Why Does Your Dog Smell Fishy?
19 January, 2018
dog smell fishy

Dogs can smell like many things, depending on what they have eaten or rolled into, but one of the more unpleasant smells dogs commonly develop is one of fish.  If you haven’t had the pleasure to experience this fishy smell, you and your dog are lucky.  If your dog does smells fishy, it is usually the result of secretions from the anal glands.

Dogs have anal glands that typically have a fishy odor

Dogs have glands in their anal areas that contain a discharge that has an unpleasant odor similar to old fish. The purpose of the discharge is to help dogs get to know each other by giving details on dogs’ “statuses,” whether they pertain to physical condition or sex. The dark and fishy fluid typically exits the sacs every time dog poops and is normal.  When the draining doesn’t occur, it can lead to clogged up anal glands.

The fishy smell usually is indicative of backed up anal glands

A fishy odor coming from your dog’s rear end is usually indicative of backed up anal glands. Apart from the yucky smell, you also might see your dog dragging his body around the floor, almost as if he can’t stand up properly.  If your poor doggy is scooting this way, it usually means that he’s trying to get rid of the pressure and discomfort from clogged sacs. Dogs suffering from impacted sacs also frequently lick and bite their rear ends also.

Treatment for your pooch

If you start to detect this odor from your dog or see him or her scooting on the floor, take your dog to your veterinarian.  A veterinarian can relieve your pooch by emptying out the glands which is a relatively straightforward manual squeezing process. Your vet can also examine your dog for any signs of further anal sac difficulties, such as abscesses or infections. The quicker you get your dog to the vet, the quicker you can relieve him of his icky discomfort and figure out if his anal sac problem is something more serious.


While anal sac disease is not always possible to prevent, there are a few things you can do to help:

1. Make sure that you feed your dog an appropriate diet with the right amount of fiber.  Your veterinarian can help you find a nutritious, fiber-rich meal plan.

2. Keep an eye on your dog’s stool to make sure it is well formed and not runny.

3. Exercise your dog regularly and keep an eye on his weight.

4. Provide your dog with plenty of fresh, clean water daily.

5. If your dog tends to get blocked up, try to find a dog groomer that offers anal sac expression as part of their services. This way, when you take your dog in for his regular grooming, you can have them express his glands as well.

Luckily, anal sac problems are relatively easy to treat. Once the underlying issue is resolved, the fishy smell should go away.

Other articles that just might pique your interest:

Why Dogs Smell Each Other Rears?

Your Dog Ate An Onion – What to Do Next!

How to Get That Skunk Smell Off Your Dog.

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