Why Does My Dachshund Smell Like Fish?

The main reason why your Dachshund smells like fish is most likely because their anal glands are full of fluids, and they need to be expressed.

If you notice that your Dachshund suddenly developed a distinct fishy smell, you will need to get them to the vet as soon as possible to get checked out.

This brief article will explain why your Dachshund smells like fish and how you can help them get better.  

What Are Anal Glands?

Anal glands, which may also be called anal sacs, are tiny sacs near the lower sides of your dog’s anus. 

These sacs are filled with fishy-smelling fluids that are released when your Dachshund passes their stool. This fluid is also released naturally when your dog tries to mark their territory.

why does my dachshund smell like fish

What Happens If My Dachshund Can’t Naturally Express Their Anal Glands?

If you notice that your Dachshund is having a hard time relieving themselves, their anal glands are most likely not draining fully or adequately.

Anal sacs that aren’t fully drained can lead to fluid build-up, leading to stool being impacted. If the impactions are not treated, your Dachshund can develop an infection or abscesses.

Is It Normal For My Dachshund To Have Recurrent Anal Gland Problems?

Yes, it is normal for them to have recurrent anal gland problems as most smaller breed dogs have anal gland issues. 

Signs That My Dachshund Needs Their Anal Glands Expressed

Common signs that your Dachshund is having issues with their anal glands are:

  • Scooting or dragging their bottom around the floor
  • Your Dachshund is giving off that powerful fish scent
  • They are sitting uncomfortably
  • They are trying to lick or bite their anus area
  • Red or sore looking anus area

How Can I Help My Dachshund With Their Anal Glands?

If you noticed that your Dachshund smells fishy and they are scooting their backside around your house, it is probably time to take them to their vet for a check-up. 

When you take your Dachshund to the vet, they will be able to tell you how to best proceed quickly. 

Your Dachshund’s vet will be able to express their anal glands to help release the fluid. In addition, if there is impacted stool, your vet may give your dog a laxative or an enema to help remove it. 

Other things your vet may recommend to you are dietary changes or pet supplements to help. 

Recommended Dietary Changes

Your vet may recommend adding more fiber into your dachshund’s diet to prevent issues with their anal glands. 

Sometimes your dog may pass loose stool or stool that is too small, so it won’t put enough pressure against the anal glands to release their fluids. 

To fix this problem, you can add pumpkin to your Dachshund’s meal once a day to help make the stool firmer. 

Supplements For Your Dachshund

You mustn’t diagnose or treat your Dachshund with medicine or advice from the internet as there could be an underlying issue that you are not aware of. 

Seek help from your dog’s vet to ensure that there aren’t any tumors or anything more severe before treating your Dachshund on your own. 

Your vet may recommend adding supplements like Pro-Fibre, or they may recommend a brand of dog food that is high in fiber.

Another recommendation your vet may make for your Dachshund is probiotics. Probiotics can help maintain a healthy digestive system to produce firmer stools. 

Can I Express My Dachshund’s Anal Glands Myself?

Even if you aren’t squeamish and you are ready to help express your Dachshund’s anal glands, you should not do it on your own without consulting your dog’s vet.  

If you attempt to express their anal glands and do improperly, you may cause their stool to be impacted. If you express their anal glands with too much pressure, you may damage the anal sacs, leading to a nasty infection. 

When in doubt, it is better to leave the anal gland expressing to the professionals to prevent hurting your dachshund or causing any other problems.

Will My Vet Have To Remove My Dachshund’s Anal Glands?

Even if you have to bring your Dachshund to the vet periodically to have their anal glands expressed, you may not need to have their anal glands removed. 

You can fix most problems with your Dachshund’s anal glands by changing their diet, giving them supplements to help with bowel movements, or just coming in regularly to have them expressed. 

Removal of your dog’s glands would be the last resort as it can lead to incontinence. Always speak with your vet about your options if you are unsure. 

What Would Be Another Reason My Dachshund Smells Fishy?

If your Dachshund is not scooting their bottom on your floors and their anus is not red or inflamed, they may just be releasing the fluid from their anal glands to mark territory. 

Another reason that your Dachshund can smell fishy is that they are afraid. 

Environments that may be frightening to your Dachshund (i.e., fireworks, thunder, or other loud noises that may startle them) can cause them to involuntarily release their anal gland fluids as a response to fear. 

Anal Gland Aftercare For Your Dachshund 

After your Dachshund’s anal glands have been expressed, it is best to give them a nice warm bath to clean off any residual anal gland fluid. If you are not able to bathe your dog, wiping around the anus area with a wipe will also suffice. 

How To Prevent Future Anal Gland Issues 

You can take preventative measures to help prevent your Dachshund from having future anal gland issues. 

Final Thoughts

Most anal gland issues that your Dachshund has can easily be fixed with increased fiber, supplements, or a quick trip to the vet. 

It is okay if your Dachshund needs to constantly go to the vet to have their anal glands expressed; don’t try to do it at home unless you are confident in your skills and you have already discussed it with your vet. 

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