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why does my dog smell like fish

4 Reasons Why your Dog Smells Bad

As dog owners, we all have experienced our own dog “skunking” stories. When it comes to how often should you bathe your dog, there are various advice but it all depends on your dog’s hair length, activity level and skin allergy issue. Most owners bathe their dog every two weeks to two months. Well, it’s up to your own judgment whether your dog started to smell bad though.

Why does my dog smell like fish when I take care of him?

You have bought some expensive scented shampoos and exquisite grooming products for your dog. You have properly bathed him frequently and find him a professional groomer. You have spent a lot of time, effort & money on taking care of him but he still stinks like fish. How to get rid of smelly dog odor?

Bathing can help but it doesn’t help a lot when it comes to the most stubborn smells. And your dog himself doesn’t seem to care. They still play on smelly things and lick gross stuff. Yes, they do need to be washed, but sometimes it is just not a bath that they need. The anal gland problem, dental issues, bacterial infection, and skin problem can all cause unpleasant odors in your dog and might need more than an expensive shampoo and a thorough wash to cure. 

No matter for humans or pets, one of the most common causes of bad smell is bacteria. When bacteria break down protein it can generate odors. For our lovely furry friends, there are several places on their body that are hidden with bacteria, which becomes the cause of their body odors. 

The bacteria they carry on these body parts can be easily transmitted to your living environment, such as carpet and sofa. This is why your house can smell bad as well even when your dog has his shower regularly. Here are the places on your dog that contain the most bacteria which results in the uncomfortable odor from his body and your house.

Why Does My Dog Smell Bad?

Anal Gland Problem 

Why does a dog smell like fish? Anal Gland are two small sacs located on two sides, near to the anal opening. If you find out your dogs started to scoot on the floor, licking or biting their rear end, constipation when pooping, or develop a bad fishy smell, that are some of the common symptoms for irritation with the anal sac. Here are some prevention tips for the Anal Gland problem.

  1. Some small dog bleed requires their anal be expressly regularly via a vet or pet groomer.
  2. Exercise your dogs regularly
  3. Feed your dogs with an adequate amount of fiber
  4. Bathe your dogs with antibacterial pet wipes/pet skin care spray for wounds, rashes, itch relief, inflammation, allergy relief, and hot spot treatment


Do you ever wonder why does my dog's breath smell like fish? One of the common causes of a dog’s stink is a dental issue. Check his teeth!

Generally, 80% of the dogs will have some form of gum disease by age of 2. Gum disease symptoms are not obvious until most of the dog parents only realize it during the later stage. You may watch for the following sign if you are suspecting your dogs are having gum disease.

  1. Loss of interest in chewing food;
  2. Chewing with only one side of the mouth;
  3. Loose teeth.


Dental diseases such as plaque can make his breath smell nasty. You can’t ignore it when he licks your face! Dental plaque is the top cause of his bad breath. When bacteria in his mouth mix with food and drinks that stay on their teeth and are not cleaned off, it can cause the plague. Regular teeth brushing and mouth wash is needed to reduce the chance of your dog being infected dentally. Also, take him for a professional dental cleaning at the pet hospital if he stinks so badly.


Even if your dog is not scratching his ears, he can still get an ear infection. Dogs with allergies are prone to easily getting ear infections. There are two types of allergy issues which are food allergy and allergy to the environment dust or molds. Food allergy may be caused by the protein ingredients in the dog food. Although you might notice they actually always paw at the ears or shake their head, which means they may try to stop the itching and pain.

In fact, what causes bacterial infection in dog’s ears? The ear can be an ideal breeding ground for bacteria because their ears are warm and moist, which can cause ear infections and hurt them, and also generate bad smells. Keep his ears clean by gently removing dirt around the outer ears. Take him to a veterinarian to be examined and cleaned.

Yeast Skin Infections (Dermatitis)

Why my dog smell bad? Another cause of bacterial odors is skin inflammations and infections, which may be due to allergen, wound, irritation, and burn. When the skin of your doggy is infected, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses can take hold of his body. Yeast skin infections are caused by the fungus Malassezia pachydermatis. Humid weather, bacterial infection, and skin irritation develop complications of yeast skin infections. Pet owners may observe the following symptoms to determine if their dogs are suffering from yeast skin infection.

  1. Hair loss
  2. Change in skin color
  3. Bad odor
  4. Frequent scratching on skin

For early symptoms, you may apply an anti-fungal or antimicrobial shampoo or pet wipes on your dogs during bath time. If the fungus can’t be treated, you should take him to your veterinarian for oral medication.

You should accept the idea that a dog just smells, even after a thorough bath with a good shampoo. Bacteria love our furry-friend and you need to know that! Just keep in mind that reducing bacteria in/on their body and in your house is the most important way to remove the stinky dog smells! The best way is to clean your dog with the pet- safe and antibacterial wipes.

This article only represents the author's personal views, and some contents refer to the Internet.

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