How To Get Rid Of Fishy Smell From Dog

You should know that your dog emits a “normal” odor that comes from various glands in his skin, ears, and paws.

Your dog can also emit a severe unpleasant odor, which may be caused by various skin infections or other health problems.

As you want to know the answer to the question “how to get rid of fishy smell from dog”, in this article, we will show you the most common reasons for the presence of a foul smell and how we can determine its cause.

Why Does My Dog Smell Fishy?

An unpleasant fishy and skunk smell from the dog’s fur, body, mouth, external genitalia, and ears often signals malfunctions in the pet’s body.

Therefore, the sooner the cause is clarified and the problem is eliminated, the less likely it is that severe pathologies and diseases will develop.

Reasons for the smell of fish from a dog:

  • emotional solid experience, frequent stresses;

  • metabolic disorder;

  • acute, chronic dermatological diseases of different etiology;

  • unbalanced diet, eating errors;

  • hormonal imbalance;

  • endocrine diseases (diabetes);

  • dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract (gastritis, pancreatitis, liver disease);

How To Get The Nasty Smell Out Of Your Dog’s Fur?

brown dog gets showered

There are different steps you should do if your dog smells like fish.

  1. You need to find the reason. It is worth carefully examining the dog – all: from head to toe
  2. Examine the oral cavity
  3. The smell from which part of the body the aroma comes
  4. Examine the inside of the paw pads and the interdigital space

There are “dog” perfumed waters, deodorants, and powders.

These means only mask the smell from the dog but are actively used by the owners.

You can use them, but remember that they do not eliminate the cause of your pet’s bad smell.

To avoid a fishy smell, take the time to take care of your dog’s hygiene.

Use a well-suited dog brush, and clean your dog’s teeth twice a month to avoid plaque and dental problems.

Inspect the dog’s body and ears after each walk.

Also, use the correct dog shampoo for the hygienic treatment of the auricles to smell good.

Products For Ridding Your Dog Off The Fishy Smell

A lot of different products can help you to get that problem fixed.

There are special wipes for the dog’s ears to avoid the heavy smells.

They are impregnated with a composition that repels parasites and cleans and deodorizes the ears.

And there are a lot of other products that may help you and your dog.

We recommend going to a pet store and seeing what they offer exactly.

Tell them your problem and what you’re looking for.

Home Remedies To Stop Your Dog Smells Horrible

Homemade products for removing that smell include Lemon, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Lemon Juice, Vinegar, and Baking Soda.

Try those things, mix them with water, and give them to your dog’s fur.

Leave it for some minutes and then wash it out with water.

If Your Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

near photo of dog mouth

There are apparent reasons your dog’s breath smells like fish – the pet has eaten something with a pungent smell – fish, feces, garbage, rotten meat.

This situation often occurs when the animal has certain diseases related to the oral cavity or internal organs.

Here are the diseases that cause bad breath in dogs.

  • Gingivitis and stomatitis

  • Kidney disease

  • Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract

  • Oral tumors and bleeding

  • Perianal glands

If Your Dog’s Butt Smells Like Fish

dog sniffing on other dogs butt

Anal glands are also a common source of foul odor in dogs.

These scent glands had their importance in the evolution of the dog but are now just a nuisance.

These glands can sometimes emit a powerful and unpleasant smell.

You can check your dog’s glands and squeeze them yourself if you have to, but we don’t advise you to do it at home.

Leave this procedure to your veterinarian, who will best judge what degree of inflammation is involved according to the nature of the secretion collected in them.

If Your Dog’s Pee Smells Like Fish

brown dog peeing

Chances are if your dog’s urine smells strong, he has a canine urinary tract infection or kidney problems.

If your dog’s urine smells fishy, cloudy, and has trouble urinating, he probably has a canine urinary tract infection.

If your dog’s urine has a metallic smell, is bloody, and is drinking too much water, it could be a sign of kidney disease. In either case, you will need to take a urine and stool sample to the vet for further testing.

When Is Fishy Odor In Dogs A Problem?

Such a smell signals disease in the gums and oral cavity.

Examine the gums for inflammation and wounds – consult a doctor in case of redness and especially suppuration.

Some failures in the endocrine system lead to the appearance of halitosis.

What Should I Do If My Dog Smells Of Fish?

There are different steps you should do if your dog smells like fish.

  1. You need to find the reason. It is worth carefully examining the dog – all: from head to toe.

  2. Examine the oral cavity.

  3. The smell from which part of the body the aroma comes.

  4. Examine the inside of the paw pads and the interdigital space.

  5. See a doctor.

My Dog Smells Like Something Dead!

Everyone knows about the love of dogs to wallow in rotten stuff on a walk.

If you look at them at this moment, you can notice an evident pleasure: their eyes sparkle and their mouths twist in a relaxed smile.

Making sure they are well smeared with filth, they run with a confident gait “with their heads held high,” showing with all their appearance that the day was a success.

Decaying animal remains, fish, animal and human feces, and other sharply and unpleasantly (for a human nose) smelling substances can attract a dog.

Potential Reasons For Rolling In Dead Things

dog rolling on gras

That is part of normal instinctive behavior: dogs love to roll in dead animals.

The reasons for this behavior are not completely clear.

Often, this is explained by the desire of the dog to mask its smell or to remove the scent of perfumery from the skin, which is unpleasant for the dog because it is noticed that dogs like to do this after washing.

Moreover, the more often we wash the dog, the more likely it is to immediately fall out again.

Theory 1: Dogs Gained This Behavior From Wolves

“Scent rolling” is a habit that occurs often.

Your dog may channel his inner wild ancestors when he rolls about in carrion or the decomposing flesh of a dead animal.

When wolves are looking for prey and must sneak up on them, they roll about on dead animal corpses to cover their scent.

For example, your dog may be rolling on his back about in the cadaver to cover up the scent of his dog wash.

A wolf will also roll about on dead objects as a member of the pack to signal to the other members where they may find food for scavenging.

That is particularly helpful if wolves are present in an area with little available food for them to pursue.

Every puppy has a wild dog inside of him, and occasionally that wild dog manifests itself in unexpected ways.

Theory 2: Your Dog Just Wants Attention

Even when all their requirements are addressed, dogs may still show attention-seeking behaviors for various reasons.

Due to a lack of activity, they could be bored or have too much energy.

Or they simply perform them for fun.

Finding a dog digging up or stealing your leftovers is common.

On the other hand, some actions taken by dog owners may unwittingly encourage their pets to engage in attention-seeking behavior.

When they compete for our attention, we may unintentionally support destructive behaviors by cuddling or showing affection, which teaches them that will reward their actions. 

Giving your dog love and attention is OK, but if they never learn to be on their own, you will never be able to enjoy any peace.

It is advised that when a dog exhibits attention-seeking behavior, its owners should ignore them.

Avoid making eye contact, speaking to them, or physically contacting them.

If they keep harassing you, firmly get up and go.

You are only human, yet it could initially make you feel guilty.

But overall, it will be beneficial for you both.

Theory 3: Rolling In Smelly Stuff Is Fun

two dogs playing together

Dogs’ propensity to roll around in animal remains may be amusing behavior.

Your dog may get happier from rolling since it raises his dopamine levels.

Your dog is likely having a wonderful time if he is also rolling about and snorting.

Your Dog May Smell Bad Because Of An Anal Sac Disease

What Are Anal Glands?

The perianal glands are tiny paired sacs located on the side of the rectum, near the anus.

The glands secrete a special secretion that has a unique specific skunk smell.

Thanks to it, dogs get to know each other by sniffing; they know who has been here recently, mark their territory, scare off enemies and attract potential suitors.

If the dog’s intestines work correctly, the feces pass through the rectum and anus, pressing on the pouches.

The secretion from the glands and the feces is taken out.

The para-anal glands in dogs can stop emptying themselves – they become clogged.

The secret in the glands accumulates but cannot come out. In the future, if this problem is not solved, the glands can become inflamed and cause complications.

With proper functioning of the glands, the risk of inflammation is minimal.

Symptoms Of Anal Sac Disease

As a dog ​​owner, you are not even aware that your pet has them, the perianal glands, until a problem appears that draws your attention to itself:

  • There was a constant unpleasant smell under the tail of the pet.

  • The dog began to sit down on its ass and crawl on the ground/floor.

  • The dog began to squeal during a bowel movement.

  • The dog often licks under his tail.

  • In connection with the above, you look under the pet’s tail and find one or two swellings around the anus. These swellings could be soft, hard, reddened, or not. You think it’s a tumor and run to the vet.

What To Do About Your Dog’s Anal Sac Disease

little dog at the vet anal sac disease

When your dog smells like fish, you should squeeze his anal glands.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Mechanical external cleaning of the perianal glands

The external mechanical cleaning of the glands can be done independently or in a zoo salon

  1. Put on a rubber glove.

  2. The dog is placed in the bath.

  3. Lift the tail as high as possible to relax the sphincter.

  4. The hand gently presses the sacs and sides of the anus.

Then, when performed correctly, a beige to dark or almost black liquid is released from the anus, which has an unpleasant odor

  • Mechanical internal cleaning of the glands

This technique is more suitable for large dogs.

You can do it yourself if your dog trusts you completely.

But it is still better together with an assistant or a veterinarian.

You must put on gloves and lubricate the gloved working hand and the dog’s anus with petroleum jelly. Insert two fingers into the anus of your beloved large dog, insert them as deep as possible, and feel for thickened glands in the rectum on both sides.

On the other hand, you find them outside, near the path.

You need to apply slight pressure on the glands from 2 sides.

That can be done with one hand:

  • The index finger is inside.

  • The thumb is outside.

  • The palm is perpendicular to the plane of the anus.

Preventing Anal Sac Disease

  • Walk the dog in the dog park to meet other dogs more often – not twice a day

  • Take a long walk with your dog – at least 30-40 minutes per walk

  • Do not overfeed the pet

  • Feed your dog dry, balanced food, and don’t forget about free constant access to water

  • Check the condition of the glands, not only once every six months

  • Observe the behavior of the dog and what the heck 😉 If you are cleaning up after a pet on the street, this will not be a problem…

When Is Dog Odor A Medical Condition?

dog scared at the vet

Sometimes taking a bath does not fix the issue.

While we like our pets, we must acknowledge one uncomfortable fact: they occasionally smell.

Even though they are animals, they occasionally engage in disgusting behaviors like digging through trash, rolling around in the garbage, and eating actual garbage.

But why does an odor still seem to be when nothing has occurred?

There can be a medical problem that needs immediate care.

A strange odor is one of the key indicators that your healthy dog is showing disease symptoms.

So, if you notice a bad odor on your dog that cannot be removed with the tips mentioned above, please visit a veterinarian and have your four-legged friend’s health checked.

Before You Go…

Now you know the answer to the question, “How to get rid of fishy smell from dog?”.

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

Mena Emad, DVM
Mena has a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. His expertise, passion for animal welfare, extensive knowledge, and experience in the field of veterinary medicine make him an excellent resource for our readers.