All you Need to Know About Dog Bad Breath

dog bad breath

Dogs are not shy, and they love showing love to their owners by kissing and licking their faces. Though affectionate, your dog`s breath can be outright awful. If your dog`s breath makes you say “pee-ew” every time they kiss you, know that you are not alone.

Dog owners from all over the globe suffer from the effects of their four-legged friend`s stinky breath. In fact, the bad dog breath is so common that many pet owners believe that just how things are supposed to be.

However, it should not be so: dog breath is not natural and could even indicate a greater underlying health problem.

While cleaning and brushing your puppy`s teeth might suffice,  bad breath can be sign of a more serious problem that requires veterinary care.

In our dog breath comprehensive guide below, we shall explore all you need to know about the dog breath. We shall look at causes of bad breath in dogs, how to prevent bad breath in dogs, natural remedies of preventing bad breath in dogs, and finally look at how you can improve your dog`s overall health.

Read on.

Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs

Dogs have similar anatomy to that of human beings, so you would expect, most of the causes of halitosis in human beings also double up as causes of halitosis in the four-legged pets.

Major causes of bad breath include;

Poor Dental Health

Poor dental health is the leading cause of bad breath. When you do not brush your dog`s teeth, food particles accumulate in between and around the teeth and gums.

With time, the food rot, consequently releasing the fetid breath.

Additionally, the food stuck in the dental cavities provides the odor-causing bacteria with nutrients, which then accelerates their growth, and triggers halitosis.

Periodontal Infections/Gum diseases

Aside from the bad breath, accumulation of food in the dental cavity in the mouth triggers the formation of bacteria, which result in the formation of periodontal infections or gum diseases.

According to WagWalking, more than 80 percent of puppies have early stages of gum infections by the age of 3, so you should pay close attention to your dog’s dental health.

The presence of dental infections such as gingivitis, periodontitis, tartar and plaque formation lead to an array of dental issues such as tooth decay, dental pain, damaged teeth, among others, all which contribute to halitosis.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Stupine, VMD, Head Veterinarian, Wellness of the Pennsylvania SPCA, signs of gum disease/oral infection in dogs include;

  • Red gums. Healthy gums are pink
  • Swollen gums. Healthy gums are even
  • Damaged teeth
  • A sudden change in eating and chewing habits, probably due to pain
  • Compulsive nose licking
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Loose and rotting teeth
  • Tartar build up
  • Brownish tinge or dark brown spots on the teeth

When it comes to teeth issues, some dogs are more prone than others. For instance, the smaller and flat-faced, brachycephalic breed such as French Bulldogs, are most prone to teeth issues as their teeth are closer together than other breeds.

Dental Tumors

When it comes to bad breath, your dog`s teeth and gums are not only areas for concern.

According to Dr. Kelly Ryan, oral tumors, causes rapid overgrowth of cells for blood vessels to keep up. Without the proper supply of blood, some of the cells begin to die, and when they do, your dog`s breath smells like something dead.

Dietary Habits

While garbage, non-approved substance, and unsupervised snacking can lead to bad breath, even the dog-approved foods and treats can also cause bad breath.

Both the dry and wet foods have their benefits and drawbacks on how their affect your dog`s breath, some foods are generally good at keeping your dog`s overall breath. Wet food, which has more water is good for your dog`s health, says Dr. Stupine.

Nonetheless, if you are still concerned about your dog`s food, you can work with your veterinarian to find the best food option.

Foreign Substances

At times dogs are disgusting and can chew anything that comes along their way including non-food items such as fishing hooks, sticks, and bone. When these objects get stuck in a dog`s mouth or teeth, they can result to bad breath.

At times, it`s common to see the dog eat undesirable thing such a poop and long-dead carcasses, which can cause significant bad breath.


The manifestation of diseases and infections in your dog might be the cause of their bad breath. Some of the popular odor-causing diseases in dogs include;

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

How to Prevent Bad Breath in Dogs

There are several steps that you can take to intervene the bad breath in your puppy. Some of the actionable steps include;

Daily Tooth Brushing

Brushing your dog`s teeth will go a long way in reducing the effects of bad breath. Brushing removes the rotten food particles and bacteria in the mouth.

Do not use the regular human toothpaste, but rather a special dog-formulated paste.

Pick a paste with a flavor you like — vanilla-flavored Triple-Pet toothpaste with tea tree oil is a great choice.

Let them Drink Away their Breath

Water is essential in washing away the bacteria-causing bacteria and food particles in the mouth. Ensure that you always keep your dog hydrated with water.

Chew Toys

For pet owners who do not have sufficient time to brush their pet, safe chew toys are handy in cleaning the teeth.

Watch as your furry friend gnaws the toys and cleans their teeth naturally without you lifting a finger.

Chew toys are not only handy in loosening the plaque build-up and dislodge old food particles but also double up as a playing toy to keep your pet engrossed.

Dietary Changes

If you think that your dog`s diet is contributing to its breath, you should consider working with your veterinary to find the best food option.

Nonetheless, feeding your dog a quality diet full of veggies, nutrients, and healthy grains will keep your pup feeling good inside and outside, which will avoid several other conditions including dental issues.

Sprays, Water Additives, or Mouthwash

Though these products do not treat or rather address the cause of the bad breath, they are a suitable option for supplementing your brushing and any other dental cleaning endeavors.

When picking the product, ensure that you only pick the vet-approved mouthwashes.

DIY Measures to Prevent Bad Breath in Dogs

There are plenty of DIY methods or rather products that you can use to counter the effects of bad breath in dogs.

Some of the DIY hacks include;

Try Coconut Oil for Your Dog: Coconut has excellent antibacterial and antifungal qualities, making it a good solution to dog bad breath. Aside from bad breath, a coconut oil solution is beneficial for good metabolism, immunity, and digestion.

Neem: Like coconut oil, neem has plenty of benefits to the dog as well as human health. Aside from promoting excellent oral health in dogs, it`s also great for the skin.

Cinnamon: Sprinkle breath-sweetening cinnamon to your dogs’ meals at every feeding for fresher breath.

Does your dog have bad breath? Use the above tips and techniques to rid your hound from the breath today. Nonetheless, prevention is always the key to keeping your dog healthy.

Overall dental health is a combination of several practices including regular check-ups, and daily teeth cleaning. It only takes a few minutes of your day to ensure your dog avoids the risk of dental disease or bacterial infections.


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