Dogs Breath Smells Like Fish

My Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

I need help, my dog’s breath smells like fish!

I have a one year old Boston Terrier named Trev. Trev is friendly and will never turn down attention. As soon as I’m in sight he has to be right beside me and always wants a pat. Very rarely do I decline and always give him belly rubs.

Lately, I’ve noticed his breath has started to smell like fish. It’s been lingering around for 3 days, at first I thought it was something he dug up in the backyard. The fishy smell is very off putting and lately in starting to push Trev away. Something I feel guilty about.

How can I get rid of his fish smelling dog breath?


Hi Sarah,

Trev’s breath smelling like fish generally has an easy fix.

It’s a common myth that dogs have bad breath. Bad breath is usually a sign of infection or bacteria build up and should be acted upon swiftly, in order to prevent any health-related issues.

I speak to everyone not just Sarah directly.

You should be vigilant with your dog’s breath and once you notice a strong odor you should begin to find out the cause.

Bad Dental Care
Fish Breath

Is fishy smelling breath simply bad dog dental care?

Unless your dog has been fed fish for dinner or has been eating foods very high in omega 3 or 6 fatty acids, which if that were the case I’d suggest changing your dog’s diet.

But usually, that fishy smell is coming from your dog’s anal glands.

That’s right, infected anal glands produce a strong fishy odor. Once infected a dog will lick their anal glands and you can guess where the smell stays.

While they might smell other dog’s rear ends when a dog licks their own rear it’s mainly due to discomfort similar to when the scoot across the ground.

You might be thinking ‘I’ll just brush his teeth and clean his mouth and the smell will disappear.’

Unfortunately, that is only a temporary fix, temporary lasting between as soon as you stop brushing until your dog licks his anal glands again. In most cases, straight away.

How do I stop my dog’s breath smelling like fish?


In a healthy dog, anal glands empty on their own when they pass feces. So when this doesn’t happen you usually have two options.

Go to a VET and have them empty your dog’s anal glands, the procedure is minor and very quick.

Or the other option

You are able to perform the procedure yourself, depending on how comfortable you and your dog are with getting up close and personal.

After the emptying the anal glands the smell will begin to clear up over the next couple of days and your dog will return to a ‘normal’ smell.

If his bad breath continues have a look at our best dog toothpaste and mouthwashes.

If the fish smelly odor occurs again, especially after a short timeframe, go to a VET they will once again check everything is okay and in most cases recommend a high-fiber diet.

A high-fiber diet is recommended in order to create a bulkier stool which helps naturally empty the anal glands. I have reviewed the best high-fiber foods for puppies and the best high-fiber foods for dogs.

Your dog’s breath smelling like fish is extremely unpleasant and if left untreated can usually lead to bigger health problems.

So follow the advice above, see a VET or do it yourself. Monitor and make the appropriate changes to their diet and you’ll have a healthier and happier dog.

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