Why Does My Dog Smell Like Fish?

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Wondering why your dog has a fishy smell?

The answer could also explain why your dog sometimes awkwardly scoots his behind across the ground or - ugh! - across the nicely carpeted floor.


We hate to say this, but there's no real way to sugar-coat it: Your dog's anal glands may need to be emptied.


It's not pretty, but it's real. It is thought that anal gland disorders affect 12 percent of dogs, and if your dog's been licking his nether-region a lot lately, smelling fishy or scooting around weirdly, he could be suffering from anal gland issues.

When a dog does his business, these special glands, or sacs, are meant to secrete fluid, but sometimes they can get blocked or infected.

If these glands get blocked, your dog could experience pain from an infection or even an abscess - your dog may even act afraid or angry.


Why do dogs have these sacs in the first place? One theory is that what the gland secretes marks the dog's territory.

Another theory is more logistical - it makes the business of doing business on a walk easier, aiding passage.

There are ways to prevent blockage and infection, like feeding your dog food that has enough fiber, making sure he controls his weight by getting enough exercise and learning how to safely empty the glands for your dog at the first signs of blockage.

Ask your veterinarian to help you do this - or, you know, ask your veterinarian to please just do it so you don't have to.


Who knew puppy potty issues could get so complicated?

Now that you know why your dog smells like fish and what to do about it, find out if your dog is actually smiling.