How To Get Rid Of Dog Gland Smell? – 4 Reasons Your Dog Smells Like Fish

Dogs often give out an unpleasant odour and there is usually no need to be concerned. It is completely normal for a dog to emit a fishy or metallic smell from the anal area as that is how other dogs identify its sex, mood, health and age. In this write-up, we are going to talk about when to be concerned regarding your dog’s anal gland smell, causes of anal gland issues that require attention, and discuss how to get rid of dog gland smell.

1. What is a dog gland smell?

The dog gland smell is nothing but the peculiar smell that comes out of a dog’s anal glands. It is one of the common unpleasant aromas that you could smell from dogs, especially if you have a furry friend at home. Dogs have two anal sacs or anal glands, which are situated on the lower sides of their anus.

Dogs may ‘express’ their anal sacs when they are scared, emitting an unpleasant odor. These anal glands produce a smell which many people describe as fishy, metallic or even rotten. Though it is completely normal for a dog’s anal glands to smell unpleasant, if the odor gets stronger than usual and is persistent, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, chances are that there is some problem in their anal glands.

2. What causes dog gland smell?

The anal glands in dogs are filled with specialized sweat glands, which produce an unpleasant fish-like smell. Producing a distinct smell is one of the many reasons that their anal glands exist in the first place. This smell lets the other dogs know about the smelling dog’s mood, sex, age and health. Here are some causes of anal gland issues in dogs that need your attention.

2.1. Abnormal anatomical structure of the pet’s anal gland and/or ducts

Some animals are born with narrow or kinked ducts and this abnormal anatomic structure of ducts causes obstruction in the flow of gland secretions. Also, pets who have recurring gland issues may also develop narrow ducts as a result of recurring inflammation in the area and subsequent formation of thickened scar tissue.

2.2. Obesity

Obese pets are more prone to developing anal gland problems though the exact reason is unknown. It is suggested that excess body fat causes a cushioning effect; this results in less pressure on the anal glands during defecation. This could be the reason why obesity could make your pet more susceptible to developing anal gland issues.

2.3. Food or Environment Allergies

Some dogs have food or environment allergies that make them more susceptible to anal gland problems. This can happen as a result of inflammation which in turn results in narrowing of the ducts or an increase in the secretion of anal glands. Both of these conditions cause incomplete emptying of the anal glands. Incomplete emptying of anal glands is likely to cause a stronger and more persistent smell around the area.

2.4. Abnormal or Inconsistent stools (such as diarrhea or constipation)

Dogs that have inconsistent stools often have affected anal glands either because their faecal matter is too soft (in case of diarrhoea) to express their anal glands properly or they have constipation due to which their anal glands aren’t expressed regularly.

3. How to get rid of dog gland smell / How to manage and treat my dog’s anal gland problems

You should take your pet to the veterinary doctor to manage or treat your pet’s anal gland problems effectively. Once the vet has detected its underlying issue, treating or managing the problem will be easier. No one solution fits all animals; therefore, it is important to detect the exact cause of the individual animal in question.

Here is a list of common management and treatment options.

3.1. Modifications in your pet’s diet

Your pet should be given a healthy diet that contains adequate fiber. Fibre will help bulk up their feces, thereby emptying the anal glands effectively. You could also use a fiber supplement such as psyllium husk.

3.2. Semi-regular expression of the animal’s anal glands

Apart from dietary modifications, your pet may also benefit from semi-regular expression of its infected or inflamed anal glands. This can be done once every 2-3 months or even longer, depending on the condition of the animal.

3.3. Using Topical and/or oral inflammatories and antibiotics

Suppose your pet’s glands are already inflamed or infected. In that case, your doctor is likely to prescribe a course of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications to keep the infections and inflammations under control. In more severe cases, your pet may require an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory infusion directly into the anal glands whereas in less severe cases, oral medications are enough to cure or treat the problem.

3.4. Performing a surgery called Anal Sacculectomy on your pet

In severe cases of anal gland problems, a surgery called anal sacculectomy is performed in animals to cure it. In this procedure, both the anal glands of the animal are removed and as there are no anal glands left after that, your pet will never face anal gland problems again. If done incorrectly, this procedure can lead to complications like nerve damage, so you are advised to go to a specialist surgeon for this procedure on your pet.

4. Should I express my pet’s anal gland problems at home?

Though it is possible to express your pet’s anal glands from the outside eat home, you are advised not to do so. You should always go to a professional or a vet to express the animal’s glands if you are not careful enough, expressing the glands from the outside may cause further inflammation in the area and worsen the situation.

5. How to prevent dog gland smell?

Though the dog gland odour is strong and unpleasant, it is easy to prevent. Proper diet, clean water and regular grooming can help control this odour. To keep your pet healthy, you should also monitor you pet’s stools to check for consistency. Here are some tips that will help you prevent dog gland odour.

5.1. Giving you pet a diet rich in fibre

It is important to give your pet a diet rich in fiber. Fibre promotes healthy digestion and thus can help in preventing anal gland problems. Your dog’s diet should contain foods high-fibre foods like vegetables, pumpkin, or specialised dog food that has been designed to support its digestive health.

5.2. Monitoring your pet’s stool for consistency

Loose or soft stools are likely to fail to stimulate the anal glands during bowel movements. This, in turn, can lead to blockages and odor problems. If you see inconsistency in your pets faecal matter, you should talk to your vet regarding your dog’s potential dietary or health issues promptly.

5.3. Giving your pet regular showers and regular grooming

Give your pet regular showers to prevent the build-up of odor and discomfort. A clean and well-groomed animal is less likely to develop problems. You should pay attention to the anal area while you’re grooming your pet and use dog-specific wipes (for example, Glandex Wipes) in order to maintain cleanliness between baths.

5.4. Offering your pet plenty of fresh, clean water

Proper hydration is important for your pet’s overall health and digestion. Your pet should always have regular access to clean and fresh water. You should refill your dog’s water bowl regularly, especially during the summer or after exercise. This will make the dog less prone to constipation and prevent issues with the anal glands.

5.5. Providing your pet with probiotics and digestive supplements

Probiotics and digestive supplements could be a valuable addition to your pet’s everyday routine. These supplements help maintain the balance of gut bacteria and thus promotes smooth digestion. Healthy digestion prevent anal gland problems. For example, Glandex Chews contain prebiotics and probiotics to promote healthy GI functioning as well as soluble and insoluble fibers to help firm and bulk your pet’s faeces.

6. Conclusion

Though all dogs smell like fish sometimes, if it gets severe or stays for a long period, there may be an issue with the dog’s anal glands. To keep your pets healthy and for effective control of dog gland odor, you need to understand and manage their anal gland issues. If your dog has a strong, persistent smell around the anal area or shows additional symptoms, take it to the vet as soon as possible and treat the underlying anal gland issue. With proper diet and regular grooming, you can prevent your pet from smelling fishy and keep it fresh instead.

Last Updated on March 21, 2024 by Gautam