You cannot hold your furry friend responsible for their bad breath. Neither can you expect them to take care of their dental hygiene. Yes, we know you do your best to keep the bad breath away, but sometimes even your best is not good enough. Bad breath in pets can be a symptom of some underlying problem that may be causing difficulty. Sometimes, it is related to dental problems, at others, it could be related to their gut.
If you have persistently noticed bad breath for days, then you need to get it checked with a medical professional to find out the reasons for such bad breath.
Dog Breath Smell Like Fish- Causes
We will not contest if your dog’s breath smells like fish or rotten eggs. We know what you are talking about. Now, this smell could be because of many reasons, but to begin with, let us keep our diagnostic efforts bare minimum. Let us look at the most surficial problems first.
1. Dental Hygiene
Before exploring other options, it is essential first to single out the most basic ones. Yes, there was a mention of exploring the “surficial” problems first. Still, if your dog’s breath has begun to smell like a fish, then chances are that the problem is not that surficial after all. When the food keeps getting stuck in your dog’s teeth, it leads to the growth of plague. It doesn’t happen in one day. Your dog’s oral health could have been compromised for weeks, months, or even years.
There is nothing to worry about in such a case, but it is always better if you get to know about the problem early. Because the longer you wait, the more will be the problem. When not removed in time, Plague tends to turn into tartar, which can even lead to gingivitis. Your dog’s breath can become bad at any stage, but if you have noticed an unpleasant change in their breath, it is best to take them to their vet for further treatment.
The next thing is related to the first point itself. If your dog is eating something they are not supposed to, it can also lead to bad breath. For example, if your dog is eating too much fish, their breath is bound to smell like fish. This is not something to worry about, but if you are not feeding them fish deliberately, you might want to find out what is causing this sudden change in their diet. Dogs tend to explore their surroundings through their mouths; chances are they have been eating something you do not have any knowledge about, which is causing the bad breath.
All the problems related to diet can be resolved with lifestyle changes. First, ensure that your dog gets enough opportunities to get involved in physical activities.
3. Medical Problems
Some medical conditions can also lead to bad breath in dogs. This one could be slightly serious as it may be a symptom of underlying health issues. Most of the time, dogs could be releasing the excessive acid in their stomach through their mouth. If this continues for a few days, the smell in their mouth could turn bad. This may also happen if they are unable to poop properly.
These medical problems are common and can be cured with the help of a vet in a couple of days. After that, they would be put on medication, and the acidity situation will have to be fixed from the root to relieve your dog from any stomach issues as well as bad breath issues. Of course, if the problem does not turn out to be as severe as to be put on medication, then you can use some home remedies to resolve the problem.
Should You Worry About Fishy Dog Breath?
Dogs are vulnerable to some diseases, and fishy breath is one of the symptoms which indicate that all is not well with your dog’s health. While some of the health issues associated with a fishy smell may be mild, others can be severe.
A fish-smelling breath may be a sign of dental problems that your dog is dealing with, like plaque, inflamed gums, cavities, and tartar. Or, it can also mean that some foreign particle is stuck in your dog’s teeth. These are mild issues, although if left untreated, they can eventually lead to decay and tooth fall.
A fishy breath can also indicate sincere and underlying health issues in your dog.
For instance, it can imply renal problems in your dog, as it can change the smell of your dog’s breath. But in addition to bad breath, renal failures will also have symptoms like loss of appetite, dehydration, and lethargy. Besides, diabetic dogs can suffer from another severe condition called ketoacidosis, and this condition also needs to be treated aptly.
Besides, a fishy smell from your dog may also be an indication that it suffering from some anal sac-related diseases, like infections and tumors. If you see that your dog is scooting its anal area on the ground, be prepared to take it to the vet.
Dog Breath Smell like Fish – Remedies
In extreme cases, it is highly advisable that you get in touch with your pet’s vet. However, there are some ways in which you can treat your dog’s bad breath in the comfort of your home. As discussed earlier, smaller problems can be easily treated. Still, it is important to keep in mind that temporary solutions won’t suffice if you want your pet’s overall well-being. That is why, be it oral hygiene or acid issues. You need to look at the root cause and ensure that you make lifestyle changes to avoid such troubles regularly.
1. For Dental Troubles
The most basic thing to do in order to ensure your dog’s dental hygiene is to clean their teeth each day. After eating fibrous food, brushing their teeth becomes even more important. Apart from this basic habit, you can get your furry friend a chewable toy that can work wonders for their dental health. It is mostly meant for dogs with teeth troubles and to allow aggressive dogs to relax. Still, active chewing can also help prevent any food from getting stuck between your pet’s teeth.
It would be best if you also took your pet to regular check-ups and, in extreme cases for specific treatments. You need to let the professionals take charge after doing and trying your best. Their bad breath may cause trouble for your or people around you, but a bad cavity could cause pain and discomfort for your pet.
2. For Gut Problems
You need to ensure that you provide your pet with a healthy and nutritious diet. A balanced diet with fibrous food can help regulate their gut. It would help if you taught them healthy eating habits to avoid any future troubles. Just as they need adequate food for a healthy bowel movement, they require water. Keep them properly hydrated to aid their digestive system and maintain the ph balance in the body.
Mostly when dogs are not properly fed, they tend to find other things around them and gulp it down their throat without any thought. Both the situations can be harmful to their gut and create gastric issues that may be causing their mouth to smell like a fish.
3. For Serious Medical Conditions
A bad smell could be an indication of troubles related to their liver or even kidney. There may not be a direct or an apparent relation visible here. Still, you need to be extra cautious if you cannot find other reasons to explain their breath smelling like fish. Keep their vet updated on their health status to avoid any unnecessary trouble. You must make it a point to take your furry friend on regular walks or try to involve them in some physical activity to keep them on their toes. You need to watch out for any sudden change in their behavior or their eating habits.
4. Can Diet Cure Stinky Breath in Dogs?
Please remember that a dog’s diet impacts its overall health, and a healthy diet can significantly improve your dog’s stinky breath. As a dog parent, you can always try to include some food items with your dog’s lunch or dinner, which will help them.
Try to include garlic cloves, yogurt, mint, parsley, carrots, and apple slices in your dog’s diet, as these foods improve their digestive system and dental health. Besides, adding half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water bowl and adding supplementary probiotics can also cure your dog of its stinky breath.
Dogs are prone to various health conditions, and if your dog’s breath smells like fish, it can mean a lot of things. To begin with, dogs often suffer from dental problems, like swollen gums and tartar. Besides, your dog may have cavities or abscesses in its teeth and mouth, which has resulted in fishy breath.
Additionally, some foreign particles like sticks or food pieces may have gotten lodged in your dog’s mouth when it was playing or eating, which is the reason behind this bad breath.
According to the American Kennel Club, taking good care of your dog’s dental hygiene, like brushing its teeth, maybe the easiest solution. You can also try to give your dog dental treats and chew toys, which prevent the formation of tartar and plaque and can improve their dental health.
Water additives are also an option that you can try to stop bacterial build-up inside its mouth. Besides, try to ensure a balanced diet and take your dog for regular exercise and walks, as these steps can improve its overall health.
Most often, bad breath in dogs indicates dental issues like swollen gums, tartar, and plaque. However, if your dog has bad breath for a long time and even after taking care of its dental hygiene, there is no visible improvement; it may be a serious issue.
Chronic bad breath may be an indication of gastrointestinal and respiratory problems. Besides, it can also be an indication of diabetes and liver and kidney problems. These diseases can make your dog’s breath smell metallic, and in this case, you should contact your vet immediately.
There are certain natural remedies to deal with the issue of your dog’s breath. Apples and carrots are a few of such remedies. Both of these snacks are healthy and are highly recommended by vets as these can take care of your dog’s breath and teeth issues. Apples contain malic acid in them, which helps in fighting bad breath. So, you can give your dog some apple slices, which will keep your dog’s breath fresh for a long time.
If your dog’s breath has been smelling like a rotten fish, then hopefully, after reading this entire blog, you would have had some idea about what might be causing it. After a systematic analysis, you won’t find it difficult to reach a conclusion and take immediate action to resolve the problem. All you need to do is to keep track of their behavior, check their mouth frequently, and notice if they are chewing on anything other than their food.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.