Dog Breath Smells Like Fish? | The Causes & How To Prevent It

Do you wonder why dog breath smells like fish?

This is a common question dog owners ask, and the answer is not simple. 

This article shares everything you need to know about it.

We will also provide tips on how to reduce or prevent this smell from happening. 

7 Reasons Why Your Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

Fish-Based Diets 

Feeding your pup a fish-based diet can make them smell bad!

This is because the combination of oils and proteins in these foods causes bad breath in dogs.

The enzymes and acids found in seafood are particularly strong since it’s a highly concentrated source of nutrition.

This can be beneficial to your pup’s overall health but can also lead to smelly breath.

If you do decide to feed your dog fish-based diets, be sure to monitor their breathing.

Poor Dental Hygiene 

If a dog’s teeth and gums aren’t brushed regularly, bacteria can build up and cause a bad smell to come from its mouth.

Dog owners may not always recognize poor dental health as a cause for bad breath.

That’s because typical food sources, such as biscuits and rawhide chews, can also contribute.

To solve this problem, brushing your dog’s teeth daily or taking them for regular dental cleanings should be done at least once or twice a year.

Related: How To Clean Dog Teeth Without Brushing – 10 Easy Ways

Infections In The Mouth

Many owners don’t realize that their dog’s bad breath isn’t just caused by a lack of proper oral hygiene.

It can sometimes be a sign of something else in the mouth.

Infections in the mouth, such as periodontal disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay, can all be to blame for a dog’s stinky breath.

While these infections may not cause any visible signs of pain or discomfort to your pup, they can still lead to more serious dental issues if left untreated. 

To make sure your furry friend is healthy and happy.

It’s important to fix any dental problems that could cause bad breath.

And also to keep their mouths clean by brushing them often with toothpaste made for dogs.

Some health problems, like liver disease or kidney failure

Dogs don’t always have bad breath because they don’t brush their teeth well.

Sometimes, medical problems like liver or kidney problems can cause a fishy smell to come from your dog’s mouth.

Toxins that would normally leave the body through the kidneys or liver build up in the bloodstream and then leave the body through the breath.

If your furry friend has a strong fishy smell, you should take them to the vet right away to make sure it’s not a sign of something serious.

In the meantime, you should continue consistent oral care by brushing your dog’s teeth and providing chew toys to keep their gums healthy.

Because They Ate Waste

As crazy as it may sound, eating waste could be another reason!

Giving our pet leftover food or other floor finds can upset their stomach or trigger other health issues.

But this is not always true.

Properly sourced and prepared waste snacks can help remove harmful buildup in your dog’s mouth while reducing fishy smells and odors from their breath.

Yeast Overgrowth In The Gut Can Produce An Unpleasant Smell That’s Reminiscent Of Fish 

Yeast overgrowth in the gut is a relatively common condition that can produce unpleasant symptoms.

One of the most obvious signs that something may be wrong is an unusual smell emanating from your body, particularly when you sweat.

Yeast overgrowth, in particular, has been shown to create a smell that many describe as resembling fish.

If you find yourself experiencing this type of odor, consider checking in with your doctor.

It could indicate that something’s not quite right. 

Before treating the stench, address any underlying issues.

Dogs Who Lick Their Paws Excessively May Have A Skin Infection That Leads To Bad Breath 

If your dog can’t stop licking its paws, it may indicate a skin infection.

Dogs with this issue usually suffer from allergies, yeast, bacterial infections, or flea infestation.

If the source of their skin irritation isn’t dealt with, their bad breath could worsen.

Certain Types Of Bacteria That Live In The Mouth And On The Tongue Can Produce An Ammonia Smell That Smells Like Fish

It may come as a surprise that some bacteria living within the body can produce an ammonia smell so strong it smells like fish.

Different bacteria in the mouth and tongue are known to be capable of this phenomenon.

It is also thought that the same bacteria cause this smell even after good oral hygiene has been done. This means that brushing and flossing your teeth regularly won’t help.

Bad breath from these bacteria is usually nothing to worry about, but it could be a sign that your digestive system isn’t absorbing enough vitamins and minerals.

How To Prevent Dog’s Breath From Smelling Like Fish?

Good preventative care is essential to keeping your dog’s breath from reeking of fish.

Regular dental exams are a must to avoid this problem.

You should also brush your dog’s teeth or give them a treat that cleans them daily to keep their breath fresh.

Also, give your four-legged friend plenty of fresh water with their meals.

Avoid giving them treats or foods made from fish as much as possible.

Lastly, you might want to talk to your vet about ways to make Fido’s breath smell better, such as chlorhexidine rinses and other dental products. With these steps, you should be able to get rid of any fishy smells.

Can Diet Cure Stinky Breath In Dogs?

It’s a common problem with dog owners – trying to find out what is causing their pup’s stinky breath.

Some experts believe that diet has a major role in this.

It can determine the quantity and quality of saliva produced, which can play a part in combating odors caused by bacteria in the mouth.

Many holistic vets suggest switching to an all-natural dog diet, incorporating more organic ingredients such as organic meats, vegetables, and healthy fats.

This can help restore the body’s balance of nutrients and help reduce smelly breath from bacteria overgrowth.

For people who want to treat their dog’s halitosis, special dental meals are made with components that reduce bad breath.

In conclusion, dog breath can smell like fish for various reasons.

Nutritional changes, foul breath from oral disease, periodontal issues, or eating dead animals could cause it.

It may surprise you to learn that bacteria in a dog’s mouth produce this rotten odor!

To maintain oral health and detect underlying health issues, dog owners should take their pets to the vet periodically.

Lastly, brush your dog’s teeth regularly and give them plenty of chew toys to help keep their breath smelling fresh.

You may consult your vet for further advice if none of these solutions work.

Dog breath isn’t necessarily something you want to experience daily, so helping your pup maintain healthy teeth and gums is key!

Before You Go…

You now know why dog breath smells like fish and how to prevent it.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.