My Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 11/13/21 •  3 min read
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Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

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You’re probably familiar with the term “dog breath.” When we say something smells like dog breath, it usually means the odor or smell is less than pleasant. However, dog breath is completely normal in a healthy dog!

But what happens if a dog’s breath begins to smell really bad?

Has your dog’s breath started to smell like fish? Are you worried this could be a sign your dog is sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog is displaying worrisome symptoms.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what may cause a dog’s breath to smell like fish and what you can do to help your dog. Let’s get started!

First Check This!

Before we start on what can make a dog’s breath smell fishy, the first thing to check is what your dog has eaten. Do you feed your dog raw fish? Does his dog food contain fish? Has your dog gotten into the garbage and eaten some leftover fish? If so, then these could be the cause of a dog’s fishy breath.

If not, then read on to learn about other things that can cause fishy breath in dogs.

What Causes a Dog’s Breath to Smell Like Fish?

There are many reasons a dog’s breath may smell like fish. In this section, we’ll review some of the causes of bad breath in dogs.

Oral & teeth problems: problems in the mouth can cause a dog’s breath to smell like fish. These include gingivitis, rotting teeth, abscessed teeth, and more. Additional issues in the mouth can include oral ulcers, infections, or even tumors in the mouth.

Digestive issues: stomach and digestive issues can also cause a dog to have fishy breath. These include stomach ulcers, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, vomiting, acid reflux disease, which can all cause a dog to have bad doggie breath.

Respiratory infections: an infection in any part of the respiratory tract can cause a dog’s breath to smell fish. The infection may include coughing or difficulty breathing, excess mucus, and more.

Kidney disease: dogs that have kidney problems may develop bad breath. The dog’s breath can smell like fish, ammonia, or even urine.

Liver issues: can also cause bad breath in dogs.

What to Do If Your Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish

If your dog’s breath has begun smelling like fish, then it’s time to call the vet. Unless you know for certain your dog has eaten fish recently (or on a regular basis), then it’s necessary to find the root cause of the smell. Only the vet will be able to definitely determine the cause of your canine companion’s fishy breath.

In most cases, the vet can figure out what’s going on and then treat the problem. Curing the underlying cause usually helps your dog get his normal, healthy doggie breath back again!

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.