Why does my dog smell like fish?

asked 2017-03-02 16:46:01 -0500

This is a question that we often get from sitters and owners who work with Rover. Help the community out by answering them in our forum!

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answered 2017-03-02 20:31:13 -0500

This points to the yucky problem of needing to empty your dog's anal glands! These glands are meant to secrete fluid, but sometimes they can get blocked or infected. This can lead to many issues, so check with your vet or learn how to empty them yourself using youtube videos or other how-tos.

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answered 2017-03-03 14:34:40 -0500

Usually, when your dog goes to the bathroom, she’ll express a small amount of fluid from her anal glands (also known as anal sac) along with the feces. However at times, the anal glands do not empty enough or even at all. This could be the result of your dog having frequent soft stools or diarrhea. If your dog does not secrete anal gland fluid when defecating, they may begin to get an odor which has a fish-smell to it. When full, the glands may even leak at inconvenient times. This is when the smell will be the strongest. Usually, a hard stool will help your dog naturally express her glands without any outside stimulation. However, if the glands do not get expressed, they might become impacted and painful. Do you ever notice that your dog scoots her rear on the floor? Or does she nip at her behind in an attempt to clean or scratch her rear? These are signs that your dog’s anal glands are impacted. If your dog has impacted anal glands, you may want to consider bringing her to the veterinarian’s office or even your dog groomer to have a professional express the glands. Both vets and groomers are very familiar with this process, making it go smoothly, quickly, and comfortably for the dog.

Another option is for the dog owner to help excrete the anal sacs at home. If you choose to go this route, invest in gloves, and be sure to complete the process in a calm, confident, and quick manner so that it is less uncomfortable for your dog. To express your dog’s anal glands at home, locate the anal glands, and massage the area in an upward pattern until fluid is released. Make sure to have a wash cloth to clean up your dog and give her a nice treat for behaving! If your dog’s anal sac becomes impacted, there is also a chance that infection could lead to further complications for your dog. If you notice any blood when your dog scoots or uses the bathroom, contact your veterinarian immediately, as this may be a sign of infection or an even more serious issue. Feeding your dog a diet rich with fiber, but without fillers will help produce firmer stools. The firmer the stools your dog produces, the more likely her anal sac will be to express on its own.

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