What to do for Bad Dog Breath

What to do for my dog's bad breath?

We like being cuddly with our furry friends, hugging, kissing, and watching movies together.

However, if your canine has bad breath, your chances of getting close and personal reduce drastically. 

You may also constantly apologize to your friends and family about the smell, which is embarrassing.

In this post, we look at the potential causes of a dog's stinky breath and offer you tips on how you can get rid of it and even prevent it.

Read on to learn more.

Causes of bad dog breath

Halitosis, or as it is commonly known, bad breath, can arise for various reasons. Some causes can even lead to death if you don't take immediate action.

They include;

Periodontal disease or poor oral hygiene.

Studies have found that the most prevalent causes of halitosis (bad dog breath) are periodontal disease and poor oral hygiene.

Similar to humans, overtime accumulation of tartar and plaque can result in the development of bacteria which in turn cause bad breath.

If you don't regularly brush your canine's teeth or get them cleaned and your dog isn't a chewer, then the plaque buildup could cause a stinky smell.

Gradually bad oral hygiene will result in periodontal disease, where excessive tartar and plaque buildup pushes your dog" gums far from the teeth opening new spots for germs to grow in.

The accumulation of germs not only inflames your canine's gums but may also lead to

  • Infection
  • Tooth cavities 
  • Tissue destruction 
  • Tooth loss 
  • Puss formation 
  • Severe bad breath 

Foreign bodies stuck in your mutt's mouth.

Dogs that like chewing on ropes, sticks, and toys have a higher risk of getting items stuck in their mouths.

Firm materials like pieces from chew toys often get wedged on the roof of a dog's mouth, whereas softer materials like cloths like sticking between the teeth.

Foreign materials such as splinters may get stuck in your dog's cheeks or under the tongue, which you won't easily notice.

When the foreign bodies get stuck, they act as breeding grounds for germs, leading to a stinky smell accompanied by vomiting. 

Your dog will have difficulty eating when the foreign material is large.

Unpleasant eating habits

Yes, dogs are cute, but sometimes they can be overly gross. 

Adolescent dogs and puppies have an unpleasant habit of eating their feces or poop from other canines, a condition called coprophagia.

Additionally, almost all dogs have a universal love for cat poop, and if you have cats in your household, then the litter box may be too tempting for your puppy to resist.

Eating fecal matter will make your dog have bad breath and even cause other health issues like

  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Stomach infections
  • Vomiting 

Furthermore, if your dog consumes rotting animal remains, regularly eats items from the garbage, or chews on some toxic plants, he may also develop bad breath.

For instance, dogs that eat cigarette pieces will have a nicotine odor on their breath.


If your furry friend's unpleasant breath has a somewhat fruity or sweet smell to it, you should make a quick visit to your vet's office.

Fruity sweet breath is often a symptom of diabetes, a deadly but curable condition.

When your dog has diabetes that goes untreated for some time, its body starts fat breakdown, creating molecules known as ketones.

The ketones give your dog's mouth an unpleasant fruity or sweet smell.

Dogs suffering from diabetes may also have other symptoms, such as

  • Reduced appetite 
  • Weight loss 
  • Increased urination
  • Heightened thirst
  • Lethargy

Kidney disease 

Your dogs" kidneys are its body's primary filtration system. 

When the kidneys aren't functioning properly due to an underlying disease or complete failure, your dog will have urea buildup in the blood.

Urea is highly toxic and will make your canine's mouth smell like urine or ammonia. A clear indicator of severe kidney dysfunction.

Furthermore, excessive accumulation of urea, scientifically called uremia, may lead to mouth ulceration, making it hard for your dog to eat.

You should seek veterinary help as soon as you suspect your dog has kidney disease.

Liver disease

Bad breath, poor appetite, weight loss, vomiting, and yellowing of the eyes and skin could signify that your mutt's liver is sickly.

The liver shares a similar role with the kidneys; it also filters toxins from your dog's body. 

When a dog's liver isn't functioning properly, toxins will build up, resulting in bad breath.

Oral tumors

Oral tumors or cancer growth may lead to unpleasant dog breath, particularly common in senior dogs.

As the cancerous masses grow larger, they become contaminated, and parts of the tumor start dying (necrose), which causes bad breath even with proper dental care.

Common dog oral tumors include

  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma
  • Peripheral odontogenic fibromas

Dietary deficiencies

Putting your dog on a home-cooked or raw diet could interfere with the normal balance of bacteria in the gut and mouth.

The bacteria imbalance and increased chances of salmonella growth in your dog's gut from the raw diet can cause bad breath.

If your dog is on a home-cooked diet, you should consult a vet nutritionist (or regular vet) to avoid dietary deficiencies. 

How to get rid of your pup's bad breath

If your canine has halitosis, the first step you should take is to set up a regular dental checkup.

By allowing your vet to check your canine's mouth routinely, they can find and treat dental issues before they progress.

Dogs constantly suffering from periodontal disease require routine clean-ups to prevent tartar and plaque buildup.

Depending on the severity of the periodontal infection, your vet may have to take out damaged or loose teeth during the mouth cleaning session.

If your dog's bad breath results from liver or kidney diseases, once your vet treats the underlying issue, your mutt's foul breath will also go away.

Here are other ways you can completely eradicate bad dog breath 

Brush your canine's" teeth frequently.

Regularly brushing your mutt's teeth will clear the unpleasant smell and prevent other dental issues from developing.

Brushing the teeth lessens plaque and removes unhealthy bacteria. 

Ensure you brush your canine's teeth once or twice a week.

Smaller dog breeds, particularly those with a pushed face like Shih Tzu and Chihuahuas, require more teeth brushing. At least four times a week. 

That's because the conformation of these dogs" tiny mouths leaves more room for plaque accumulation.

Ply your canine with treats before and after brushing so that he can associate teeth cleaning with treats. Hence you will have an easy time carrying out the procedure.

Ensure you only use dog toothpaste while brushing. Human toothpaste may contain toxic ingredients such as xylitol, an artificial sweetener.

There are plenty of dog toothpaste flavors, so it won't be hard to find one that your puppy will love.

Dental chews

You can give your canine dental chews, which will clear the bad breath as he chews. It's important to understand not all dog chews will give results. 

It would help if you only used those containing clove, cinnamon, and chlorophyll. Don't freak out when your dog's poop turns green after consuming a dental chew; the chlorophyll causes the green color.


Wheatgrass is a raw chlorophyll source. Cut small bits of wheatgrass and mix them in your canine's food to clear the bad breath.

Dental water

Water additives contain healthy germs and chlorophyll, effectively curing your dog's bad breath.

The healthy bacteria in the water additive kill the bad bacteria in your canine's mouth, clearing the foul smell.

Safe Guard probiotics

Remember earlier we learned that bad bacteria in your dog's mouth cause halitosis?

Well, probiotic supplements like Safe Guard introduce plenty of beneficial bacteria in your dog's mouth and gut which kill the harmful bacteria.

Apart from clearing your furry friend's bad breath, Safe Guard probiotic will also improve your dog's overall well-being by 

  • Enhancing digestion
  • Preventing yeast accumulation 
  • Improving immunity
  • Reduces behavioral disorders such as anxiety

Furthermore, the Safe Guard probiotic doesn't contain any chemical additives. Therefore, you don't have to be afraid of side effects.

Add Safe Guard to your canine's regular food so that he may develop a strong immunity that will protect him from oral diseases.

Coconut oil 

Coconut oil has many uses. It boosts your dog's immune system, supports digestion, and helps fight bad canine breaths.

Add one or two tablespoons of coconut oil to your mutt's food daily, and you will start noticing results after a few days.

Dogs like the taste and smell of coconut oil; some pet parents even use the oil to brush their dogs" teeth. An offer that most canines find hard to decline.


Neem is one of those trees that have countless medicinal applications.

For instance, neem oil extracted from the tree will help brighten your dog's coat and improve his oral hygiene.

There are many neem extract oils you can choose from, but ensure you pick one that is free of chemical additives.

How to prevent bad breath in dogs

The best way to get rid of bad dog breath is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

You can do so by 

Feeding a balanced diet

What your dog consumes plays a critical role in his overall well-being. Ensure your dog's diet contains sufficient amounts of the required minerals and vitamins.

A nutritious diet will immensely boost your dog's immunity, thereby preventing oral diseases.

Regular veterinary visits 

Getting your dog examined by a professional will help identify and treat diseases such as diabetes early on and prevent bad breath.


Studies have shown that active dogs rarely fall sick. That is because the dog gets rid of toxins that could accumulate in the body by exercising.

Additionally, obese dogs stand a higher chance of developing oral infections.

Exercise your furry friend in your evening or morning runs to help him shed the extra pounds.

Chew toys

Providing your canine with dental treats and chew toys will help clean your dog's teeth naturally.

Chewing relieves boredom and prevents the accumulation of tartar and plaque, keeping your canine healthy and happy.

It's preferable to buy chew toys according to your canine's size to avoid choking, especially if you have a mixture of mature and young dogs in the same household.

Keep away the cat litter box.

If your dog likes eating feces, you can stop the behavior by cleaning the cat litter box or any dog poop in the backyard.


You can improve your dogs' behavior by using a lot of treats and positive reinforcement.

For example, you can teach your dog only to eat food from his food bowl. That will reduce his chances of eating poop, or rotten animal remains by the roadside.

Final words

Bad dog breath, though embarrassing, is a common occurrence. 

Fortunately, you can prevent the condition by regularly brushing your dog's teeth, feeding a healthy balanced diet, and taking your canine for regular vet visits.