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Dr. Angela
Dr. Angela, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1384
Experience:  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with 10 years experience.
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What causes the dogs breath to smell fishy

Customer Question

What causes the dog's breath to smell "fishy"?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Angela replied 7 years ago.
The food they eat and the fact that they can't brush their teeth combine to cause the odor you are smelling. If you are finding the bad smell overpowering, you can try brushing his teeth. You can get a dental kit from any pet store. My favorite dental kit has a toothbrush that fits over your fingertip and you are able to brush the dog's teeth by simply running your fingertip over his teeth. They sell poultry flavored toothpaste to use when brushing. This will help his breath and the health of his teeth tremendously. If there is a good deal of hard material (calculus) on his teeth, he may require an anesthetic dental cleaning at your vet's office to remove the calculus and clean under his gums. Again, this will help the health of his teeth and subsequently, his breath, tremendously. I hope I have fully answered your question. Please let me know if you have more questions about this.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you. We have a boxer and he is extremely excitable. It is hard for us to clean his teeth, cut his nails or even dry him off when he comes in from the rain. We have a Christmas party scheduled for next weekend and need for him to be as calm as possible so he is not jumping on everyone. What is the best way to get past this problem? It is a major problem.
Expert:  Dr. Angela replied 7 years ago.

Is he neutered?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
He has not been neutered. We had heard that it helps but we had a different dog neutered before and it didn't do anything to calm him down.
Expert:  Dr. Angela replied 7 years ago.
Intact male dogs (not neutered) have testosterone in their system. Testosterone causes dominance and sometimes aggressive behavior. Intact male dogs are generally more unruly than neutered male dogs because of the testosterone in their system. We usually recommend neutering dogs before they reach adulthood. Removing the testosterone from their system before they have a chance to acquire secondary sexual dominance behaviors is the best way to prevent the type of problems you are describing (jumping, unruliness). So, in your case, where your 3 year old intact male dog is displaying these problems, neutering may not be the complete solution to the problem. Since he has already acquired these behaviors, neutering alone is not going to completely take care of the situation. Rigorous training in addition to neutering is what I would recommend. I would start a program of absolute intolerance of him jumping. NEVER ALLOW HIM TO JUMP ON ANYONE. Anytime he jumps, take his front paws and place them on the floor. This will likely have to be repeated over and over before he starts to "get it" and learn that jumping is not acceptable. When he does sit quietly, reward him and shower him with attention. It sounds simple but, as you probably know, it will require repeated reinforcement. Neutering will help too but not immediately. It will take some time for the benefits of neutering will be observable. Unfortunately, sometimes even after neutering an adult dog, they continue to display dominant behavior because they have gotten used to behaving that way. However, neutering him may help in this department. It certainly won't hurt anything. I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have more questions about this.