Here’s How To Fix Your Dog’s Stinky Breath
Because doggy kisses don’t have to be stinky 🤭
While doggy kisses are one of life’s greatest pleasures, getting close to a pup with bad breath is not.
And believe it or not, bad dog breath (aka halitosis in dogs) isn’t as normal as you’d think.
In fact, if your dog suffers from obnoxiously stinky breath, it’s a good idea to get him checked out by your vet for any underlying health issues.
The Dodo spoke to Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a veterinarian with Animal Medical Center in New York City, Dr. Stephanie Austin, a veterinarian with Bond Vet in New York City, and Dr. Debra Eldredge, a veterinarian working with Senior Tail Waggers, to find out more about what exactly causes stinky dog breath (and how to fix it).
What causes bad dog breath
While there are different situations that can cause your dog to have bad breath, it’s important to note that if his breath is extra stinky (like beyond “dog breath” stinky), there might be a real issue.
“A dog’s bad breath is not normal and may be a clue to underlying oral disease — such as periodontal disease or a tumor in the mouth,” Dr. Hohenhaus told The Dodo.
A serious case of bad breath should send you and your dog to the veterinarian’s office ASAP, she said.
While the issue could be a simple plaque buildup that can be removed with a cleaning, it’s always better to make sure something more serious isn’t causing the bad breath.
Your vet might check your dog for a variety of issues, including:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Dental disease
- Cancers of the mouth
- Gross dietary habits (like eating poop)
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
Additionally, some dogs are just more likely to have bad breath, like breeds prone to excessive panting (think brachycephalic — short-nosed -— dogs).
“Senior dogs are most prone to bad breath; however, any short-muzzled dogs or dogs with an overbite or underbite are more prone to bad breath,” Dr. Eldredge told The Dodo.
What to do if your dog has bad breath
If your dog has particularly bad breath, the first thing you’ll want to do is get him to the veterinarian to check for serious underlying causes.
“At a minimum, if your dog has really bad breath, his oral health needs to be thoroughly checked out by your veterinarian,” Dr. Eldredge said. “Then a blood chemistry panel [will be] done to rule out kidney problems, liver problems and diabetes. Unfortunately, however, some dogs just have natural bad breath.”
How to get rid of your dog’s bad breath
If you’ve gone to the vet and your dog has been cleared of any serious health issues, there are other ways that you can help get his breath a bit more tolerable.
“Start by establishing a dental care routine — toothbrushing is best, but dental chews, sprays, and food or water additives can all help,” Dr. Eldredge recommended.
Brush his teeth regularly
“Veterinarians recommend daily brushing,” Dr. Hohenhaus said.
Just like with people, brushing your dog's teeth will help to combat his bad breath. Find a toothpaste flavor that your dog will love to make it a better experience for you both.
Get some dental chews
Dental chews are a great way to help your dog’s breath — and they double as chewy dog treats!
“Chewing helps prevent plaque and tartar buildup and assists in boredom relief,” Dr. Austin told The Dodo.
While there are a lot of dental chews on the market, make sure to look for ones that contain breath-freshening chlorophyll or delmopinol for the best results.
Try a dental spray
All you have to do is spray the solution on your pup’s teeth and gums to reap the benefits of fresh doggie breath.
Add probiotics to his diet
Probiotics work by introducing good bacteria into your dog's mouth, helping to combat the ones that cause bad breath. Get a probiotic specifically made for dogs, and you’ll likely see (or smell) an improvement.
Try some bad dog breath home remedies
If there aren’t any medical issues causing your pup’s bad breath, you might want to try some all-natural ways to fix it. Here are some recommended home remedies.
Believe it or not, cinnamon is actually a great trick for freshening breath! You can try it out by simply sprinkling some on your dog’s regular food.
Coconut oil isn’t just beneficial for humans — it can also help your dog’s breath! You can drizzle some over your dog’s food in the mornings, or even use it in combination with his toothpaste and brush his teeth with it.
“Just be careful of the fat content in any oil supplement!” Dr. Austin said, since too much fat in a dog’s diet can make him sick.
Give your dog some wheatgrass
A great source of chlorophyll, wheatgrass helps to neutralize odors to fight off bad breath. You can chop up some fresh wheatgrass to sprinkle on his food, or try a shelf-stable powder. You can even freeze some into ice cubes to use as a treat.
While bad breath is something to look into with your vet, once your dog is given a clean bill of health, these tips will help you get your sweet-smelling pup back!
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