Metallic smelling discharge from a male dog? What is it?

Scientists estimate that your canine companion’s sense of smell is ten thousand to a hundred thousand times better than yours. Your sense of smell is not ineffective, though. You might not have the nose of a bloodhound, but your human nose can still pick up on different aromas. This sense of smell is an important observatory skill for every pet owner.

Why does your male dog’s discharge have a metallic odor? Now that’s a weird question to ask! A strange scent coming from a pet is sure to make any pet parent anxious. Any change in your dog’s discharge color, smell, consistency, and amount should alert you about possible concerns.

If you’ve noticed discharge with an iron-like smell coming from your male dog, don’t panic. We’ll get into why this is happening and how you can help your pooch in a minute. Relax, take a deep breath, and keep reading to learn.

Why Does My Dog’s Discharge Smell Like Metal?

A fishy or metallic smell could stem from either the bum glands or the urinary tract. If the bum glands have a problem emptying out, they usually secrete their scent marking fluid which has a pungent metallic odor. On the other hand, if this smell is associated with the genitals, it could potentially be a sign of a urinary tract infection. In that case, this stench will emanate from your dog’s urine and his smegma (yellow-green penial discharge).

The bum glands are small kidney-shaped sacs around the anus that is filled with sweat and sebaceous glands. These glands produce a metal-like stench that dogs use to mark their territory and ward off strange dogs. Due to obesity, a poor diet, chronic diarrhea, mite infestation, and other chronic skin infections, these glands may become overly full and cause your dog to feel uncomfortable. A tangy metallic odor around the bum, licking of the bum area, and thickened glands are associated with bum gland impaction.

If this discharge arises from the genitals, the likely root cause is a urinary tract infection. A metallic smell is conventionally linked with the presence of blood. So, you should check this discharge for hints of bleeding in the genital region. It is impossible to make a definitive diagnosis until you see your vet.

Is it normal for a male dog’s discharge to smell like metal?

No, metallic-smelling discharge from your dog is an anomaly and should never be overlooked. The only time where you should notice a metallic smell is during defecation (when the bum glands are emptied) and in your young pet’s breath during teething. If this smell is coupled with the excessive licking of his penis, weird discharge color, and signs of pain or lethargy, you should get your dog checked by a vet at once. Your doctor will be able to pinpoint the issue and help you resolve it.

One of the possible alarming causes of a tangy discharge in male dogs is a UTI. UTIs are downright uncomfortable and come with signs like cloudy urine, straining to urinate, licking around the penis, having more accidents, and in worse cases, a fever. On their own urinary tract infections are a pain; however, if left untreated, they can lead to more severe conditions. Untreated urinary tract infections often lead to blood poisoning, prostate gland inflammation, and kidney failure.

As a responsible pet parent, your ability to perceive any change in your dog’s behavior, look and smell is important. In the same way, being able to differentiate between normal and abnormal events will help you, and your pet live a long and healthy life. These changes help you detect any illness and fight it before it gets worse. So, if your male canine produces discharge with an iron-like smell, you should reach out to your veterinarian.

What Should I Do if My Dog’s Discharge Smells Like Metal?

If you notice this weird smell coming from your dog’s discharge, check the rest of his body for an overall metallic smell. Also, check your dog’s breath for metallic breath stink. Verifying that this smell is coming only from the discharge will narrow down the possible causes. This quick judgment also assists the veterinarian in making a diagnosis.

Next, check your dog for any bleeding parts and look out for any other symptoms. Symptoms to look out for include blood urine, changes in urination behavior, a fever, and diarrhea. Arm yourself (and your vet consequently) with this information. Your vet will probably run various tests like a rectal exam, urinalysis, urine culture, urine microscopy, and for a more detailed diagnosis, an ultrasound.

Unfortunately, if your dog’s discharge smells metallic, there isn’t much you can do. Ensure that he stays home, stays clean, and eats a balanced diet. You must keep the environment clean to prevent reinfection until you get a diagnosis from your medical practitioner. Once your vet determines what you are dealing with, follow his instructions religiously.


Metallic-smelling discharge from your male dog is not a common complaint, but it happens. Despite its rarity, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. By reaching out to your veterinarian and following his instructions, you will put your dog on the path to safe recovery and prevent his condition from worsening.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!