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Why Does My French Bulldog Smell Like Fish?

Does your Frenchie smell like fish? If you’ve noticed this strange and irritating scent comes from your French bulldog’s body, it has nothing to do with his diet. The odor actually comes from your Frenchie’s anal glands, and it can be often a sign of an issue.

What are anal sac glands on French bulldogs?

Anal sac glands are located on both sides of a dog’s anus. They contain sweat glands that release the unpleasant-smelling secretion that serves for marking territory. When your Frenchie poops, this secretion is contained in feces, so other dogs get information about dogs in their vicinity. This is also the reason why our pooches tend to sniff on other dogs’ poops when we take them for a stroll.

Many dog owners describe this odor as a bit ‘fishy’, so if you’ve noticed that this occurs in your pet, we recommend you check his tail pocket.

French bulldogs might not have tails, but they have tail pockets that can become smelly. That’s why you should regularly clean this area not only because of the stinky odor but also because of the possibility to develop an infection.


When the anal sacs are not completely emptied, the smelly fluid stays in the sacs and becomes dry. This can happen when a Frenchie has a soft stool, so the fluid causes an impaction. The sacs are very hard to touch and can turn out to be very painful. If you leave them untreated, the sacs can become abscessed and cause severe infection. Stuck anal sacs more often occur in smaller and obese dogs because their glands do not empty well.

What are the symptoms of anal sack glands infection?

Besides a previously mentioned fishy odor, a Frenchie will scoot on the floor, have issues with defecation, and lick his anus to release the discomfort. The anal sacs will also appear discolored and swollen, causing your Frenchie further pains and complications.

In some cases of an infection, a Frenchie will have signs of blood or puss with poop, and a hard lump near the rectum.

How to treat smelly odor coming from your French bulldog’s anal sac glands?

A problem with your dog’s anal glands can be solved at your vet’s office. A vet will clean this spot from discharge that looks like a thin ribbon of pasty, brown material. Some Frenchies will need frequent cleaning and even diet changes to prevent further issues.

To clean this spot, your vet will use a softening agent and possibly a saline rinse. In case of infection and abscessed sacs, your pooch will require an antiseptic as well as an antibiotic to treat the infection.

The tips that can help in preventing anal sac disease

  • Encourage your Frenchie to drink plenty of water during the day.
  • Take him on daily walks to prevent obesity. Avoid feeding him with commercial treats.
  • Regularly check for signs of blood or puss in your French bulldog’s stool
  • Feed your Frenchie with a well-balanced diet that contains enough fiber