What causes fishy breath?

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A reader asks how to tackle her dogs's smelly breath, YD expert Vicky Payne advises.

Q: My dog’s breath smells very fishy, but when I’ve checked his teeth, they look OK for an 11-year-old. His gums are a healthy pink colour and I can’t see any sign of inflammation. Should I get the vet to check him over or is there any way I can tackle his smelly breath?
Fiona Martin, Hampshire.  

Vicky says:  Fishy breath may be due to over-full anal glands rather than being an oral problem. The anal glands cause discomfort and the dog licks to try to relieve the pressure, leading to rather unpleasant breath! Some older dogs are prone to lip fold infections, which can be another source of odour. If your vet rules out dental disease, lip fold problems, and anal gland problems, then try brushing your dog’s teeth every day with an enzyme-based toothpaste to keep the breath fresher. There are also food supplements that can reduce plaque bacteria (and therefore odour) from the mouth.

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