Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fish? | Pupford

March 27th, 2023

Filed under Health + Wellness

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Have you ever noticed that your dog has a strange, fish-like odor? While it may be alarming, there are several potential causes for this smell.

It's a common concern among pet parents, but with the right information, you can take steps to address the issue and help your furry friend feel their best.

In this article, we will explore some potential causes for why a dog might smell like fish and provide you with helpful information and resources.


some dog treats and medication can make your dog smell like fish

One potential cause of a fish-like odor in your dog may be the ingredients in their treats or medications. If your dog is being fed fish-flavored treats or taking fish-based medications, it is possible that this could cause a fishy smell on their breath or skin.

While fish can be a healthy and nutritious option for dogs, some dogs may have allergies or sensitivities to fish that can lead to skin irritation or other adverse reactions.


fish oil supplements can make your dog smell like fish

Another potential cause of a fish-like odor in your dog may be the use of fish oil supplements, specifically. Fish oil supplements are a popular choice for dogs because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can have numerous health benefits, such as improving skin and coat health and reducing inflammation.

However, it is possible for the fish oil to be absorbed through the skin or released through the breath, leading to a fishy smell.

If you are giving your dog fish oil supplements and notice a fishy smell, it is important to continue giving the supplement as directed. Fish oil supplements can have numerous benefits for your dog's overall health and well-being.

If the smell of fish oil is overwhelming or your dog has a fish allergy or sensitivity, it may be necessary to switch to a different type of supplement. There are many alternative options available, such as plant-based omega-3 supplements or krill oil supplements.

However, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog's diet or supplements.


bacterial infections can make your dog smell like fish

Bacterial infections can also be a potential cause of a fish-like odor in your dog. Skin infections and dental infections are common types of infections that can cause an unpleasant smell in dogs. Skin infections can be caused by a variety of bacteria and may result in redness, swelling, and discharge.

Dental infections can also be caused by bacteria and may cause bad breath and a fishy smell.

Give your pup a supplement like Super Pup or Gut Health + Immunity to improve overall health, support a healthy GI tract and gut health, manage inflammation, and more.

Seek Veterinary Care for Suspected Bacterial Infections

If you think that your dog may have a bacterial infection, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Bacterial infections can be serious and may require proper treatment, such as antibiotics.

Here's what to expect:

  • Your veterinarian will diagnose the specific type of bacterial infection your dog has.
  • They will recommend the appropriate treatment, such as a specific type of antibiotic like amoxicillin or cephalexin.
  • It is important to follow your veterinarian's instructions and give your dog the full course of prescribed treatment to ensure that the infection is fully resolved.

In addition to seeking veterinary care, there are a few things you can do at home to help manage a bacterial infection in your dog. Proper hygiene, such as regularly cleaning your dog's skin and teeth, can help prevent infections from occurring.

You can also use a medicated shampoo or rinse as directed by your veterinarian to help manage any skin infections. Finally, be sure to feed your dog a high-quality diet and provide them with plenty of clean water to help support their overall health and immune system.


anal glands can smell like fish

Anal gland issues can also be a po tential cause of a fish-like odor in your dog and it is actually a very common reason for fishy smells coming from dogs. Anal glands are small glands located near the anus that produce a strong-smelling fluid. Dogs naturally secrete this fluid but in some dogs, the anal glands may become impacted (full) or infected, leading to a fishlike smell.

Seek Veterinary Care for Anal Gland Irritation

It is important to seek veterinary care for possible anal gland irritation just as it is important for bacterial infections. Anal gland impactions and infections can be uncomfortable and may require treatment, such as manual expression or medication.

Manual Expression of the Anal Glands

Manual expression of the anal glands is usually not painful for dogs, but some pups may be more sensitive or anxious about the process. The glands can become impacted or infected, causing discomfort and potentially leading to more serious problems if left untreated. Expressing the glands releases the fluid inside and can help to alleviate discomfort.

Here's what to keep in mind:

  • It is best to have a veterinarian or professional groomer perform the expression.
  • If you plan to do it at home, make sure to learn the proper technique to avoid causing pain or additional problems.

In addition to seeking veterinary care, ensuring that your dog is on a high-quality diet and getting enough exercise can help support healthy anal gland function. You can also consider adding fiber to your dog's diet, as this can help support healthy bowel movements and prevent anal gland issues.

Finally, be sure to regularly check your dog's anal glands and seek veterinary care if you notice any abnormalities or if your dog is experiencing discomfort.

At Pupford, we believe in using the least intrusive and aversive methods possible to help our dogs live happy, healthy lives.

We hope that this article has provided you with helpful information and resources to understand why your dog may smell like fish and what you can do about it. If you have any further questions or concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to Pupford or a trusted veterinarian for guidance–or leave a comment below!

Related Reading: Can Dogs Eat Salmon? Raw, Cooked, Dehydrated + Is It Good? 

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