Is your dog’s breath enough to knock you out? While it’s normal for your canine’s breath to have an unpleasant whiff from time to time, it’s a different story if the awful smell is intolerable. Like in humans, chronic bad breath or halitosis in canines can be due to various reasons. But whatever that is there’s always a way to eliminate bad breath in dogs safely.
In this post, I will share the proven methods I used to solve my pet’s bad breath. Still, it’s important to remember that each dog is different and so is the reason behind its halitosis. When in doubt, it’s always recommended to consult your dog’s veterinarian instead.
Why does my dog’s breath smell bad?
Bad breath in dogs is a very common problem. After all, canines aren’t known for good dental hygiene, and it’s up to their owners to ensure that they will have fresh breath.
But if you’re wondering why your doggo’s breath suddenly smells awful, the following might be the reasons why:
🐶Eating something nasty
Dogs put everything in their mouths, including foul-smelling items. Others would even eat feces and foreign substances with an unpleasant odor. This is the reason why some dogs tend to have bad breath all of a sudden.
The good thing is that this problem is easy to solve. A nice tooth brushing session would usually remove the bad smell. If not, your dog might be suffering from the succeeding conditions.
A rotten tooth, infected gums, and abscesses will also lead to bad breath in dogs. Take note that both the smell and the condition will get worse over time if not treated.
To check if your dog has dental problems, you should inspect its mouth. Lift your dog’s lip and see if its teeth have discoloration or if the gums are swollen.
Take note that most dental problems are caused by poor dental hygiene. While dogs can naturally clean their teeth through chewing, it’s not enough to eliminate tartar deposits.
One of the tell-tale signs of kidney disease is foul breath in dogs. Specifically, the dog’s breath will smell like ammonia or something reminiscent of urine.
It’s a sign that the kidney is no longer removing toxins from the body as it should. In the process, the toxins remain and will soon cause a foul smell on the dog’s urine and breath.
Take note that no amount of brushing can remove the bad breath of canine suffering from kidney disease. Also, canine kidney disease will only become worse if you don’t seek treatment for your pet.
Like kidney disease, diabetes can also give your dog’s breath an unusual smell. This time, the smell will be something fruity or sweet as your dog’s blood sugar level increases.
Aside from that, uncontrolled canine diabetes will start to weaken the dog’s immune system. This will allow various bacteria to overproduce inside its mouth. In the long run, the sweet smell will turn foul.
Again, health problems like diabetes never go away on their own. In fact, many dogs that suffer from diabetes often need life-long care to manage their condition.
Your dog’s food might be the reason why it has stinky breath. Dog food products with a fish flavor often have a strong smell, which can linger in your pet’s mouth.
Brushing your dog’s teeth will help remove the odor. However, you should also know that stinky dog food also tends to result in stinky farts and poop.
Also, bad breath can be a sign that your dog isn’t digesting its food well. It might be time to switch to a new formula with the supervision of your pet’s veterinarian.
Some dogs suffer from a condition called fold dermatitis. It affects the skin on the dog’s lips as well as the vulva and tail folds.
This happens because the lip fold is always exposed to saliva. The constant exposure to moisture and bacteria will allow infection to grow. Over time, the infected lip will develop a foul smell, which some pet owners perceive as bad breath.
If you notice that your dog’s lips are swollen, reddish, irritated, and discolored, you should get it checked for fold dermatitis. This condition can get worse and give way to more forms of infection.
How to eliminate bad breath in dogs
If your dog is suffering from bad breath, the following steps will help combat the foul odor:
🐶Brush your dog’s teeth regularly
The very first step in curbing halitosis in dogs is brushing their teeth regularly. Also, you shouldn’t wait for your pet to develop bad breath before practicing proper dental hygiene.
When it comes to dental problems, being proactive is always the best move. Take note that regular brushing alone can help prevent a series of dental problems that cost thousands of dollars to treat.
To brush your dog’s teeth, you should purchase a canine toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs. The good thing with dog toothpaste is it comes in different savory flavors to make brushing a rewarding experience for your pet.
In general, you should brush your dog at least once a week. And if you have the time, daily brushing is the most ideal.
It’s important to get your dog used to brushing at an early age, so it will be more cooperative once it reaches adulthood.
🐶Consider using water additives
You can pair regular brushing with water additives. These are liquid drops that you can mix in your pet’s water bowl. It’s formulated to neutralize bad breath, help reduce plaque buildup, and combat dental infections.
Take note that water additives should only be used as a complementary solution. It’s not a replacement for brushing or regular vet checks.
Water additives are often tasteless, but you can find them in flavored versions to entice your dog to drink. Also, it’s important to consult your dog’s vet first before using this if your pet has a history of stomach upset.
🐶Provide chew toys
Chew toys aren’t just used for fun and keeping your dog occupied. It plays a big role in your pet’s dental health.
This is because chewing helps prevent tartar buildup and bad breath. As the chew toy rubs on your dog’s teeth, it scrapes off dirt before it hardens into plaque.
Moreover, chew toys act as a toothbrush for your pet. Still, you shouldn’t use it as a replacement for regular brushing.
Aside from that, it’s important to remember that chew toys come in different sizes and stiffness. You should pick one that matches the size of your dog. In general, small breeds should never be given very stiff chew toys as they will damage their teeth.
🐶Give dental chews
Aside from chew toys, dental chews will also help combat bad breath. Unlike other treats, dental chews like Greenies are formulated with breath-freshening ingredients.
However, you should know that dental chews should only be given once a day. Too much can upset your dog’s tummy. If you wish to provide a snack to your dog, you should purchase a treat for this purpose or simply give a few pieces of kibble.
Also, you should supervise your dog while it’s gobbling on a dental chew. While edible, your dog can choke on the treat anytime. It’s best to be around, so you can intervene if an emergency like this happens.
🐶Cover your garbage bins
Dogs are notorious dumpster divers, no matter how much you feed them. Their curious noses will always take them to your garbage bin, especially if you dumped food items. Worse, your dog will eat thrown food items even if it’s spoiled or already rotten. This leads to a foul breath.
To prevent this from happening, you should always cover your garbage bins. This way, the smell won’t waft and reach your pet’s nose.
Aside from preventing your dog from dumpster diving, covering your bins will also block feral animals from rummaging through your trash. It will also prevent critters and flies from congregating on your property.
🐶Add probiotics to the dog’s diet
Probiotics can do wonders on your dog’s digestion, which can also promote a good balance of oral bacteria. If paired with other tips here, probiotics will help keep your pet’s breath fresh.
Aside from that, your dog will suffer from fewer bouts of digestive problems since probiotics also help regulate gut bacteria.
In the market, you can find probiotic treats made specifically for canines. Overall, probiotic supplementation in the form of pills or tablets isn’t usually necessary. After all, your dog can get its dose of good bacteria through a balanced diet.
🐶Sprinkle chopped parsley on your dog’s food
If your dog ate something nasty and has bad breath, a dash of chopped parsley can help a lot. This herb is a natural breath freshener, which you can add to your dog’s meals.
Make sure that you chop the parsley into small bits, so your dog can chew and swallow it. However, ensure that you’re not giving spring parsley to your dog since this variety is toxic.
Aside from curbing bad breath, parsley is also a good source of antioxidants. It helps with kidney health and immunity while giving a dose of anti-inflammatory benefits. So if your dog is already suffering from arthritis, a regular dose of parsley will help reduce the pain it’s experiencing.
Take note that not all dogs are fans of parsley. If your dog doesn’t like the herb, don’t force it. Instead, you can try the other tips I discussed here.
🐶Use a dash of coconut oil
Coconut oil is also said to help with a dog’s bad breath. You can use it as a food additive on your dog’s meals.
Moreover, coconut oil is known for its benefits on a dog’s skin and coat. It also has strong immunity-boosting characteristics that make it an excellent addition to your pet’s diet.
However, make sure that you start giving coconut oil to your dog in small amounts. Some dogs don’t tolerate coconut oil easily, so stomach upset may occur if administered in large quantities.
Also, make sure that you’re only giving pure and natural coconut oil that’s safe for consumption. Avoid those formulated with other ingredients as they could be toxic to dogs.
🐶Consider switching to kibble
If your dog is currently under a wet food diet, you should consider swapping it with dry kibble. It’s because crunchy kibble helps scrape off plaque and tartar from a canine’s teeth.
Nevertheless, the switch must be done slowly to prevent stomach upset and allergies on the part of your dog. You should also consult your pet’s veterinarian about the best dry food product to swap for your dog’s current meals.
Overall, wet food isn’t really bad and it doesn’t necessarily cause halitosis in canines. If your dog doesn’t thrive in kibble, you don’t have to force it. Just focus on maintaining healthy dental hygiene through regular brushing.
🐶Visit the vet regularly
Lastly, you should bring your dog to the vet regularly to have it checked for potential health problems triggering bad breath. Take note that bad breath can be an early sign of liver or kidney disease. These health problems can be treated successfully if you seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Also, the vet can examine your dog for any dental issues. Like any health problem, dental issues are cheaper to treat if caught on early.
Overall, you shouldn’t wait for something wrong to happen to your dog before you bring it to the vet. The frequency of taking your dog to the vet depends on its health status, breed, age, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can allergies cause bad breath in dogs?
A: While it’s not usually a symptom, bad breath can occur if your pet has allergies or intolerances. This is because your dog can’t break down the food properly, leading to the production of bad-smelling gasses. In the process, your dog may burp or fart the gas, which smells foul.
Q: Can I use human toothpaste on my dog?
A: You should never use human toothpaste on your dog because it contains xylitol. This substance is extremely toxic to canines and even a small amount can trigger life-threatening repercussions. Instead, you should use toothpaste formulated specifically for dogs.
Q: Does wet food give dogs bad breath?
A: Wet food in itself doesn’t cause bad breath. Still, it’s true that wet food deprives canines of the chance to scrape off tartar naturally by chewing crunchy kibble. However, if you observe proper dental hygiene on your dog, it won’t have bad breath even if it’s eating wet food.
Q: Should I take my dog to the vet if its breath smells bad?
A: Canine bad breath isn’t really an emergency and can be solved at home. However, if your dog’s bad breath isn’t going away and is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. Your pet might be suffering from kidney disease, liver problems, or other serious health conditions.
Q: What breeds are prone to bad breath?
A: Halitosis can occur in any dog breed, but some are more susceptible to it. The likes of Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Schnauzer, Pug, Bulldog, and Dachshunds can get nasty breathes more often than others. But then again, this problem can be prevented with proper dental hygiene and regular consultation with the vet.
Q: Does yogurt help cure bad breath in dogs?
A: Yogurt can help in eliminating bad breath in dogs since it contains probiotics. It helps neutralize bad bacteria causing the nasty smell on your dog’s breath. However, you should only give unsweetened and plain yogurt to your pet. And if your dog experiences diarrhea or vomiting, you should stop feeding yogurt.
Q: Why does my puppy’s breath stink?
A: Puppies are known to have good-smelling breath, especially very young ones. However, if yours have a nasty mouth odor, it might be on the teething stage already. Also, breath changes will occur as your pup’s diet changes from milk to puppy formula.
Knowing how to eliminate bad breath in dogs involve proper dental hygiene, vet consultation, and a few hacks. Whatever is causing your pet’s stinky breath, it’s important to only explore safe and tested solutions.
If your dog’s breath remains unpleasant after trying all home remedies, the vet should be your next destination. Never put off veterinary care, especially if your dog’s bad breath is paired with other unusual symptoms.