No More Suffering When Your Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish; Know How to Get Rid of it!
I think at most, the longest my dog’s breath ever smelled truly minty was for a few hours. Just like humans, a dog’s breath will return to its natural state of less than fresh scent. The difference between us, and our dog’s, is we don’t explore the world with our tongues. So, depending on what your dog is getting into, will determine what his breath smells like. If your dog’s breath smells like fish, there are a few identified culprits of this potent problem.
Where are the Fish, Seriously Where?
Is it the Glands?
Many of us dog owners live miles from a lake or sea and our dog’s breath still smells like fish. It’s incomprehensible. One of the main reasons a dog’s breath smells like fish is actually even grosser than the fish possibility. Dogs have two anal glands bordering their anus—one at five and one at seven o’clock. When these glands ‘are expressed’ they empty out a very pungent fishy odor. As your dog proceeds to clean himself with his tongue, this odor transfers to their mouth.
The scent is like a Twitter update for dogs. Chemical information about a dog’s age, gender, emotional state, and more are picked up when your dog smells another dog’s anal secretions. Dogs will naturally express their anal sacs as they defecate. However some dogs—small breeds in particular—have trouble expressing and pressure builds up. To relieve the pressure they’ll scoot their butt across the floor or nip at their hind regions. Some dogs have transparent anal expressions while other’s fluid is brown and viscous. This makes it harder for a dog to naturally express them.
If you’re a brave soul, you can express the anal glands yourself by applying pressure to the glands. The best place to do this is in the bathtub—right before a bath. Wear gloves and use paper towels to keep the secretion contained. Pick up their tail, reach around the gland and pull forward. Or, you can have your dog groomer or veterinarian perform this procedure. We don’t blame you!
Is it the Plaque?
Dogs need regular teeth brushing too. The inside of a dog’s mouth is teeming with bacteria. When plaque buildup turns into tartar an overabundance of bacteria can lead to bad breath. Halitosis, gingivitis, and periodontal disease all stem from bad oral care for dogs.
An internal disease could also be the culprit. Kidney and liver failure can cause bad breath with a fishy smell. A sweet-rotten smell could indicate diabetes and breath smelling like urine is consistent with kidney disease. If your dog is having urinating or defecating issues this is a sign it’s time to visit a veterinarian immediately.
Is it what he’s Eating?
Some dog owners give their dog fish oil which contains omega-3 and omega-6 which are great for dogs for healthy cell growth. Just know dogs do burp and that burp will be invasive to the nostrils. Salmon and Whitefish are also typically used as ingredients in kibble dog food. Check your dog’s food ingredient list for fishmeal, Docosahexaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid. These can also be a likely source of the fishy smell.
How Do I Get Rid of It?
Depending on the issue most causes of bad breath can be easily treated. Again, small breeds do have the most issues with anal gland expressions. Have your groomer take care of this for you. It’s cheaper than a veterinarian visit and your dog gets a bath afterward— ridding all the smells. Once their glands are good that fish odor will disappear.
If it’s a matter of oral hygiene, proactive measures are the best way to handle this. Make sure you’re brushing your dog’s teeth at least twice a week. Groomers can also take care of this process for you. Between teeth brushing sessions give your dog a chew toy or rawhide. The mechanical action from the friction scrapes away tartar by 70%, according to WebMD.
If it’s a more serious medical issue, seek out veterinary services immediately. Once your vet diagnoses the problem they can assist you with doggie lifestyle changes to make. If your dog’s breath smells like fish as a result of gastrointestinal abnormalities or other internal organ failures, more drastic steps may have to be taken. All this is preventable with good pet care.
If you’ve tried all of the above then it’s probably his food. Speak with your vet about the best high-quality food to provide for your dog. Splash and Dash recommend the rotational diet. This diet provides kibble, fresh, raw, and canned food for diverse sources of nutrients. Larger kibble dog foods also promote chewing which helps scrape plaque. The rule of thumb is the more protein the better. Cheap dog foods contain fillers and other unhealthy additives that may not only be making your dog’s breath smell like fish but is not providing an adequate amount of nutrition.
Besides all the above pathways to fresher breath, there are also water additives and minty dog chews that can help rid the smell. We hope your dog’s breath improves so you don’t have to be disgusted when they go for those tongue-filled kisses on your face!
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