You used to love playing with your dog, letting them leap all over you. But lately, whenever it opens its mouth in your direction, you find yourself recoiling in horror. It honks!
Heck, you think to yourself. My dog’s breath smells like fish! But they haven’t been anywhere near a fish pond or eaten fish in ages?
Well, there are two reasons why your dog might have fishy breath. One of them is what you might expect. The other probably isn’t. Read on to discover what this is, what can cause it, and most importantly, how to fix it.
My Dog Has Horrible Fish Breath
The first cause: Halitosis
Just like people, dogs can get bad breath. The causes are the same as ours, as well. First off, if your dog eats something that’s particularly whiffy, it can sit on their breath until they eat something else or their teeth will be cleaned.
Dogs are more likely to suffer from gum disease, plaque and tartar than people, and all of these can contribute to a fishy smelling breath. Smaller dogs and dogs with short, squashed or flat faces are especially sensitive to this issue because small mouths mean adjacent teeth, so it’s harder for them to stay clean without outside help.
If your dog has bad breath, a dental chew or dental stick will normally be all they need to fix the problem. You can also feed them solid kibble since that is one way dogs get to clean their teeth.
If it’s particularly bad, you can take it to the vets, who will be able to clean their teeth entirely. However, if your dog’s breath smells specifically like fish, this probably isn’t the most likely reason.
The second cause: Anal glands
Every dog has anal glands, which produce a smelly fluid excreted when your dog pees and is used to identify your dog to all other dogs. It’s this gland excretion that other dogs smell when they smell each other’s bottoms, and when they go to an area that another dog has peed. It’s like a business card, but for dogs.
However, if the glands stop doing their job properly, or become infected, then they start to fill up and smell bad. Almost fishy. Then, when your dog licks its butt, which it’s going to do anyway, but going to be doing far more now because impacted anal glands are uncomfortable and they want to sort the problem, some of the fluid, and the smell, is transferred into your dog’s mouth.
Hence the fishy smell.
Another huge symptom of impacted anal glands is your dog getting down onto its butt and scoot, which is where they drag their butt along the floor by their front legs, hind legs waggling.
What can you do about this?
Right now, you’re asking yourself how to get rid of dog fish breath and sort this problem out.
Sometimes, the problem will sort itself out, and your dog will be able to express their anal glands themselves. However, occasionally your dog will need outside intervention to express their anal glands.
The single best thing to do in this situation is to talk to your vet. They will examine your dog and tell you how bad the situation is, and whether it needs their help or your dog will be able to deal with it by themselves.
If your dog’s anal glands need express, then your vet should be able to take care of it. While you can do it from home, it’s not something I would recommend, because there’s a lot that can go wrong, and if done wrong it can cause further problems.
Long Story Short: My Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish
If your dog has been dragging their butt along the carpet for the past few days, or you’re regularly asking yourself why my dog’s breath smells like fish, then it’s probably to do with their anal glands. As always, if you’re worried, go to the vet and get them checked out. Even if it will eventually sort itself, it’s a weight off your mind.