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Why Does My Boston Terrier Smell Like Fish?

Most breeds of dogs can have a bad smell. Generally, this is normal regardless of the place and lifestyle of the canine. However, there are certain breeds that are prone to foul odour (fishy odour) due to various factors. The Boston Terrier falls into that group of dogs.

This breed of dog tends to stink more than others, which is a crucial aspect when deciding to buy or adopt one.

Why Does My Boston Terrier Smell Like Fish

Generally, Boston Terriers tend to give off various unpleasant odours. One of them is the smell of fish. It should be noted that this aroma does not occur in any situation since the main cause of this foul smell is due to the anal glands.

Anal glands are small sacs located on both sides of a canine’s anus that are filled with sweat glands that often produce an unpleasant-smelling secretion. If your dog smells fishy, it may be due to a problem with its anal glands. Anal sac disease is one of the common causes of this unpleasant odour.

What is Anal Sac Disease?

Anal sac disease is actually a term used to refer to certain anal gland problems. Some of them are:


The anal glands can become infected, causing great pain and swelling in the area. If these infections are not treated in time, they can cause abscesses which will rupture through the skin.

For that reason, many veterinarians recommend immediate care for abscesses; otherwise, your Boston Terrier will be in a lot of pain and require surgery.


Generally, the anal glands are slightly squeezed every time the canine defecates, but there are certain occasions in which the anal sacs do not empty the liquid completely. When that happens, the liquid dries up, and impaction occurs. That is usually very painful for the Boston Terrier. If they are not treated in time, they can produce abscesses.

What Symptoms Can a Boston Terrier Present?

We have already mentioned that one of the most common symptoms of this type of problem is the smell of fish. This scent will be unpleasant for Boston Terrier owners as well as members of its human family.

However, the fishy smell is not the only symptom. Some others are:

  • Difficulty defecating
  • Sounds of pain
  • Bleeding and pus in the stool
  • Discoloration around the anus

Don’t hesitate to take your Boston Terrier to the vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

How to Prevent Anal Sac Disease?

The problems related to this disease cannot always be prevented since we do not know exactly when they will occur. However, there are certain recommendations that you can take into account to try to avoid these problems:

  • You should always carefully observe your Boston Terrier’s faeces as they often give us clues about its health. In this case, if the stools are well-formed, then you should not worry.
  • One of the most effective ways to prevent not only anal sac disease but also other health problems is a good diet. Feeding our Boston Terrier with an adequate amount of fibre will help it be healthy and prevent any problem with the anal glands.
  • Exercise is essential for any breed of dog. Exercise your Boston Terrier for an hour a day by walking, playing, or doing any other physical activity.
  • Make sure your Boston Terrier is always at an acceptable weight, as anal gland problems usually affect obese dogs easily.

How to Prevent or Eliminate the Fishy Smell of Your Boston Terrier?

The most advisable thing to do when you notice a fishy smell in your Boston Terrier is to call a veterinarian since it is possibly a problem with the anal glands, and that is something that you cannot solve on your own. The veterinarian will take care of emptying or extracting the glands manually.

Small dog breeds like Boston Terriers require their anal glands to be removed frequently, but be aware that this can cause inflammation in the area and lead to scar tissue. Your vet will recommend that you do this only when the glands empty naturally.

You can find anal gland wipes and supplements on the market. These can be used when treating anal gland problems in Boston Terriers.

In the event that your Boston Terrier has infected or abscessed anal glands, it is necessary to clean them with an antiseptic and then treat them with antibiotics. In cases where your Boston Terrier has an abscess, your vet will likely recommend placing warm compresses on the affected area.

There are certain anal gland problems that cannot be resolved with treatment. In these cases, they must be surgically removed to solve the problem.