We love our dogs, but all dog parents know that sometimes, they STINK! Dogs are infamous for bringing home the nastiest smells. They enjoy rolling in the weirdest of objects, resulting in questionable odors for their owners.
Among the many unpleasant odors emanating from your canine companion, one of the worst offenders is a dog who smells like FISH. What’s even stranger is if your dog has had no access to fish at all yet still smells like it. What makes this possible? The answer could be medical.
In understanding why your dog smells like fish, the first step is to pinpoint the source of the fishy odor. Is the smell coming from your dog’s ears, anal gland, or mouth? Read on to learn about the most prevalent reasons dogs smell like fish and what you can do about it.
Check out this interesting article: What Smell Do Dogs Hate to Pee On?
Your dog may smell like fish due to yeast overgrowth. Yeast infections most commonly develops around your dog’s skin, ears, neck, and groin. Yeast like warm, moist areas and can be caused by several factors such as poor nutrition, food allergies, a weak immune system, or underlying medical conditions such as diabetes.
In addition to following your veterinarian’s specific instructions, try the following skin and ear care tips to reduce how fishy smells:
- Use a veterinary-approved ear cleaning solution once or twice a week to clean your dogs ears.
- Dogs with floppy ears need their ears cleaned more regularly as the airflow is more limited.
- After every bath and swim, clean and dry your dog’s ears thoroughly.
- Clean and dry the skin folds or creases all around your pooch everywhere that moisture can collect.
- Use soft cotton balls and avoid using rough fabric or paper towels.
If you have a predisposed dog breed, begin a skin and ear care program while the dog is a puppy rather than waiting for problems to occur.
If the yeast infections could be due to a food allergy, see your veterinarian for help on how to do an elimination diet to isolate the offending ingredient so you can avoid it in the future.
Periodontal disease is possible if your dog’s mouth has a fishy odor, leading to more severe problems if not addressed promptly. Inflammation and infection of the gums, bones, and other supporting components that support and wrap your dog’s teeth can cause this disease.
Aside from your dog’s breath smelling like fish, you may notice additional indicators of trouble. Oral problems include tooth decay and eventual loss, broken teeth, infections, gum disease, and bleeding.
To prevent dental disease, keep your pooch’s teeth bright and shiny with frequent brushing. Use doggy toothpaste and don’t use human toothpaste that could contain additives that are toxic to dogs.
Give plenty of dental chews and sticks to keep your dog’s teeth clean, and you can also consider a dental diet that is designed to scrape the plaque and tartar buildup in your dog’s teeth.
Prevention is always better than cure, and periodontal disease affects up to 80% of dogs above the age of three, so it is preferable not to wait for dental cleaning until your dog’s mouth is foul-smelling and diseased.
Anal Sac Disease
Your dog has anal sacs located in its butt, and these anal glands can collect fluid which are usually expressed when your dog poops. However, if the fluid builds up and the sacs are not empty, it can get impacted.
Impacted anal sacs cannot express adequately, causing severe pain in your dog. If affected anal glands are not treated, they might get infected and cause an abscess. Impacts can occur from a variety of causes.
Obese dogs are more likely to have impacted anal glands because their sacs do not drain properly. Infected and abscessed anal sacs are excruciatingly painful, and the surrounding area may appear discolored or bloated. These abscesses can erupt through the skin if left untreated.
Another symptom of anal glands that needs to be expressed is when your dog is scooting his butt across the floor and trying to relieve the discomfort. While it is not always possible to prevent anal sac illness, there are a few things you can do.
- Provide your dog with a balanced meal rich in fiber.
- Check your dog’s stool to ensure it is well-formed.
- Regularly exercise your dog and keep an eye on his weight.
- Make sure your dog has lots of fresh, clean water.
- Take your dog to a vet or other professional to get their sacs manually emptied.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs)
Just like humans, dogs can get UTIs which will lead to fishy-smelling pee. If you find that your dog’s pee smells unusually strong, you should take her to the clinic. Your veterinarian will comprehensively examine your pet, beginning with a urinalysis (urine test) and perhaps a urine culture.
If an infection is found, antibiotics will be ordered to treat it. If left untreated, a UTI can cause significant pain and discomfort to your dog, or the condition can escalate into something more severe.
There are a few things you can do to help prevent UTIs in dogs.
- Make sure your dog has constant access to fresh, clean drinking water.
- Give your dog plenty of opportunities to urinate outside, so urine does not accumulate in the bladder. Urination regularly can help to wash away bacteria that have made their way up the urethra. It can also wash out bacteria that have made their way to the bladder before they can cause an illness.
- Consider having your vet regularly examine your dog for a UTI if your dog has a condition that makes a dog more prone to UTIs, such as Cushing’s disease and kidney problems.
There are many reasons why your dog could smell like fish, even though you live miles inland and the possibility that your dog has been rolling in a dead fish is unlikely. When in doubt, always check with your veterinarian!