How to Get Rid of Fishy Smell from Dog

dog smells like fish

All animals have a natural odor to them, but if they stink, that means something is very wrong. If you have a dog who smells like fish, he might need medical attention.

All dogs suffer from bad breath and stinky odor if they have not taken a bath or are living in terrible conditions. This potent stench can be caused by humid weather, horrible skin mites, dental issues, digestive conditions, infections, matted coats, and even food allergies.

However, if your pup has a specific fishy odor, the most common reason for foul dog smell is anal gland secretions. So if your dog is giving off a fish smell, you might have to get him checked for Anal sac disease.

So, let’s get into details about how to shake off this and make him smell heavenly.

What Are a Dog’s Anal Sacs?

A dog’s anal glands, also called anal sacs, are small specialized sweat glands present on both sides of a dog’s anus. The anal glands are there to mark territory to warn away predators. The two anal sacs work by producing a strong unpleasant-smelling secretion with a scent marker specific to each dog. This produces every time a dog poops.

To us, these discharges might smell unpleasant, but dogs find them interesting, and these excretions are packed full of information about the dog that produced it, such as who they are, where they have been wandering, and what they’ve been consuming. These small sacs work as scent markers and are the reason why dogs take such an interest in each other dogs bottom and any poop they find.

Possible Reasons Your Dog Smells like Fish: Anal Sac Disease

Possible Reasons Your Dog Smells like Fish

Anal sac disorde (ASD) or anal sac disease is a very common issue in dogs. Almost 4% of dogs suffer from it. The term ASD is used for all kinds of anal sac problems. Mostly small dog breeds and obese dogs have this anal sac issue. It is very rare in large dogs.

Cause of Anal Sac Issues

Let’s see what factors cause this fowl disease.

Anal Sac Impaction

A dog empties his anal glands when he poops, but sometimes soft stool is not enough to release the fluid present in them. With time this fluid becomes dry, causing impacted anal sacs.

Your pup might need his impacted anal glands manually emptied. It is very common, and many pups need their anal glands expressed by vets. Because if they are not empty, they become swollen, warm, and hard, which can be really painful for a dog.

Anal Sac Infections and Abscesses

In 9% of the cases, the swollen anal glands become hard, and the fluid buildup forms an infection, leading to a painful abscess. This might be the case if you see your dog bleeding or having anal drainage with a fishy scent. Because this means the abscess has been ruptured by a dog’s stool, which can lead to further complications. In such cases, your dog needs immediate attention and treatment.

Anal sac Tumors or Cancer

If you see your dogs suffer from anal gland problems and feel that they are having a hard time, take them to the veterinarian immediately because this can be the indication of an anal sac tumor. These tumors can spread to other body parts as well, and they require surgery to be removed.

Fishy Smell from Dog

Symptoms of Anal Sac Disease

If your dog smells like fish, it is an early sign of an anal sac problem, so it’s better to make n appointment with your veterinarian. This will cause you relief in knowing about the actual problem.

However, the fishy smell isn’t always super obvious, so take him to a vet immediately if you notice any of the following signs.

  • Scooting their butt on the floor
  • Biting or licking their butthole
  • Difficulty in defecating
  • Painful barks or howls while defecating
  • A hard lump near the rectum
  • Signs of blood or puss with their stool
  • Signs of pain when they sit
  • Yelping in pain
  • Hard or discolored lumps around their anus

Preventing Anal Sac Disease

We can’t prevent some things, but we can help our furry friends with the following practices.

  • Always take care of your dog’s diet. A healthy dog must have a high-fiber diet for better digestion and bowel movements.
  • Take him out for walks regularly so that he can maintain a healthy weight.
  • Encourage your dog to drink plenty of fresh and clean water. He should stay hydrated.
  • If you notice any signs mentioned above, don’t ignore them. Just examine your furball yourself for any sign of a hard lump or any signs of bleeding, or trauma.
Preventing dog from Anal Sac Disease

Dogs Vulnerable to ASD.

Some dogs are more prone to anal sac disease than others.

These include:

  • Small dog breeds, like Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Terriers, etc.
  • overweight dogs
  • Dogs with food allergy
  • Dogs suffering from Hypothyroidism
  • Dogs having skin mites
  • Dogs who have bacterial or yeast infections, urinary tract infection

How Do I Get Rid of My Dog’s Fishy Smell from Anal Glands?

There are some ways you can get rid of the fishy smell from a dog’s anal sacs. First, take him to the vet and get his anal glands manually expressed. But if the glands need to be emptied regularly, you can learn the process yourself. The glands need to be expressed with the help of a softening agent, which is usually a saline rinse.

If you feel that they have an infection or an abscess, take them to the vet, who will clean the wound and give antacid medications to deal with the symptoms.

Other Reasons Your Dog’s Breath and Urine May Smell like Fish:

If your dog is suffering from foul-smelling breath, then he might have the following issues

  • Kidney disease
  • Kidney stones
  • Periodontal disease
  • Environmental allergies
  • Urinary tract infection left untreated
  • Pyometra

Tell Me the Best Way to Deal with Your Dog’s Stink?

Body Odor

If your fur buddy has a strong stench, it’s better to give him a bath using the best dog shampoo, and this will help him relax and get rid of the body odor.


If your dog has any kind of skin infection or Mange, use prescribed or medicated shampoo to help them heal. If the coat is too matted for you, take them to a vet or a groomer.


If you want to get rid of fishy smells that are caused by a disease, for that, you might have to get rid of the disease first.

Mouth Odor

If your dog’s breath has a distinct smell like fish, the best thing is to brush your dog’s teeth. But, don’t compromise on your dog’s quality of life.

Paws Nose Brown Dog Sad Wall Eye's Concrete

Why Does My Female Dog Smell like Fish?

Female dogs might suffer from Pyometra, which is an infection of the uterus. They get it because of the hormonal changes in them. This can lead to kidney infection because of bacterial growth. You can get them spayed or treated to get rid of the fish smell

Final Thoughts

So, if your dog smells like fish, he might have a life-threatening disease. Start noticing other symptoms of ASD. And if they appear, book an appointment with your vet ASAP.

There may be some other reasons for your dog reeking off fishy odors, like your dog having a fishy meal or fish oil supplements, but it’s better to eliminate each one and get to the bottom of it so that your dog shakes off this and gets on with his life.

If you have an obese small pup, then it’s important for their health to exercise your dog regularly.

I hope this article has helped you understand why your dog smells like a fish, how you can get rid of this, and how you can deal with a dog’s anal sacs. If you have any more questions about a dog’s anus, let us know in the comment box. Happy reading.

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