Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Like Fish?

Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Like Fish?

How to Express Your Dog’s Anal Glands

The first step you’ll want to take when expressing your dog’s anal glands depends on the size of your pooch. If you have a large dog, you’ll want to kneel behind him. If you have a little guy, you’ll put him on a small counter or table.

Next have a friend of family member – yes, this is a two-person job – gently restrain your pooch. Put one arm under and around the dog’s neck, and put the other around his body, closely hugging him.

From there, strap on a pair of latex or latex-like gloves – never conduct an expression without them. Lubricate your index finger with either a water-based lubricant or petroleum jelly.

The next step is to carefully lift up your dog’s tail and very gently insert your index finger into your dog’s butt, about one inch forward. Gentleness is the key here, as anything remotely harsh may really startle the dog.

You’ll then want to feel around for the gland, with your index finger on the inside and your thumb on the outside. You’re looking for an object about the size of a marble or a pea, depending on the size of the dog. These should be set at roughly the five o’clock and seven o’clock positions.

After the gland has been located, put a paper towel between your hand and your dog’s anus. Gingerly “milk” the gland toward you by placing pressure on the gland’s far side and squeezing toward you. The amount of pressure to apply is roughly the same amount that you’d feel comfortable with applying to your own eye when it’s shut.

At the end of the anal squeezing, the gland itself should be empty. You’ll barely be able to feel it once it’s been unloaded. Be sure to wipe the area clean before moving on to the other gland.

Again, if you express the glands yourself, do not make it a habit to do so. Over-expression does more harm than good, such as causing even more gland back-up. This in turn causes even more discomfort for your pooch.

What if the Fish Breath Keeps Coming Back?

An expressed anal gland should spell the end of your pooch’s fishy breath. Yet if you find that if the fish odor returns sooner than later, you may have a situation in which the anal glands clog on a recurrent basis. If you’re supposed to take it easy with the gland expressions, what do you do?

If your pooch’s anal sacs are perpetually impacted, your vet may put him on a diet that’s high in fiber. The reason for the extra fiber is to make his poop bulkier, which will in turn put more pressure on the anal glands as the stool passes through. This added pressure in turn will force the glands to do their job.

If it remains a problem, your vet may recommend a surgical procedure called an anal sacculectomy. As the name may imply, this procedure is marked by the removal of the anal glands. It is a relatively simple procedure, and although the dog may experience incontinence afterward, such after-effects are rare.

Keep that Breath Clean!

Canine bad breath can be an indicator that you need to step up your pooch’s oral hygiene game. However, when you get past the putrid smell of your pooch’s breath, pay attention to the odor the breath is bringing. It could be a sign that something else is going down.

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