Why Does My Golden Retriever Smell Like Fish?

Have you ever been cuddling with your beloved golden retriever and suddenly got hit with a strong fishy odor? It can be quite disappointing to realize that your furry friend’s smell is making it difficult for you to enjoy your time together. But what is causing this foul smell? In this complete guide, we will explore the reasons behind the fishy smell in golden retrievers, as well as the best ways to prevent it from happening again in the future.

We will start by looking at the basics of your golden retriever’s skin and coat and how they contribute to the smell. From there, we will dive deeper into the impact of nutrition and hygiene on the smell of your dog. We will also discuss common health issues that could be the underlying cause of the unpleasant odor and what you can do to address them.

And don’t worry, we won’t leave you hanging. We’ve got plenty of tips and tricks for getting rid of that lingering fishy smell, as well as advice on how to prevent it from coming back. By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with all the information you need to ensure your golden retriever smells fresh and clean, just like they should.

Causes of Fishy Smell in Golden Retrievers: A Complete Guide

Golden Retrievers are known for their plush, silky coat and their friendly and affectionate demeanor. However, unpleasant odors emanating from your Golden Retriever can be a total downer. One such odor is the fishy smell, which can be caused due to various reasons. In this section, we will take you through the possible reasons why your Golden Retriever might be smelling like fish.

One of the most common reasons behind the fishy smell is the anal glands. These glands, located on either side of the dog’s anus, are responsible for producing an oily substance that marks the dog’s territory. However, when these glands get blocked, infected, or inflamed, they can emit a foul odor, which can smell like fish.

  • Diet

Another factor that can lead to the fishy smell is the diet of your Golden Retriever. Some dog foods contain fish or fish oil, which can make the dog’s skin and coat smell fishy. Additionally, a diet lacking in essential nutrients like fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals can cause skin conditions that have a fish-like smell.

  • Skin Conditions
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Skin conditions, such as allergies, bacterial or fungal infections, and seborrhea, can also lead to a fishy smell. These conditions can cause inflammation, redness, hair loss, and flaky skin, which emit a pungent odor.

  • Hygiene

Poor hygiene, such as infrequent bathing, can also cause your Goldie to smell like fish. Dirt and oil buildup on the skin and coat can harbor bacteria and yeasts, which can result in a fishy smell.

In conclusion, various factors can lead to the fishy smell in Golden Retrievers, including anal gland problems, diet, skin conditions, and hygiene. By understanding the root cause, you can take necessary measures to address the issue and help your furry friend smell fresh again.

Understanding Your Golden Retriever’s Skin and Coat

Your Golden Retriever’s skin and coat play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and pleasant smelling pooch. Their skin and coat require proper care and attention to keep them at their best.

Golden Retrievers have a thick, double-layered coat that keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This coat also acts as a barrier that protects their skin from the elements.

Proper grooming, including regular brushing and bathing, is essential to maintain their skin and coat’s health. Knowing your Golden Retriever’s skin and coat type can help you choose the best shampoo and grooming routine to keep them smelling fresh and looking their best.

Nutrition and Hygiene: How They Affect Your Golden Retrievers’ Smell

The way you feed and groom your golden retriever can have a direct impact on their smell. Proper nutrition and hygiene are crucial to maintaining a pleasant scent. Feeding your pet a balanced diet with the right nutrients helps promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Low-quality foods or overfeeding can lead to digestive issues and unpleasant odors. In addition, regular grooming such as bathing, brushing, and dental care can help eliminate bacteria and odors. By taking care of their nutrition and hygiene needs, you can ensure your golden retriever smells fresh and clean.

Common Health Issues That Can Cause Unpleasant Odors in Golden Retrievers

Unpleasant odors in Golden Retrievers can be caused by a variety of health issues. Here are some common ones to look out for:

  • Ear Infections: Golden Retrievers are prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears which can prevent proper air circulation. Bacteria and yeast can cause an unpleasant odor and discharge in their ears.
  • Skin Infections and Allergies: Dogs with skin infections or allergies may develop a fishy odor from the discharge resulting from the irritation and inflammation of the skin.
  • Anal Gland Problems: Anal glands can become infected or impacted and cause an unpleasant odor from the impacted secretions.
  • Dental Issues: Bad breath and a strong odor coming from your golden retriever’s mouth can be a sign of dental issues such as gum disease or tooth decay.
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It is important to address these health issues promptly with the help of a veterinarian to prevent further complications and to improve your Golden Retriever’s overall health and well-being.

Golden Retriever with fishy odor.

Tips and Tricks for Getting Rid of Fishy Smell in Your Golden Retriever

If your Golden Retriever is struggling with a fishy odor, don’t worry – there are several things you can try to help neutralize the smell. Here are some handy tips to keep your furry friend smelling pleasant:

  • Give your dog a bath with smell-neutralizing shampoo.
  • Consider adding apple cider vinegar to your Golden Retriever’s bathwater or filling a spray bottle with a mixture of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. Vinegar has been known to help eliminate unpleasant odors.
  • Keep your Golden Retriever’s ears clean and dry. A fishy smell sometimes indicates an ear infection, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on your dog’s ears to avoid any possible discomfort.
  • Change your dog’s food to one that is high-quality and rich in nutrients. Sometimes, the smell can come from poor quality food or certain ingredients that don’t agree with your furry friend’s digestive system.
  • Brush your Golden Retriever’s teeth regularly. Regular dental care is essential not only for your Golden Retriever’s fresh breath, but also his overall health.

Remember that it’s always best to seek advice from your vet if you’re unsure about what is causing the unpleasant smell. With some care, attention, and regular bathing, your Golden Retriever will soon be smelling like a champ again in no time!

Smelly retriever.

Prevention, Maintenance, and Care for a Healthy and Fresh-Smelling Golden Retriever.

Preventing and maintaining a healthy and fresh-smelling Golden Retriever requires your attention and care. Here are some tips to ensure your pooch always smells great:

  • Regular Bathing: Bathing your dog every 4-6 weeks is essential to keep them clean and fresh-smelling. Use a mild dog shampoo to avoid stripping their natural oils.
  • Brushing: Brush your dog’s coat regularly to remove dead skin cells, dirt, and loose hair. It also helps to distribute natural oils that keep their coat shiny and smelling fresh.
  • Dental Care: Regular brushing and dental check-ups can prevent bad breath, gum disease, and other dental issues that may cause unpleasant odors.
  • Balanced Diet: Feed your Golden Retriever with high-quality dog food that contains essential nutrients. Avoid table scraps and feed them in moderation.
  • Regular Exercise: Exercise helps in regulating metabolism and digestion, promoting a healthy weight and preventing constipation, which can cause an unpleasant odor.
  • Regular Check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to prevent and detect any health issues that may cause a fishy smell.
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By following these tips and giving proper attention and care to your furry friend, you can ensure they are always healthy and fresh-smelling, making your Golden Retriever a joy to be around.

Ear InfectionIf your golden retriever has an ear infection, it can cause a fishy odor. This is especially likely if the ear infection is caused by yeast which can produce a strong, musty odor.
Anal Gland IssuesGolden retrievers can have problems with their anal glands not emptying properly, leading to fishy smells. Sometimes the problem is related to diet, but other times it may require veterinary attention.
Rolling in Something DeadGolden retrievers, like many dogs, may roll in something dead or otherwise smelly. These odors can be difficult to remove and may linger even after a bath.


In conclusion, a fishy smell in your Golden Retriever is not uncommon. The causes can range from poor nutrition and hygiene to underlying health issues. Understanding your dog’s skin and coat is crucial to properly addressing the problem.

Providing your dog with a healthy diet and regular grooming can greatly improve their overall scent. It is important to also be aware of any potential health issues that may be contributing to the smell.

Regular veterinarian check-ups and addressing any concerns as soon as possible can prevent more serious issues down the line. By implementing some of the tips and tricks mentioned in this guide, you can help ensure that your Golden Retriever remains healthy and smelling fresh.

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