Strange as it sounds, dogs do emit an odor right from under their tail. While dogs do not mind the smell, dog butt smells can be unpleasant and embarrassing for the pet parent.
Imagine the cutest puppy running towards you, and you scoop them up to embrace them. But then you notice an odd smell on the animal that reeks of rotting fish.
Revolting right? But imagine if it is your dog with such an odor in the presence of guests. Things can get awkward for both of you.
So why exactly does a dog’s butt smell like fish?
Dog butt smells explained
All dogs have two anal sacs located in the anal region. These sacs secret a fish-like smell that dogs use for scent marking.
Interestingly, each dog secrets an anal fluid that is unique to them. When other dogs pick up this scent, they can get so much information about the other dog. Now you know why dogs love to sniff each other’s rear during their meet and greets.
The anal sacs secrete a tiny amount of fluid when a dog is defecating. A healthy dog’s stool should be firm enough to press against the glands when pushing. This motion the sacs as the dog defecates.
When a dog is not secreting fluids from the sacs when defecating, the sacs become impacted. As the sacs fill up, they start to leak the foul-smelling fluid, causing dog butt smells.
What causes dog butt smells?
Anal sac malfunction
Diet plays a major role in ensuring your dog secretes anal sac fluids while defecating. Not feeding on a healthy diet or sudden dietary changes can alter the consistency of dog poop. When poop gets softer than usual, it will not press on the anal sacs as it comes out. The dog struggles to secret anal fluids leading to dog butt smells.
Anal sac disease
Any disease affecting the anal region can affect how the anal sacs work. Anal sac disease is rampant in toy breeds and overweight dogs. Large dog breeds rarely get anal infections.
Anal sac impaction
Impaction happens when the anal sac fails to drain all its fluids. Residual fluid dries and hardens inside the sac. It can cause inflammation and become very painful for the dog. Anal sac impactions can occur when;
- The dog’s stool is not firm enough.
- The dog is overweight.
- Anomalies in the anal sacs
Anal sac infection
Infection is a sign that the anal sacs have been impacted. As the infection spreads, you will notice swelling and discoloring around the anal region. An abscess can form that gets painful when it raptures.
Anal sac tumor
Though uncommon, dog butt smells may be an indication of a tumor in the anal glands. If untreated, the tumor can metastasize and spread to other parts and become fatal. A biopsy and ultrasound help identify the tumor.
Symptoms of a dog butt smell
The first symptom is the fishy smell coming out of the dog’s rear. Another sign of the condition is when a dog starts to scoot on the floor.
Other symptoms to look out for include;
- The dog feels pain when you touch its tail
- Difficulty in defecating
- Dog bites or licks under the tail
- Dog winces when defecating.
- Blood or pus in the stool
Other risk factors of dog butt smell
Toy breeds like the Chihuahua, Cocker Spaniel and Poodle are at risk of developing a smelly butt. Also, medium-sized dogs that are overweight run the risk of developing the condition.
Underlying conditions like hypothyroidism or bacterial/yeast infections can trigger dog butt smells. Dogs with food or environmental allergies are at risk of getting the fishy smell too. A dog with skin mites can have the infection spread to the rear region. It puts them at risk of anal gland infection that leads to the dog butt smell.
Diagnosing and treating dog butt smells
A vet will examine the dog’s anal sacs to see if they are full or hardened. A foul smell from that area also confirms the condition. If there is swelling or skin discoloration, the vet will provide medication to clear the infection.
How to treat dog butt smells
Treatment depends on how mild or severe the condition is. In mild cases, the vet will drain the anal sacs to get rid of the odor.
How to treat dog butt smells at home
It is easy to treat dog butt smells at home. When you train yourself on what to do, your pup will find relief, and you can offset the vet’s fee.
Treat dog butt smells at home involve manually expressing your dog’s anal sacs. A caring vet will show you how to do it to save you the trip next time.
Be gentle and patient when expressing your dog’s anal sacs. Using force can cause more pain and injury.
How to express your dog’s anal sacs step by step
- Have the dog in a standing position with someone holding the animal still.
- Make sure you are wearing latex gloves to prevent passing germs onto the dogs. Latex gloves are lighter and allow you to feel around the anal sacs better.
- Hold the dog’s tail up and gently locate the anal sacs. They will feel like two full peas below the anus and flanking it to the sides.
- The anal sac openings are near the anus. When expressing the sacs, gently milk towards the direction of the anus.
- Never use any force as this can cause your dog discomfort. Gently knead the sacs in the direction of the anus until fluids start coming out.
- You will know the sacs are empty when they feel deflated.
- Be patient as it can take a while to drain the anal sacs. If it does not happen on the first try, let the dog rest before trying it again.
Smaller dogs may need their anal sacs drained regularly. It keeps the odor at bay and prevents any discomforts or infections.
Hardened anal sacs need softening before draining them. Warm saline water is ideal for moistening the sacs. Saline water is a natural antiseptic that fights infection and reduces inflammation.
Surgery helps remove hardened anal sacs that are severely damaged. It will end the dog butt smells for good and not affect the dog’s quality of life. Some dogs may develop incontinence
, albeit it is rare.
How to prevent dog butt smells
Altering your dog’s diet is the first method to prevent his butt from smelling. If your dog’s stool is soft or runny, take them to a vet for an examination. If there is no underlying disease, then feed your dog meals that help harden his stool.
Add more fiber into your dog’s diet. Fiber adds volume to your dog’s stool. This will allow the pup to express its glands naturally when defecating.
Hydrate your dog regularly as well. Water softens the stool making it easy to push and prevent constipation. Constipation is not only painful for a dog, but it can bruise your dog’s anal glands causing them to malfunction.
If your dog does not drink that much, try adding Bullyade pet supplement to his drinking water. Bullyade supplement has a chicken or beef flavor that can entice any dog to drink. Furthermore, Bullyade packs vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes to boost your dog’s ability to fight infections and disease.
Regularly check your dog’s poop for consistency. Any sudden changes could mean an infection or digestion troubles. Your dog’s stool will always tell its current health condition.
Get in the habit of exercising your dog. Play and exercise prevent obesity in dogs. Activity keeps the organs healthy and energized.
If your dog’s butt smells, draining the anal sacs will help cure the problem. To prevent future complications, feed your dog a high fiber diet and loads of freshwater. Exercises are good to keep your dog’s weight in check. Also, regularly check your dog’s stool for any changes or anomalies.