Why Does My Puppy’s Breath Smell Like Fish?


If you have a small puppy, you may have noticed that your pooches’ breath smells really bad or like fish. It may make you worry that there is something that is a problem but fear not! This is not uncommon and can happen due to a list of different reasons. Below is the full guide to why your puppy’s breath doesn’t smell very good, and some tricks and tips to help you get rid of the stinky smells. Keep reading to find out more!

puppy breath smells like fish

Table of Contents

Why Does My Puppies Breath Smell Like Fish?

Bad breath in puppies is caused by their teething. It usually lasts for a few months and is caused by the enzymes in the mouth.

It may smell like poop or fish for a number of different reasons, which I will go through below.

If you think that the fish smell coming from your dog is not actually from their breath, you should look at a blog post I have previously written, which outlines why your dog smells like fish.


The most common reason why your puppy’s breath smells so bad is because of teething. Your little pooch is going through the stages of losing and regrowing teeth the exact same way which humans do. They also have super sharp teeth when they first come through, which you may find out in a not so pleasant way.

Puppy bites can hurt a lot because of how sharp their teeth are, and they do not know the strength of their own jaw. This can lead to some painful bites. So make sure you deal with it in a way that shows that they know not to do it again. You can pull your hand away and yelp in a way that they know they have caused you pain, and then make sure to turn away and ignore them for a little while. This will help to train them to stop biting.

Puppies’ first teeth are sharp and are the equivalent of milk teeth in humans. They are designed to fall out and will be replaced by larger, more blunt permanent teeth.

You may wonder why they feel the need to bite anything they can get their hands on when they are teething.

They do this because it helps to relieve the pain of their teeth coming through. There is no badness in them by trying to bite anything they can get their paws on, they are just trying to relieve the pain.

The smell can be caused by the number of different things that they have in their mouths. Above all, the smell is perfectly normal and will be sure to go as your puppy matures to an adult and grow their permanent teeth.

What about if your puppy has already been through the teething period and still has bad breath? There are a few other reasons why they could have this bad breath.


Coprophagia is a term to describe dogs who like to eat feces.

As gross as it is, there are some dogs who have a taste for poop and as you know, puppies are very curious creatures. A lot of the time they are up for trying anything at least once so do not be surprised if they do take an interest in trying to eat poop.

If they have given some feces a taste, then they are for sure to have some bad breath. Dogs are just like humans and the foods they eat will affect the smell of their breath. If they’ve eaten poop, they will probably smell like poop!

Most puppies with coprophagia are likely to grow out of this phase. In the meantime, you can help avoid this from happening by keeping them clear from their own poop, or poop from other animals by keeping their environment as clean from poop as possible.

The best way to enforce this is by supervising their play time in parks and ensuring that you immediately pick up what they have left behind and throw it away. The same goes for if they have had an accident indoors – make sure it is cleaned up as soon as possible, as this will prevent them from getting a chance to ingest it. If you are taking them out for a walk, make sure to keep them on a tight leash and you can steer them clear from smelling other dog’s feces that have been left behind, preventing them from eating it too.

It is important to keep your dog on a short leash at the beginning so that they are trained on how to be on a leash from the beginning and help them to learn leash etiquette from the beginning.

Puppies Breath Smell Like Fish

Fishy Food

Have you checked what the ingredients are in your puppies’ food?

If the main ingredient in their food is fish, then it is likely that this is the reason why they have fishy breath. As I have previously mentioned, dogs experience bad breath from the foods they eat, just like humans.

You could consider changing your dog’s food to a different brand and this may help to resolve the problem. If you have changed their food and it still smells then it is likely something else is causing them to have bad breath.

How Do I Get Rid Of My Puppy’s Fishy Breath?

Unless you think that their breath smells like this for another reason, they probably just have symptoms of teething. Hopefully, now you will have realized that this is totally normal.

That being said, it still does not make it less smelly. You are probably looking for solutions to this problem. There are two options – you can either ignore it, or you can put some solutions in place to eliminate the odor.

The smell becoming too much for you? Below is a list of tips and tricks which you can try in order to get rid of the smell.

Brushing Their Teeth

You can do this by simply taking a small bit of baking soda and using a brush (you’ll probably want to buy them their own!). You can clean their teeth this way.

Baking soda is great to help remove plaque and bacteria. These are two things that are the main cause for making your dogs breath more smelly.

They might not like this very much, especially at the beginning. If you make a habit out of brushing their teeth, they will get more used to it. They will begin to understand the routine as they grow older. This is a great practice to help strengthen their teeth as they grow older and prevent any dental problems in later life.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is also recommended for brushing your puppies’ teeth. They may prefer this method over using a brush as it will not have the same weird sensation they experience when using a brush.

Apparently dogs also really like the taste of coconut oil too! Just be sure not to use too much. There is a lot of fat in coconut oil and could cause them to put on extra weight.

Natural Remedies

If you would prefer another type of natural remedy, you could always add some herbs to their food. Herbs such as mint, coriander, or parsley can help to reduce the symptoms of bad breath.

Just add in 1/2 a teaspoon to their food or water.

This will not only freshen their breath but will make their water taste better. This may even help them to drink more water and keep them hydrated for longer!

small dog relaxing at a park smiling

Why Does My Puppies Breath Smell So Fishy – Answered!

Young dogs having bad-smelling breath is not a problem and is a very common problem. Usually, it is caused by teething, and if not it is most likely due to something that they have eaten.

This is a common problem in puppies and one that they grow out of as they get older. So there is nothing to worry about unless you feel the smell is getting increasingly worse. In this instance, I would recommend getting it checked out by a vet to make sure there isn’t anything more sinister happening!

If you enjoyed this article, please make sure to check out some of my previous blog posts. If you have any queries or questions, just pop them into the comments section below!

Puppy breath smells like fish – FAQs

Why Does My 4-Month-Old Puppy Have Fishy Breath?

This is most likely caused by your puppy teething. Puppy bad breath can be caused by dried blood stuck under their gums. That being said, the smell should be bearable. If you think the smell is too much and smells really bad, it may be worth taking them to the vet. This is important to make sure they do not have any underlying health conditions.

How Long Does Puppy Fish Breath Last?

Puppy breath usually lasts until they are between 4 months to 6 months old. This smell is usually caused by their teeth coming up during their teething period.