Dog Breath Smells Like Fish

(Last Updated On: October 18, 2022)

Our dogs are just as prone to halitosis (bad breath) as we are, and small breeds and flat-faced breeds are even more so because of their dental structure. If their dental care is overlooked and they accumulate plaque and tartar on their teeth and gums, they really will tend to have bad doggy breath.

A through brushing and/or cleaning with a dental chew will usually be enough to clean their teeth, but if your dog still continues to have a distinctly fishy breath, then it might be a sign of another health issue that you have to address.

News flash, that fishy stink to your dog’s breath stems from their butt-licking. It’s no secret that dogs lick their behinds from time to time (or most of the time, depending on your dog’s… habits) and they can get fishy breath if their anal glands are not doing their job secreting anal gland fluids.

Supposedly, these anal gland fluids are emptied out whenever your dog does their bathroom business, but in some cases, they don’t. This in turn causes their anal glands to fill up and get infected. These impacted anal glands can be mildly uncomfortable for your dog, which is probably also the reason why you catch them licking their butts.

If you’re still unsure with just the butt licking as proof, then seeing your dog scooting on the floor (that’s when you see them sliding around on the floor with their butt) is another sign of this anal gland problem.

What Can I Do To Get Rid of Fish Breath?

Because your dog’s fish breath is just a symptom of another health problem, then you have to directly address the issue of blocked anal glands in order to effectively get rid of your dog’s fish breath. Dogs are otherwise able to express the anal gland fluids when they eliminate, but in the case where this does not work, your vet will be able to help you out.

You might be wondering if you can spare a trip to the vet by helping your dog out on your own and while that’s possible given the right resources and courage, there are cases when you really have to bring them to the vet to have their anal glands expressed.

Remember that you should not over do the expression of these glands, as that can only cause more blockage in the future. Once or twice should do the trick, but if your dog’s fish breath is recurring, or if there is pus or blood coming out of their butt, then that’s definitely a job for your vet.

You can also try putting your pet on a diet that’s high in fiber so that their firmer stools will be able to put more pressure on their anal glands. If their gland problems persist, then your vet might suggest a surgery to get rid of them once and for all.

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