Why does my dog’s breath smell like fish?
If you ever asked yourself this question and could not find a decent answer, you came to the right place. This post talks about fishy dog breath, its possible causes, and what you can do about it.
Normally, a dog’s breath should not have a particular stench just like ours, and is not supposed to smell like raw fish. Otherwise, there might be something wrong happening to your pet.
If your dog has a fishy breath and it is starting to get in the way, keep reading to learn more about it.
Is it something you should pay attention to? Or was the unusual stink just caused by something he ate? Here are the probable reasons why your puppy’s breath smells like fish:
- Environmental factors
Are you residing near a fish pond or water? There are a few dog owners who do. You might want to check if this is just because of the place you are living in. If you are nearby a water source, never ever allow the pet to play there alone. Pond water can be harmful to your pet, it can even kill him. Not only can it cause the fishy odour on his breath but a natural pond may have bacteria such as Giardia that can cause lasting diarrhea in animals.
- Exposure to fish products
Another possible cause is his exposure to any fish product. Do you give your dog fish oil? If you do, there is a big chance that the smell was just because of the supplement.
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid for them. If your pet is on an omega-3 diet or supplement as per his doctor’s advice, you might want to reconsider using it. Check with your vet first and stop the treatment if the doctor agrees to it.
A kibble dog food or those dog foods we buy in supermarkets may contain salmon and fish oil. My puppy’s breath smells like fish when he eats store-bought dog food. I checked the label and noticed that there was omega-3 in it. It was quite difficult to find a high-protein kibble dog food. So if you can do it yourself and you definitely have time to cook, it is better to give your pet a homemade meal. At least you know where the ingredients came from.
- Full anal sac
Fish breath can be caused by a full anal sac. Every dog has anal glands situated around their rectum. These glands are present in most mammals so if you have cats, yes, they have that too. They are your pet’s scent glands. This substance is their way of identifying their fellows.
Ever noticed your puppy smelling another dog’s behind? That is their way of telling other dogs “It’s my territory,” or simply introducing themselves to other dogs. Now, how will you know that the fishy odor is because of an impacted sac?
According to Dr. Martin Slome, a veterinarian, dogs normally secrete a substance from their anal glands once a month. Whether you like it or not, the substance has a foul odour. When these secretions are stored or were not expressed, that is when the glands become impacted.
The most common symptom of infected anal glands is when the pet has a watery stool and is experiencing a bad case of diarrhea. Does the dog look like he is going through physical discomfort? You may notice a lot of scooting and licking his behind. He might get that stink after licking his back. If all these signs are present, this is likely due to an impacted anal sac. If you have no idea how to empty the sac, it is best to bring the dog to a veterinarian or to his groomer.
- Liver or kidney problems
When a dog’s breath smells like fish, it is also possible that he has an issue with his kidneys or liver. There is a chance that your puppy is having a liver or kidney problem if that odour is accompanied by other warning signs. The usual symptoms to watch out for are the lack of appetite and vomiting. Rush him to the emergency vet if these signs already appeared.
- Dental issues
It might be that the fishy smell was just from the sardines he ate last night! Like us, our pets also need regular teeth cleaning. Just think of it this way: a person who has a poor oral hygiene will likely have a bad smell coming from his mouth. That is the same for our furry little friends. Brush his teeth using a toothbrush and toothpaste specially designed for them. Those fangs should be cleaned regularly or weekly.
There you go! It is worth noting that there are several possible causes to it. Before getting through the solutions, let us clarify that the smell could just be because of their way of life. Admit it, we pet owners, sometimes tend to worry so much about things that we should not really worry about. Maybe we just need to pay more attention to their hygiene and grooming.
But on the other hand, there is a potential that his unusual breath is a warning sign of an underlying condition. You know your puppy, especially if you have been with him for a long time. It is easy to tell when something is not right.
Now, here are the things you can do to say goodbye to the fishy dog breath:
1. Empty the dog’s anal sacs. Your furry friend’s anal sacs should be occasionally expressed. Most dogs can empty those sacs naturally. However, there are cases when the sacs can be filled with fluid and your pet will eventually need help in removing it. If you cannot do it yourself, do not worry.
It is easy to understand that it can be a smelly and tedious process. Seek for help from your dog’s groomer or a veterinarian. Your puppy’s groomer can do it plus the dog will get his bathe afterward. It is, in fact, a more convenient option than bringing him straight to the vet.
2. Give your pet more fiber-rich food. Did you know that pets with a vegan, high-fiber diet tend to have less anal issues? Maybe it is time to alter your pet’s diet and take the vegan route. If it sounds interesting to you, start by making a broth rich in fiber, something that is easy to make.
You can use chicken feet and beef marrow bones. Add some water, vinegar, and a bit of garlic for flavouring. After heating your pet’s bone broth, combine it with fresh coconut water. Of course, do your research first to know just how much of this you should give your pet.
If you haven’t made your own bone broth before, you might want to try now because it is beneficial for your pet’s immune system. Not only the bone broth can detoxify your pup’s liver but it can also help him if he is going through digestive problems.
3. Consider giving your pet herbal products. Stephen Blake recommends holistic options to relieve anal gland issues. One of the natural remedies for this is creating a compress out of calendula. You may also try gemmotherapy, a healing system that uses plant bud extracts.
4. Increase his fluid intake. Sometimes, the solution to your problem is as simple as increasing their moisture. Be creative, like investing in really cute dog water fountain that will ensure the pet will have his fresh water supply at all times.
5. Give him something to chew on. Giving him a chew toy for them is a foolproof way to get rid of the plaque especially when you are having a hard time brushing his teeth. When choosing a puppy chew, avoid the very hard ones because they might cause oral injuries to your pet. There are a lot of things to consider when buying dog chew but the number one on the list is the product’s safety.
6. Alter your pet’s diet. Opt for whole-food or dog foods with real meat as the main ingredient. Your goal here is to help the pet decrease his weight so it will be easier for him to naturally empty his sacs.
7. Have it surgically removed. Your last resort is anal sacculectomy. Your pet doctor will advise you to do the surgery when the infection is chronic and keeps occurring more than usual. Anal sacculectomy, according to veterinarian Matthew Keats, can be performed when there is a chronic and recurrent anal sacculitis, tumour, and anal sac abscesses.
To sum it up, the top reason of fishy dog breath is impacted anal sacs. Fortunately, it can easily be resolved through diet and expressing.
When trying the solutions mentioned above, like altering your pet’s diet or trying holistic approach, do not forget to get an approval from your pet doctor first.