Why does my dog smell like fish? Tips from Real Dog Owner

Why does my dog ​​smell like fish? Okay, this is not a fun thing to talk about, but it’s very important because it poses a risk to your dog’s health.


  • Secretions from a dog’s anal glands act as a form of communication with other dogs.
  • If you see your dog scooping up his soles on the floor, you may suspect that his anal glands are affected.
  • Anal gland problems are very common in small and overweight dogs.

Why does my dog ​​smell like fish?

dog smell like fish

The answer is behind! The anal glands must be perfect! Yes, it’s true, your dog’s fishy smell and pressing on his lower back indicate that he needs to empty his anal glands.

What are anal glands?

Anal glands, also known as anal sacs, are small bags on either side of your dog’s anus. These bags are filled with specialized sweat glands that produce an unpleasant odor that acts as a scent marker for your dog.

When your dog poops, these secretions go up in the stool, passing important chemical information about your dog to other dogs. This explains why your dog is interested in other dogs’ poop, not to mention the tail sniffing that occurs when two dogs meet.

Dogs also “express” their anal pockets when frightened, which is very common if there is a slight odor. Anal gland secretions contain very specific fish. If your dog sees the smell of fish, chances are something is going on with her anal glands.

Anal Sack Disease

Anal shock disease, a term used to describe problems with the anal glands, is very common, especially in small dog breeds. Larger dog breeds are not usually affected.

Dog Anal Sac

When a dog goes to the toilet (to do number two!), these glands, or socks, secrete fluid, but sometimes they become blocked or infected.

For the anal glands (or anal sacs) to function properly, dogs need to eat the right amount of fiber. Sadly, due to the lack of good fiber in the average dog’s diet, many dogs have to manually express their anal glands… We will get to that part soon!

If these glands are blocked, your dog may also have pain or a lump from infection.

So, how do I empty my dog’s anal glands?

You have two options:

Take your dog to the vet and ask them to do it for you. This is a very easy task for them and it will protect you from:

I am emptying my dog’s anal glands. Here is a video explaining how to empty your dog’s anal gland. Make sure you have some rubber gloves and plenty of kitchen towels or tissue!

What to do about your dog’s fishy smell

If you notice a fishy smell, call your veterinarian. Your dog may need to manually empty or express his anal glands, which should fix the odor.

Also Read: Do Blue Bay Shepherds Have Wolf in them?

In some dogs, especially small dog breeds, their anal glands need to be expressed regularly. Both veterinarians and groomers do this service and you can even learn how to do it yourself if you don’t mind the smell.

However, be aware that too often manual expression of the anal glands can cause inflammation and scar tissue, so it should only be done when they are not naturally empty.

Brief anal bags require the help of your veterinarian. These are carefully expressed and your veterinarian will need to clean with a mild agent or saline if the compression is particularly dry.

dog smell like fish

Once the compressed material has been removed, your veterinarian may recommend a high-fiber diet to help your dog express his or her anal bags naturally.

Infected or lumpy anal bags are cleaned with disinfectant and then usually treated with antibiotics. Your veterinarian may recommend hot compresses applied to the area if she suspects a lump and may take some flushing to fix the infection.

In some cases, your veterinarian will remove the anal pouch or pouch. Anal sac disease that does not resolve with treatment, as well as anal sac tumors usually need to be resolved through surgical removal.

Despite potential problems such as incontinence, most procedures are successful and do not adversely affect your dog’s quality of life.

Why Does My Female Dog Smell Like Fish?

There are many reasons why your female dog may smell fish. Two common causes are blocked anal glands releasing fishy odor or vaginal yeast infection turning urine into odor.

 Many owners, especially female dog owners, are associated with the smell of fish at some point in their lives.

However, it should be noted that some types of dogs are more likely to smell than others. Factors such as gender, age, breed and shape (the way your dog’s body is formed) can affect how likely it is to develop fishy odors.

For example, if your female dog has a greasy coat, which is common in breeds such as retrievers and cocker spaniels, she is more likely to produce a fishy odor along with increased oil production.

In addition, if your female dog has a fishy odor and skin folds – like a sharpei or English bulldog – they are more likely to smell because yeast develops in these folds and the resulting bad fish odor.

The female dog is like a fish when scared

If your female dog is frightened, or has another problem with your dog’s anal bags, they are more likely to emit a fishy odor from their anal bags.

female dog smell like fish

So, if you are wondering why your dog smells fish, maybe there is something wrong with their anal bag.

Roughly speaking, the fishy odor emanating from your dog’s septic bags is considered under the umbrella term anal sack disease, but here we can understand for sure.

Yeast infection

If your female dog’s UTI is not treated adequately, they can develop a yeast infection in their vagina, resulting in a fishy odor coming from her genital area.

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