. If your female dog is going through hormonal changes, it’s usual for them to release pus discharge and mucus. Your dog might also have the presence of bacteria or yeast in their vagina, causing them to discharge a fishy smell. Try improving your dog’s diet and meal cycle to prevent them from any stomach disorders.

Why Does My Male Dog Smell Like Fish?

Like females, male dogs also smell like fish, and it can be pretty annoying for you to sense that lousy odor every time they jump on you. Male dogs usually smell fishy because of their bad health, bad breath, and anal sacs. Try improving their dental health if you suspect the main reason is their bad breath. If the problem is their anal sacs, you should consult your vet to express your dog’s anal glands.

Why Does My Puppy Smell Like Fish?

You might wonder, do puppies also smells like fish? The answer is yes; puppies also discharge a fishy odor from their body. Puppies are more anxious and volatile compared to adult and senior dogs. If your puppy gets anxious too quickly and gets scared, he will release a fishy-like scent to exhibit their fear behavior. However, the fishy smell doesn’t last for long in puppies, so it should not be a sign of much worry for you.

Final Thougths

A fishy odor is a common condition in dogs, and it’s natural in most breeds. There are many reasons that lead to fishy smell in dogs and vary breed per breed. With proper care, you can easily treat your dog’s health and eliminate the fishy smell from your dog’s body. It’s always recommended to consult your vet if your dog shows signs of pain, discomfort, and illness.

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