Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.
Help! My Dog's Breath Smells Like Fish (or Poop)!
Is a fishy, poopy, or otherwise awful scent wafting from your pup's mouth whenever you go in for a kiss? ''Doggy breath'' is a term often used to define the typical odor that originates from a dog's oral cavity. Sometimes, the breath smells acceptable and almost pleasant, especially in small puppies that are just being weaned. At other times, the stench is unbearable, especially in dogs that do not have good oral hygiene.
Why Does My Dog Have Bad Breath?
- Dental Decay
- Foreign Objects
- Anal Glands
- Kidney Disease
- Gastro-Intestinal Disorders
Causes of Foul Dog Breath
Following are some of the most common causes.
1. Dental Decay
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80 percent of dogs by age three have some form of oral disease. Periodontal disease, gingivitis, a tooth abscess, an oral ulcer, or even oral cancer are some of the most common dental issues.
2. Foreign Objects
Carefully inspect your dog's mouth and look for any foreign objects (grass, hair, sticks). If something is stuck in his teeth, then the foul breath will likely disappear once the object is removed.
3. Anal Glands
Are you smelling some odd, fishy scent in your dog's breath, like he stole your can of sardines? It could be his anal glands. So, how can anal glands be the issue if the bad breath is coming from the opposite end? The answer is simple. Your dog just licked his anal gland and very likely expressed them. Tada!
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This technical term describes a dog's obnoxious habit of eating poop. It can be his own poop, your neighbor's dog's poop, or even your cat's. In any case, they all translate into one result: foul breath!
A fruity smell may indicate diabetes. If the scent is similar to nail polish remover, then it may be a symptom of ''ketoacidosis,'' a potentially fatal diabetic complication that needs immediate veterinarian attention.
6. Kidney Disease
Breath resembling sour urine may be indicative of kidney problems.
7. Gastro-Intestinal Disorders
Sometimes the problem originates in the stomach or in the intestinal tract.
If All Else Fails, Consider a Raw Meat Diet
There are various causes of foul breath. So what should you do if Rover gives you a smooch and sends you running away to seek cover in the dog house? Take him to the vet for a routine check-up.
If your vet has already excluded all medical causes, you may want to consider putting your pet on a raw meat diet. Owners of pets on raw meat diets claim that their dogs have more pleasant breath. If this is not feasible, simply pass down the breath mints. There are a lot of minty pet products that will make your dog's breath smell much better.
Regularly Brushing Your Dog's Teeth Can Help Reduce Dental Decay
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2009 Adrienne Farricelli