Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fish?

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Why does my dog smell like fish? Is it dog anal gland smell? Perhaps, these questions upset you like many others.

Even I have suffered the same issue with My Dear Dog. Oh! Yea, my dog, eats fish also. So, at first, I thought it was probably because of it.

However, I did not give her fish for a couple of days to confirm my doubt. But I was wrong. It was not for eating fish in my case. 

In the meantime, I was trying to figure out why does my female dog smell like fish. So I was reading many articles from different sources, pet forums, etc. 

As a result, I have learned some helpful information that might help you. Also, I am glad to share these experiences with all of you. 
Read More: How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating?

What Causes Fishy Smell in Dogs?

Fishy Smell in Dogs

Generally, dogs smell like fish because they eat fish, lick themselves, or get sprayed with the smell while walking through a puddle. 

Dogs may also smell like fish if they are allergic to fish oil or are vitamin B-12 deficient. The good news is that there are ways to handle the problem.

However, it would help if you started by always brushing your dog’s teeth after every meal and getting their ears cleaned regularly to avoid any buildup of oils.

Many dog owners have noticed a fishy smell in their dog’s mouths. But also, many of them don’t know this specific type of odor can indicate potential health problems. 

Unfortunately, some people may not notice the problem because the fur around a dog’s mouth often masks the scent. But other dogs may get too close and get an intense nose full of it. 

If you find yourself smelling something unpleasant while petting or playing with your dog, then it might be time for an appointment at the vet. 

Generally, a regular visit to the vet will confirm whether or not your dear dog has severe diseases.
Read More: What is a Droopy Dog, and why is it called so?

Reasons Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fish

Reasons Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fish

There are many reasons why your dog may smell like fish. It could be that they love to fish, or you eat it around them to make them happy.

Sometimes the smell is not good-meaning. For example, it only smells like fish when wet after bathing. 

It may be because of polluted water or if their coat has gotten wet and the smell is transferring to their fur. 

However, below are the top 7 reasons why dogs smell like fish. Let’s begin.

1. Dog Anal Sac Disease Might be the Main Reason Why Does Your Dog Smell Like Fish

Dog Anal Sac Disease

Dog anal sac disease, or anal sacs, is located on either side of the colon at the end of the rectum. It is a healthy part of a healthy digestive system. 

Usually, these sacs produce an oily liquid that lubricates and protects the dog’s skin. Therefore, it provides nutrients for the skin. 

The anal glands in dogs also contain bacteria. But this does not pose any health risk unless infected. 

If you notice your dog has developed lesions or sores around the anus, it may be the reason for anal sac disease.

MORE: How to Find the Best Dog Groomer near you?

2. If they have Kleptomania disease

Hormonal changes in older dogs can cause odors in their stools and urine when they Reach Certain Levels. This is called Kleptomania (Licking).

Aged dogs can develop an amylase chemical, making stools more firm than usual. The level at which this occurs varies with each dog and age. 

At times these levels rise while others fall. However, nearly all older dogs will have some amylase present. 

Perhaps, you notice your dog seems unusually interested in licking his stool for several hours. In that case, they may be experiencing kleptomania. 

Similarly, if the urine becomes very watery or foamy, it could be kleptomania. It will help if you do not let your dog lick his body. Doing so is unsanitary and unhealthy for him.

3. Impactions 

It’s not uncommon for dogs to have an occasional bout of diarrhea. Generally, it may be due to over-eating, consuming something they are allergic to, or even stress. 

However, when your dog’s stools are diarrhea-soiled and have a strong odor, it could be a sign of impaction.

4. Infections and Abscesses in Dog’s Body

Infections and Abscesses in Dog's Body
Credit: Nattakit Khunburan

Infections and abscesses can occur in several different areas of your dog’s body. The most common forms appear on the paws, tail, ears

For example, a tail abscess is a pocket of pus between the skin and muscle tissue underneath the tail. Probably, the infection results from biting insects such as ticks and mosquitoes.

5. Anal Sac Tumors 

Anal sac tumors are often seen in dogs and can be a difficult medical issue to address due to the tumor’s location. 

Dogs with anal sac tumors usually experience excessive flatulence, emitting a strong fishy smell. Therefore, it may suffer from blood in the feces. 

Anal Sac Tumors 

However, it is essential to consult your veterinarian if you notice these symptoms or if you suspect your dog might be suffering from an anal sac tumor.

6. Yeast Overgrowth 

Yeasts are a type of fungus that can cause your pet’s gastrointestinal system problems. Yeast overgrowth is a widespread problem in dogs. 

Yeast overgrowth is another reason why does my dog smell like fish. Apart from that, the dog may have symptoms like smelly ears/nose, a fishy-smelling coat, etc.

Also, you can notice a drop in weight even though their appetite is still good. If so, you should take your dog to a veterinary center for a check-up.

Generally, the treatment for this condition is very simple. First, your vet will prescribe a Nystatin medication. 

It will break down the cell membranes inside the body to function correctly. This helps to clear up any fungal infections quickly.

7. Bad Breath 

why does my dog smell like fish

Dogs can often have a bad odor which sometimes smells like rotting fish. If your dog has an unpleasant odor, the first thing you should do is examine his teeth and gum tissues for any dental disease. 

If you find any plaque or tartar on the teeth, clean them with a veterinarian-recommended toothpaste and brush twice daily. 

You may also want to try adding canned pumpkin to his diet as it has enzymes that will help remove odors from his mouth.


It is always a surprise when your dog smells like fish. You might think that the odor is coming from the raw meat in your fridge. 

Unfortunately, you get the same smell even cleaning the fridge. Generally, dog smells can be tough to take care of. But there are some easy solutions to this problem.

Have you ever been walking your dog and suddenly been hit by an overwhelming stench of fish? If so, you’re not alone in who suffered this issue. 

The truth is a lot of dogs who love eating fish smell like it. Generally, this is because fish contains a natural odor emitted from the dog’s skin.

However, this is all about why does my dog smell like fish. So, if this information about our dear dog helps you, don’t forget to share it with your friends.

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