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BBSDTfamily's avatar

My dog's breath always smells like fish. What could be wrong?

Asked by BBSDTfamily (6824points) July 13th, 2009

It is nauseating if he breaths in your face. He is a bullmastiff, so that’s a lot of hot breath he’s blowing around….

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26 Answers

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Oh yeah, and NO he never eats fish.

jamielynn2328's avatar

If his breath smells that horrible, his teeth may be decaying. I had a friend whose dog had the same problem. Take that dog to the doggie dentist!

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Is that something my vet should notice on routine check-ups?

jamielynn2328's avatar

If your vet checks the dogs gums I would think they would notice. How old is your dog?

BBSDTfamily's avatar

almost 3 years old… only eats high quality dry dog food and 1 treat a day

Nefily's avatar

My dogs breath is like this as well, it will smell really bad then go away, I’m really interested in finding out the answer to this as well but her teeth show no signs of decaying or anything along those lines. @BBSDTfamily Is this how your dog is as well? Really stinky breath but nice clean teeth?

jamielynn2328's avatar

I looked it up on the google and it said that if the dog had recently licked their butt, then their anal glands may need to be expressed. I don’t know about that, but that’s the info I saw on the google. A vet could help you out better with that one.

My friend got some teeth cleaning type of treats and brushed her dogs teeth. That solved her problem.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

His teeth look good to me…. may be time for another anal gland squeezing from the vet…

Darwin's avatar

Dogs can also get infections in some part of the respiratory system or the mouth and throat, just as people can. Sometimes that can be a reason for really bad breath. However, you can teach your dog to let you clean his teeth – they sell finger brushes at the various pet supply stores, along with meat-flavored tooth paste.

Of course, it can also depend on what he’s been noshing on out in the yard.

simone54's avatar

I used to date this girl…..

smack's avatar

He is probably eating a lot of fish behind your back.

rooeytoo's avatar

Check the ingredients in the dog food, it could have fish in it or fish oil because it is good for 2 and 4 legged creatures.

Some foods simply cause foul breath. You could try a raw diet for a while and see if that helps. Also raw meaty bones, clean the teeth naturally and give them bone breath which may or may not be preferable to fish breath!

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Not gonna explain further, but I am 100% sure it was the anal glands…..

Darwin's avatar

My dogs’ anal glands do not smell like fish.

Darwin's avatar

@BBSDTfamily – Actually they smell like anal glands, which is much worse than fish. The odor is reminiscent of death and rotting, but more intrusive.

I would prefer fish.

Lovey_Howell's avatar

Most often bad breath is due to dental calculus. Not all vets will recommend dentals on pets until they have exceptionally bad teeth. I recommend dentals on any pet that needs it. Another reason for bad breath is decayed food. If your dog is getting a raw diet or gets table scraps he could have food particles stuck between his teeth decaying and causing bad breath.

Not all treats are good enough to clean your dog’s teeth. There are several (which I would recommend by name but I don’t want to come across as pushing any name brands), which are excellent for cleaning teeth. Personally, I don’t like “Milk Bones” because they the treat breaks apart the moment your dog bites down, scattering pieces all over the floor to be licked up this will not clean their teeth. I also don’t like “Greenies” because they discolor the teeth and cause them to look decayed.

As far as raw diets go in general, I don’t recommend them. They are extremely time consuming on the owner, very costly if you get the right quality of food, and they don’t provide the benefits of a hard crunchy diet (namely cleaning of the teeth). I’m not against someone preparing a raw food diet for their dog, but just know it’s not as easy as going to the store and buying chicken and some veggies and plopping it into your pet’s bowl.

If your dog has bad anal glands and is constantly licking his butt to express them, you can try adding fresh green beans to his diet. Green beans are basically protein. fiber and vitamins. Adding green beans to his diet will “bulk up” his stool, this allows for the dog to express his own anal glands while he is taking a dump sorry for all you sensitve people out there and hopefully keep him from licking his butt.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Lovey_Howell As in raw green beans?

rooeytoo's avatar

With regard to raw diets or natural diets as opposed to prepackaged commercial foods, I have noticed many vets are opposed to them. I think it is because most vets these days sell some sort of high priced specialty food.

This is my personal observation, when I first moved to Australia, there were not nearly as many dogs eating commercial food as in USA. Most were fed table scraps including bones plus raw off cuts from the butcher. The incidence of ear infections, skin problems, and rotting teeth, which are the obvious things that a groomer would notice,
was miniscule. No where near the frequency as in USA where practically every dog I saw had one of those complaints. Now 11 years later, commercial dog food has pretty much become the norm here as well, all these complaints (and I should include anal glands that need to be manually drained instead of nature doing the job itself) are sadly becoming commonplace.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@rooeytoo Yep. There are still some truly natural dog foods out there but most have BHA or BHT in them. I have to make regular trips to have my dog’s uh, “relieved” back there by their vet. I’ve tried learning to just do it myself but haven’t so far.

Lovey_Howell's avatar

@BBSDTfamily yes raw green beans
@rooeytoo I don’t recommend raw diets. I have had bad experiences with owners trying to feed their dogs table scraps and thinking they are getting a well balanced diets. There are plenty of balanced diets out there, but they are time consuming to prepare and costly. After having personally removed bones that were lodged in a dog’s intestine, I strongly urge owners from giving their dog bones of any kind (this also goes for throwing sticks for your dog to catch – which can get caught in their esophagus and/or trachea).

rooeytoo's avatar

@Lovey_Howell – It seems as if in human nutrition the push is to go back to natural, avoid processed, packaged foods, eat raw fruit and veg but for some reason the trend seems to be the opposite with animals. I think it is basically for 2 reasons, first it is so much easier to scoop a couple of cups of stuff out of a bag. I fed it in the kennel because it was easy. Second, a lot of research into dog nutrition is funded by food companies so I sometimes wonder if the results are completely unbiased???

I have not found the cost prohibitive, we all eat whatever is on sale, chicken, roo, beef and fish. I eat the carrot, they eat the peelings, I eat the broccoli florets, they eat the stalk. They are my 4 legged composters. They also eat raw meaty bones daily. The akita and little brown dog are 12 and the young crazy one is not quite 2. All have good teeth, nice coats and no skin or ear problems which is amazing in the tropics.

I speak only from personal experience but there are many vets who advocate raw as well.

Lovey_Howell's avatar

* shrugs * I only request that people who feed raw diets take the time to find out what nutrients, vitamins, and protein requirements your dog has and make sure they are being fulfilled daily. Most people I talk to about home-made diets are very willing to do so until I educate them on their dog’s or cat’s specific dietary needs.

But this whole thing is really waaaaaay off topic. So I’ll just stop there before I go off about people trying to put their cats on vegetarian diets because they are vegetarians.

Darwin's avatar

“people trying to put their cats on vegetarian diets because they are vegetarians.”


tskinner37's avatar

My dogs breath was the same way, I switched to a more natural dog food and it stopped. I read that when you buy dog food made from certain things it can do this. Diet is essential. I was buying Beneful and/or Purina from walmart but bought natural choice from pet depot and it stopped within a few days.

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