Why does my dog’s urine smell fishy? Tips and Tricks

Your dog shouldnt be smelling fishy, and its certainly not pleasant for you as a dog parent. The causes of a fishy odor can range from something benign and easily fixable, like their diet, to a sign of something that requires medical attention, like anal gland issues.

So, if your dog has the fishy smell specifically in times when theyre scared, its likely this is whats going on. Do anal glands typically emit different scents based on different emotions? Think we need to just clarify if thats the case.

To avoid this, Finn says you can simply switch your dogs diet to include non-fish-based protein. But make sure to speak with your vet before making any drastic changes to your poochs diet as it could lead to gastrointestinal discomfort like diarrhea or vomiting.

How to treat it: Treatment will depend on how severe your dogs dental disease is. Ireifej says treatment options include:

Your vet can help determine what the cause of the fishy smell is and decide the best course of treatment to get your dog feeling –– and smelling –– better.

A veterinary dental cleaning can give your dog fresh breath

Nothing can replace the effectiveness of a veterinary dental cleaning. By the time your dog has bad breath and severe periodontal disease, this is the best—and really the only—solution.

Let me hop up on my soapbox for a moment. I want to stress the word “veterinary” when it comes to dental cleaning. An “anesthesia-free dental” simply won’t cut it. In order to deal with your dog’s dental problems, most of which are hidden under the gumline, your dog needs to go under general anesthesia.

I know it can be scary to think about anesthesia. You might be wondering, “Is my dog too old for anesthesia?” But it really is the safest and most effective approach. Anesthesia allows your vet to take dental X-rays to evaluate the jaws and tooth roots, scale the teeth to remove tartar, polish them, and extract any diseased teeth. Without anesthesia, a dental cleaning is primarily limited to scraping the tartar off the visible surfaces of the teeth.

(To learn more, read the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) guidelines on nonanesthetic dentistry.)


If your dog has a UTI (urinary tract infection), his or her pee may smell fishy. UTIs are caused by a buildup of bacteria entering the urethral opening and can be treated with antibiotics, so make sure you give your vet a call if you suspect this is the issue. UTIs can become more serious (and painful) if left untreated.

Why Does My Dog’s Pee Smell Like Fish? Reasons Why Dogs Pee Smell Like Fish Explained

No matter how much you love your dog, you probably don’t love all of their smells — especially if he or she is emanating an undersea odor. If something smells fishy with your dog, here are a few possible explanations: