Why does my pug smells like fish? Plus the Best remedy

It took me a couple of years before I figured out why Budhaa, my pug smells like fish. She could roll in various places but still, could come out smelling fishy. The scent was unpleasant and no matter how hard I tried bathing my pug it eventually came back.

pug smells like fish

If your pug smells like fish then it’s due to secretions from his anal glands. The anal glands hold a unique fluid that helps identify your dog as well as marking territory. A good diet is one of the best ways to control the fishy odor.

The other reason why pugs will smell fishy is because of yeast infections in the ears, skin, or feet.

In this article, I’ve shared my tips on how to get rid of the fishy smell safely from your pug without visiting your vet.

Read Also: Best food for senior pugs

Why does my Pug smells like fish?

The reason why your pug will smell like fish or rotten fish like some people say is due to the dog’s anal glands discharge. It’s rare but you might spot some clear or brown mucus-like discharge left on the carpet, couch, or places where your dog loves to relax.

The discharge will smell fishy though it won’t stain the affected surface and will vanish in just a day. A healthy pug discharges through the anal glands under only two normal circumstances: when pooping or when they get scared.

Blocked anal glands will trigger some irritation on your pug and you might spot the dog dragging its anus along the surface to ease the irritation. We’ll discuss later in this article how to know if your pug’s anal glands are full.

The only reason why your male dog will smell like fish is because of the two anal glands located in the rectum. Pooping and when your pug is scared are the only two reasons why healthy anal glands will discharge.

Also, the secretion of the fish smell is common to your female pug. But some smells are only related to female dogs. Female pooches are known to secrete a smell when they on heat and are prone to urinary tract complications compared to male dogs.

What Are Anal Glands?

Also referred to as Anal sacs, the anal glands are simply tiny sacs found on either side of your pug’s bottom. The sacs contain sweat glands that secrete unpleasant fluid that smell is only unique to your dog.

pug smells like fish

This is important when your dog poops, the fluid is attached to the feces and is intended for marking territory and offer various data about your dog to other dogs. The reason a dog will sniff another dog’s tail or poop.

It’s important to note that most dogs don’t need their anal glands emptied unless you detect the fish smell.

The anal gland condition is most prominent with smaller breeds and not a specific type of dog.

The reason why Anal Glands Fill?

The most obvious reason why your dog anal gland will fill and fail to empty on their own is due to the type of food they eat.

When your dog releases a large firm stool, the anal glands are squeezed hence extract small amounts of fluid. However, if the dog stool is small and soft then it will fail to trigger the anal glands and if the trend continues the sac will get full.

Pick dog food that is rich in fiber to help your pug have healthy defecation. Check out this list of the best pug dog food.

Packed anal sacs are painful and hard to express properly. The sacs feel hard when you touch or gently squeeze them.

 my pug smells like fish

Emptying anal sac which doesn’t need to be emptied might end up in some complication so pay close attention to his behaviors. Read along as we discuss tips to help know if your dog’s anal sac is full.

Meanwhile, just let the anal sac be if your dog doesn’t have an issue with them.

Tips to Know if your dog’s anal glands are full

When your pug’s anal glands are packed, he definitely gets uncomfortable and tends to scratch his bottom. You’ll spot the dog scoot their bottom along the floor, bite, scratch, or lick their bottom.

These are the most common signs that your dog’s anal glands are full.

  • The dog will drag their bottom along the floor
  • The bottom will smell fishy
  • The dog will appear depressed and uncomfortable
  • Scratch, lick, or bite their bottom
  • Object when someone gets near their back
  • You’ll note the dog wag his tail less

The most common signs are scooting and the fishy smell. When the anal glands are packed, they’ll leak and the fluid will have the rotten fish smell. The leaking will not only happen when the dog is pooping but also when he is sleeping, picked up, or at rest.

The main reason why your pug will scoot is when he’s trying to empty the anal glands by squeezing them along the floor to ease the discomfort.

Please note that this is completely normal if it happens once in a while and there is nothing to worry about. However, if the condition persists then talk to your veterinary.

How to get rid of your Pug’s fishy Smell

Expressing your pug’s anal gland is easy but can be challenging for first-timers. Also considering the sacs are painful and uncomfortable, the dog can cause trouble even just getting close to them.

First and foremost, I will recommend you get someone to help you hold the dog in place and ensure he is standing and still. Avoid frightening the dog since he’ll end up twisting or clenching his bottom.

There are two ways to empty the anal sec: Squeezing externally or intrusive. I recommend the external method since it’s simply because you squeeze both sacs at the same time and easier if it’s your first time.

1.Before you start this process, ensure you have some gloves on.

2.Then hold your dog’s tail up to give you clear access to the dog’s bottom.

3.Use your index finger and thumb each placed on each side of the dog’s bottom.

4.When you gently squeeze full anal glands, they’ll feel like two large peas. You might notice one sac feels empty. This indicates they were emptying just fine but in the process, one failed for some reasons.

5.To empty the anal sacs, avoid squeezing them. Just gently milk them in an inwards and outwards gesture

6.Watch the dog’s bottom to see if something comes out. Adjust your fingers and the milking angle as well and watch if something comes out. Gently repeat this move until fluid is excreted. (Fluid can be clear, white smooth, or brown grainy)

7.After you see the fluid, keep the fingers in the same position and continue ‘milking’ the glands till you fully empty them. At times the first fluid can squirt out from the first press so don’t let it take you by surprise to avoid scaring the dog.

8. Gently wipe the fluid off the dog’s bottom and ensure they are clean. Lastly, I recommend you give the dog a treat once you successfully finish the whole process.

Note: Unhealthy fluid will have a green look. Anal glands can be infected and become discolored and swollen. When frequently expressed, the anal glands can result in inflammation and cause scar tissue. So do it only when they fail to naturally empty.

Read Also: Best Bowls for Pugs

In a NutShell

A pug anal gland is a common reason behind why he smells fishy. The glands ought to secrete a juice that serves as a form of communication with other dogs.

The anal gland issue is prone to the small and overweight dogs and pugs will likely fall in that category. Should the anal sacs fail to excrete the juice, they eventually get full and will cause discomfort to your dog.

In this article, we have discussed how to check packed anal sac and the best tips to empty them.

I hope you find the information useful and happy stay with your pug.

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