How To Get Rid Of Fishy Smell From Dog

Dogs can sometimes smell fishy, and it’s not something you can just ignore. This can be a difficult problem to solve, as the fishy smell can be hard to get rid of. If you’ve encountered this dilemma, you may have wondered about how to get rid of the fishy smell from dogs.

It’s a good thing that there are plenty of ways to go about solving this issue. We will tackle the methods in more detail as we go.

Why Do Dogs Smell Fishy Sometimes?

Dogs can smell fishy for a number of reasons. It could be due to their diet, or it might be a medical condition. Let’s take a look at the most common causes:


If your dog’s diet consists mostly of fish, then it should come as no surprise that they would smell fishy. You can solve this problem by changing their diet and adding more variety to their meals.

It’s important to note that it’s not safe to feed fish to your dog. This is because fish have plenty of small bones that can easily get stuck in your dog’s throat.

Medical Conditions

There are a few medical conditions that can cause your dog to smell fishy. The most common one is an infection of the anal glands. This can be treated with antibiotics. Another condition is called fishy odor syndrome, which is caused by a build-up of bacteria in the coat. This can be solved by giving your dog a medicated shampoo bath.


It could also be that your dog is just coming into contact with a lot of fish. If you live near a body of water, make sure to rinse your dog off after they’ve been in it. This will help to remove any fishy smells that might be clinging to their fur.

If you’re not sure why your dog smells fishy, it’s best to take them to the vet for a check-up. They will be able to give you a definitive answer and help you find a solution.

Understanding Infections in the Anal Gland in Dogs

Infections in the anal gland are one of the most common reasons for a fishy smell in dogs. The anal glands are two small sacs located on either side of the anus. They produce a foul-smelling substance that is used to mark territory. If these glands become infected, they can leak pus and cause your dog to have a fishy odor.

Anal gland infections can be painful and uncomfortable for your dog. If you think your dog may have an infection, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible. Treatment will likely involve antibiotics and may require the glands to be drained or removed surgically.

Anal Expression In Dogs

Anal expression is the process of manually emptying the anal glands. This is typically done by a groomer or vet, but some owners learn to do it at home. The glands are expressed by gently squeezing them until the contents are expressed.

Some dogs require regular anal gland expression, while others only need it when they are having problems. If your dog smells fishy and you suspect their anal glands may be the cause, make an appointment with your vet or groomer.

However, it’s important to note that you should entrust this process to a professional as it can be easy to hurt your dog if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Understanding Fishy Odor Syndrome in Dogs

The fishy odor syndrome is a medical condition that can cause your dog to have a fishy smell. The syndrome is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestines. This condition can be uncomfortable for your dog and may cause weight loss, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you think your dog may have this condition, it’s important to take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

While fishy odor syndrome is a serious condition, there are some simple things you can do at home to help reduce the fishy smell coming from your dog. We will delve deeper into this later on.

How To Get Rid Of Fishy Smell From Dogs?

Now that we know why your dog might smell fishy, let’s talk about how to get rid of the fishy smell.

What You’ll Need:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A clean cloth or sponge


Step 1

The first step is to give your dog a good bath. Use a mild shampoo and make sure to rinse them well.

Step 2

Once they’re clean, you’ll want to use a vinegar rinse. This will help remove any lingering odors and also help restore the pH balance of their skin. To make the vinegar rinse, simply mix equal parts of water and vinegar. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

Step 3

Pour the mixture over your dog’s coat, massage it in, and then rinse thoroughly with warm water. If your dog’s fishy smell persists, you can try using a baking soda bath. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and can help remove strong odors.

To give your dog a baking soda bath, mix one cup of baking soda with two cups of warm water. Pour the mixture over your dog’s coat and massage it in. Let it sit for five minutes.

Step 4

Rinse your dog thoroughly with warm water.

If you’re still noticing a fishy smell, it’s time to consult your veterinarian. There could be an underlying medical condition that’s causing the odor. Your vet will be able to determine if that’s the case and provide treatment accordingly. In the meantime, continue using either the vinegar or baking soda baths to help mask the odor.

How to Prevent Fishy Smell In Dogs

There are a few things you can do to prevent your dog from smelling fishy. These are:

Keep your dog’s coat clean and dry

The most important thing is to keep their coat clean and dry. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, make sure to give them a bath at least once a week. You can also use a pet-safe shampoo in between baths to help keep their coat clean and free of any dirt or debris.

Feed your dog a high-quality diet

Another way to prevent a fishy smell is to feed them a high-quality diet. This means choosing foods that are rich in omega fatty acids, like salmon oil. Omega-fatty acids help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy, which can also reduce the risk of developing any fishy odors.

Consider using a natural probiotic

If you’re looking for a more holistic approach to getting rid of fishy smells, consider using a natural probiotic. Probiotics help promote a healthy gut flora, which can also help reduce fishy odors. You can find natural probiotics at most health food stores or online.

By following these simple tips, you can help reduce the fishy smell from your dog and keep them smelling fresh and clean. However, the most effective method is still to bring your dog to the vet for a check-up to rule out any potential medical conditions.

If you’ve ruled out any medical conditions and your dog is still smelling fishy, then consider trying the bathing process highlighted above. Use vinegar or baking soda to help remove any lingering fishy smells. Be sure to rinse your dog thoroughly to avoid irritation.

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Has a Fishy Smell?

If your dog has a fishy smell and it’s accompanied by other symptoms like excessive scratching, hair loss, or hot spots, then you should definitely bring them to the vet for a check-up. These could be signs of a skin condition called seborrhea which can be treated with medicated shampoo.

Another potential cause of fishy-smelling dogs is an anal gland infection. If your dog’s anal glands are infected, they may need to be expressed or removed by a veterinarian.

Fishy-smelling breath in dogs can also be a sign of dental disease so it’s important to schedule teeth cleaning with your vet if you notice this symptom.

While most cases of fishy smell in dogs are not a cause for concern, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any potential health problems.

When To See a Vet

You should see a vet if the fishy smell is accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • itching
  • red skin
  • bumps or rashes on the skin
  • excessive licking or scratching
  • bald patches
  • bad breath

If you’re unsure of the cause of your dog’s fishy smell, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian. They can help you determine the underlying cause and provide treatment options.

FAQs About Fishy Smell In Dogs

What home remedy gets rid of the fishy smell in dogs?

Home remedies that get rid of fishy smell in dogs include:

  • brushing your dog’s teeth regularly
  • bathing your dog with a hypoallergenic shampoo
  • rinsing your dog’s coat with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

Why is my dog letting off a fishy smell?

Your dog is letting off a fishy smell because it may have an infection or skin condition. Fishy smells can also be caused by poor dental hygiene, food allergies, and certain medical conditions.

How do you empty a dog’s glands?

To empty a dog’s glands, you will need to take them to the vet for a professional anal gland expression. This is a procedure where the vet manually empties the dog’s anal glands.

How do I make my dog less smelly?

You can make your dog less smelly by regularly bathing them with an allergenic shampoo and rinsing their coat with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. You should also brush their teeth daily and take them to the vet for regular check-ups.

How do you know if your dog’s glands are full?

You will know that your dog’s glands are full if they are scooting their butt on the ground, licking their anus excessively, or if you notice a fishy smell coming from their hind end. If you think your dog’s glands are full, you should take them to the vet for an anal gland expression.

How can I express my dog’s glands naturally?

You can express your dog’s glands naturally by massaging them with your fingers or using a warm washcloth. You should also make sure that you are feeding them a high-quality diet and giving them plenty of exercise.

Why does my dog’s butt stink?

Your dog’s butt may stink because their diet is not high quality, they are not getting enough exercise, or they have an infection. If you notice that your dog’s butt smells bad, you should take them to the vet for an examination.

What to feed dogs to express glands?

There is no specific food that you need to feed your dog to help express their glands. However, feeding them a high-quality diet and making sure they get plenty of exercise will help keep their anal glands healthy.

Can dogs express their own glands by licking?

No, dogs cannot express their own glands by licking. If you notice your dog licking their anus, it is likely they are trying to soothe an itch or they have an anal gland infection. You should take them to the vet for an examination if you notice this behavior.

Final Thoughts

So, how to get rid of the fishy smell from dogs? The best way is to take them to the vet for an examination. You can also help by feeding them a high-quality diet and making sure they get plenty of exercise. If you notice your dog licking their butt more than normal, it may be a sign that their anal glands need to be expressed. Therefore, you need to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

by Nicole Barnett

Nicole has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. She has three dogs, two of which she rescued from the streets. When not furiously typing away at her computer, you’d either find her chasing after her adorable dogs and kids, or volunteering at a local shelter.

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