what does it mean when my dog’s breath smells like fish ?

As pet owners, we often witness animals acting somewhat peculiarly. Occasionally, we’ll wish we could capture it on camera; other times, it can leave us perplexed or even angry. Strange behavior, especially if accompanied by an odd odor, can signify that your pet is ill. So, if your dog’s breath smells like fish unexpectedly, it’s normal to start to wonder why. If this has occurred to you, keep reading as we examine the causes of your dog’s smelling like fish and what you can do to remedy the situation.

The three causes of fishy smelling dog breath:

causes of fishy smelling dog breath

It is in Food:

Because fish is one of the ingredients in your pet’s food, your dog’s breath can have a fishy odor. Omega fats are becoming a more common and beneficial element in pet food. Most omega fats come from fish oil, and more businesses include them yearly in their recipes. Fish oil may be the culprit behind their foul breath, even if you feed your dog chicken or turkey dinners. Look over the food’s ingredients, including the snacks, to see whether there are fish or omega fats. Both wet and dry dog food can include omega fats.

How Do I Deal With My Dog’s Breath?

You can experiment with different brands to see which one better hides the scent of fish. Omega fats are very beneficial, so you should attempt to incorporate them into your pet’s diet. They can, among other things, keep your dog’s hair lustrous and help with inflammation reduction.

Halitosis May Be the Cause:

The accumulation of plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth can cause Halitosis or bad breath. The odor could smell like fish, even if your pet hasn’t eaten fish.

How Do you Treat Halitosis?

The greatest thing you can do is take your dog in for a dental cleaning if you believe Halitosis is the cause of its foul odor. According to some experts, more than 80% of dogs older than three may have strange-smelling Halitosis, which can signify dental illness. You should give your dog dry kibble if you can’t afford to take them to a dog dentist, but you can try manually brushing their teeth to see if that helps. Dry kibble aids in removing tartar and plaque to stop tooth problems and bad breath.

Resulting Anal Glands:

Nobody hates to admit that, but you will have to get accustomed to it if you own a dog, especially one that is little or overweight. Scooting on the floor and dragging their butt is one of the symptoms of impacted anal glands, a frequent issue for many dogs. Another is the unmistakable fishy scent that affected anal glands emit. Since dogs love to lick their butts, you now know why their breath also has a fishy odor.

How can you deal with it?

We advise taking your dog to the veterinarian right away if you think your pet has enlarged anal glands. The veterinarian can express the gland to drain the fluid and may even advise you on ways to cut spending on healthcare. Additionally, the veterinarian will check for more serious causes of the impacted glands, such as malignancies.

Maintaining a healthy weight can considerably lower the frequency of impacted anal glands because overweight dogs have trouble entirely emptying the sacks.

What does it mean fishy smelling dog breath?

what does it mean when my dogs' breath smells like fish

The fact that dog’s breath smell like fish has a further indicates that anal sac issues are probably the typical reason. However, it could be a symptom of infections, intestinal problems, or dental problems. Canines have tiny sacs on either side of their noses that secrete a liquid with a characteristic scent that other dogs can use to identify them.

These sacs can enlarge, swell, or develop an infection that can be painful. Your dog may lick or bite its bottom, scoot on the ground, or have trouble going to the bathroom as symptoms of anal sac problems. Always ask your vet for advice if you have concerns about your dog’s health.

What do canine anal sacs do?

Two anal sacs, which are located on either side of your dog’s bottom, release a potent liquid with a distinct fragrance. They use these secretions to identify themselves to other canines and to indicate their travel routes.

They exude this foul-smelling greasy substance every time they poop, which helps them mark their territory. They also discharge it when they walk and when anxious or stressed. These secretions smell harmful to humans, but dogs find them fascinating because they include a wealth of details about the producing dog, including information about who they are, what they have been doing, and what they have been eating.

The following are anal sac problems:

Nearly 80% of anal sac problems are caused by anal sac impaction, which happens when the anal sacs do not empty each time your dog poos. The present liquid may evaporate and obstruct the sacs’ ability to empty. Impacted anal sacs can be excruciatingly painful, and if they are not treated, they can get infected and develop abscesses.

Around 9% of instances involve anal sac infections and abscesses, which cause the anal sacs to swell, turn discolored, and occasionally even rupture, resulting in excruciating discomfort and additional difficulties.

Dogs may develop tumors in their anal sacs or the wall-lining glands. Anal gland tumors are often benign (they don’t spread), a widespread type of tumor, and they mainly affect complete males. Anal sac tumors are distinct from other types of cancer because they are more uncommon and potentially metastasize. Your dog’s bottom should be inspected by your veterinarian if there is any unusual swelling.

What must you do if your dog’s breath smells like fish?

 dog's breath smells like fish

Always seek guidance from your veterinarian if you discover that your dog smells like fish or if you have concerns about their health. Your veterinarian will be able to evaluate the problem for your dog and its seriousness and suggest a course of action.

Even though some groomers will express your dog’s anal sacs, it is always preferable to consult your veterinarian first because there may be an underlying health problem that needs to be resolved.

Is bad breath in dogs a sign of illness?

  • Unexpected terrible breath in a dog? Here is the following sign of illness.
  • Dental conditions such tooth root abscesses, gum infections, and tartar buildup
  • Lung, sinus, or windpipe airway infections.
  • Stomatitis is an inflammation of the mouth that can be brought on by allergies, conditions, or irritating foods.
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as infections, vomiting bugs, or obstructions.
  • Diets that are high in fish, for instance.
  • Ammonia breath can result from kidney illness (similar to bleach).
  • Bad, sweet, musty breath might be a symptom of liver disease.
  • Diabetes may make one’s breath smell good (like pear drops or nail polish remover).
  • Masses or lumps in the mouth can become infected and odorous.


Unfortunately, there is a considerable possibility that affected anal glands are to blame if the fish smell is overpowering and appears to emanate from the dog’s entire body, including its breath. It’s time to go to the vet if you notice your dog performing the scoot. We advise looking for omega fats in the food’s ingredients if you have been smelling fish as it kisses your face.

To be sure there isn’t a mouth infection, schedule a dental cleaning if you still can’t place the source of the scent. Crunchy kibble can help reduce dental problems and Halitosis while keeping your dog’s teeth considerably cleaner than canned food.