If you have noticed an unusual odor coming from your dog’s mouth that has an unpleasant, fish-like smell, there are a few potential causes that you may need to investigate. If he is on any fish oil supplements, then that may very well be the simple answer! Even if you are not adding Omega-3 oils or other fish products to his diet, many commercial dog foods are enriched with such supplements, so check your labels. In this case, you could try using treats specially designed to freshen breath and other methods of masking the odor, since you know it is because he is on a beneficial supplement and the smell is not being caused by a health problem.
There are some easy natural ways that can freshen your doggies’ breath. Make sure his eating bowls are cleaned every day with soap and water. Try to brush his teeth regularly. You can also incorporate breath freshening fruits and veggies into his diet such as parsley, carrots, and treats made with fruits and veggies. Giving him a soup bone from the butcher’s counter every few days can also improve his oral hygiene.
If the smell is not related to fish products in your dog’s diet, it could be caused by a less savory problem such as kidney, liver, or anal sac dysfunction. Yes, you read correctly, there may be something wrong with your dog’s animal sacs.
Most people are familiar with the fact that dogs like to mark their territory and seem to make a point to sniff the rear ends of other dogs that they meet. This is because dogs produce special chemicals in their anal sacs that are released when they urinate and deficate that leave a kind of “trademark” scent used by other animals to identify the dog. When a dog has something going on that causes them to have diarrhea or otherwise produce stools that are not firm enough to help these glands release their fluid, it can lead to dysfunction of the anal sacs, causing a fishy odor.
Thats not all. The problem that could be the reason why the dogs breath smells fishy is the fact that many dogs use their tongues to clean their rear end and if they are feeling itchy or irritated due to the backed up glands, they will increase the licking of this region, getting the smell in their mouth. Or, they may be eating their own fecal matter and ingesting the fishy anal sac fluid. As unpleasant as this may sound, careful observation of his behavior and a trip to the veterinarian will help you find out what you need to know to track the source of the fishy breath!
If you suspect liver or kidney dysfunction (often accompanied by jaundice, loss of interest in eating, vomiting, behaving as though very thirsty, drinking more water than usual, and lack of energy), it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, as it is very hard to treat these problems without knowing exactly what the diagnosis is and may require procedures such as having intravenous fluid administered or antibiotics to treat infection.
The best way to help your veterinarian diagnose the problem is to give them detailed information about his diet, bathroom habits, and behavior, as well as any changes in his routine.