How To Fix Bad Dog Breath

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Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend. They can help you out with simple tasks, they stick with you through thick and thin, and they love you unconditionally!

Of course, you want to shower your adorable pooch with just as much love and affection as they always give you, but when you bend down to kiss them on the head or the nose, their stinky breath wafting back up to your face may make you think twice.

Wondering how to fix bad dog breath?

Of course, you don’t want to break their hearts by refusing their slobbery kisses, but sometimes the stench can be a bit too pungent.

Why does your dog’s breath smell so bad anyway?

Let us take a look into what is really causing your dog’s bad breath and how to freshen your dog’s breath once and for all!

What Causes a Dog’s Bad Breath?

dog bad breath


One of the less harmful, but no less gross, reasons your dog has bad breath may be, in part, because of the disgusting things they eat – mainly their own feces, other animals’ feces (especially cat feces), rotten garbage, old bones, sticks, and even long-dead animals they find outside or on the road.

The type of dog food your dog eats can also affect the smell of their breath. Both dry and wet foods actually have properties that can help clean your dog’s mouth.

If you are certain that it is your dog’s food causing their bad breath, then feel free to consult your veterinarian to find alternative options.

If you have a puppy just beginning to teethe or currently teething, then you will simply have to deal with their gross breath up until they are done. This is because bacteria tend to collect at the gumline as their baby teeth are pushed out by their new adult teeth.

Medical Reasons for Bad Doggy Breath

The most important thing to note is that, whatever the cause of your dog’s bad breath may be, it should not be a chronic issue.

dog bad breath

Dental Disease

Chronic bad breath, which is medically known as halitosis, may be due to an underlying dental disease such as periodontal disease, some other form of oral disease, a gastrointestinal disease, or metabolic disease.

Periodontal disease is the most common cause of bad breath in all pets, not just dogs. In fact, studies have shown that up to 80% of all dogs and cats will develop periodontal disease sometime after they reach three years old.

Any leftover food particles caught in your dog’s mouth after eating can develop a steady build-up of plaque and tartar that, if left untreated, will eventually cause your dog’s gums to become red, inflamed, or even to bleed.

This build-up may also lead to even worse problems such as gingivitis, tooth loss, or damage to major organs such as the heart or kidneys.

Typically, smaller dogs or brachycephalic breeds with flat faces (like French bulldogs, for instance) are more prone to getting periodontal disease, as their teeth are closer together than larger dogs.

Even if you find that your pooch does not have periodontal disease, other oral diseases may also be a factor in causing their bad breath.

Oral masses are growths in the mouth that can lead to dogs having bad breath. Unfortunately, they may also be indicators of cancer.

Another oral disease your dog may contract is gingival hyperplasia, which is when the gums overgrow and create bumps and deep crevices for dangerous bacteria to fester in and multiply.

Gastrointestinal Disease

While less common than periodontal disease, gastrointestinal diseases affecting the esophagus, stomach, liver, or intestines and can give your dog halitosis.

Alternatively, diseases that upset your dog’s metabolic balance or let abnormal levels of toxins get into their bloodstream also cause bad breath.

Kidney Disease

Kidney diseases are the most common form of metabolic disease, though end-stage uremia may also be a cause of your dog’s bad breath.

In fact, if you notice that your dog’s breath smells oddly like ammonia, then this is a definite indicator of some decrease in their kidney function.

dog bad breath remedy

While sweet or fruity-smelling breath may be seen as a desirable alternative to simply smelling terrible all the time, you should be very worried.

Sweet-smelling breath is a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis. If left untreated, your dog’s immune system could diminish, and bacteria in the mouth can multiply at alarming rates.

Liver Disease

If you noticed stinky dog breath and your dog is also vomiting, has no appetite, and has a yellow tinge to their gums, there may be a liver problem. A liver problem can be a sign of a serious condition. So, if any of these other signs accompany your dog’s bad breath, you want to get them to the vet as soon as possible.

Respiratory Problems and Inflammation

Respiratory problems such as rhinitis (when the nose or nasal passages become inflamed) or sinusitis (when the sinuses become inflamed) can also cause bad breath in dogs.

Other types of inflammation, such as pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat) or pharynx (the inflammation of the tonsils), could be another cause.

When to See Your Vet

If your dog has ingested a toxic substance such as antifreeze or rat poison, then their breath may become foul from that.

If you suspect your dog has eaten any toxic material, you must call your veterinarian immediately, as emergency care will be needed.

If you suspect your dog to be suffering from any of the above conditions, then it is best to make an appointment as well.

You should especially have them checked out if, on top of having bad breath, your dog also paws at their mouth constantly, they refuse to eat or cannot eat at all, they have loose teeth, they drool more than usual, or they have a little blood mixed in their drool.

While it may seem like a dog’s bad breath remedy is impossible to find, you’ll discover that there are plenty of simple home treatments you can apply to have their breath smelling fresh again.

When Is Bad Breath in Dogs Normal?

As we have covered, the most common causes of bad breath in dogs are bad oral hygiene and periodontal disease. However, since bad dog breath is usually a sign of an underlying health condition and not an actual health problem itself, it should go away once the problem has been treated.

A dog should have breath that is neutral smelling. If you are experiencing bad dog breath, consider brushing your dog’s teeth more frequently and have them checked out. You want the vet to rule out an oral disease or another underlying illness.

Home Remedies for a Dog’s Bad Breath

how to fix bad dog breath

Apple, Carrots, and Vinegar

There are a number of foods you can sprinkle into your dog’s meals to freshen their breath.

Carrots or apples are not only healthy treats, but they can also fight against tartar build-up, particularly in the hard-to-reach areas at the back of their mouth or along their gum line.

You can also add half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to their water. This particular kind of vinegar acts as a natural disinfectant, and your dog will also love the taste!

Coconut Oil

A good teaspoon of coconut oil into your dog’s food every day can also improve the state of their breath.

It not only keeps your dog’s breath smelling sweet but also boosts their digestive, metabolic, and immune systems as well.

More importantly, dogs love the taste, so it’s a win-win for both of you! You can even brush your dog’s teeth with coconut oil, which can make brushing less of a chore for them and more of a treat.


Like coconut oil, neem has proven to be a great home remedy for bad dog breath. It is a botanical that has been shown to positively affect both dog and human health. It is great for the dog’s skin and coat and works wonders to promote good oral health.


Herbs like mint or parsley act as natural dog breath fresheners due to the chlorophyll inside them, which can fight against bad bacteria in both your dog’s mouth and digestive system.

Sprinkle your dog’s meals with these ingredients, and you will see improvements in their breath soon enough!

Wheatgrass is also another good source of chlorophyll, so you can sprinkle some of that into your dog’s meals as well.

dog breath freshener


You can also sprinkle a dash of cinnamon into your dog’s meals to combat their bad breath (along with a number of other health issues) at the same time.

Studies show that cinnamon may increase brain function, ward off diabetes in dogs, help to stave off yeast infections, combat arthritis, and can even help keep your dog’s food fresher for longer!

However, you must pay attention to the type of cinnamon you feed your dog. Cassia cinnamon includes coumarin, which can damage your dog’s liver if you give them too much of it.

Make sure you use Ceylon cinnamon instead, and even then, only in half-teaspoon increments with each meal.

Bar Their Access to Bad Foods

Of course, if you find your dog’s bad breath is due to them constantly digging into the trash or eating dead animals, then you should explore ways of securing your trash so as to prevent their access to it.

You can also watch them as they go outside and make sure they do not eat things they’re not supposed to, including their own feces, the feces of other animals, or dead animals.

This video shows some more natural remedies for dogs with bad breath.

How to Fix Bad Dog Breath

Say you do not have time to implement the home remedies listed above. Instead, you want to simply buy a kind of dog breath freshener you can give to your pup to quickly fix their poor mouth hygiene.

We have you covered!

Brush, Brush, Brush!

The best remedy to fix your dog’s bad breath is simply brushing their teeth.

Like humans, dogs need to brush their teeth regularly to retain good hygiene and health. Luckily, you only need to do this once a week, so setting aside time on the weekend to accomplish this short task should be easy.

However, if you own a small dog with a pushed-in face or a brachycephalic dog, then you really need to be brushing your pet’s teeth every day.

These types of dogs are more prone to bacteria developing in their mouths due to how close together their teeth are.

The Equipment

To make the task easier on both you and your dog, be sure you use special dog toothpaste made in flavors your dog is sure to appreciate.

You can also bribe them with plenty of treats afterward, training them to enjoy brushing in true Pavlovian style.

There are even special dog toothbrushes out there, which easily fit around your finger, so the process is that much easier.

Never, ever use toothpaste made for humans when brushing your dog’s teeth. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that are harmful to animals and can even cause digestive issues further down the line.

dog bad breath remedy

Dental Chews

Dental chews or dentist sticks are a wonderful treat to give your pup if you do not have the time to properly brush their teeth.

Keep in mind, though, that not every dentist chew or treat is made with the same ingredients. You will want to purchase one that contains chlorophyll, cinnamon, and clove, all of which are guaranteed to freshen up your dog’s breath.

Do not be alarmed if you notice your pooch’s stool becomes a bit green afterward, though. This is simply the chlorophyll finally getting through your dog’s system.

Also, when looking for the best dental chews to help with doggy breath and oral hygiene, find some approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). You can find their seal of approval right on the package.

When shopping for dental chews, you must also find one size appropriate for your dog’s teeth.

Dental Water

You can also give your pup dental water instead of regular tap.

This dental water should contain a mixture of enzymes, chlorophyll, and a number of other ingredients meant to kill bad bacteria in your dog’s mouth.

You should notice the difference in your dog’s breath within a few days.


Remember that not all bacteria in your dog’s mouth are bad. In fact, there are good bacteria out there that can combat your dog’s foul breath just as easily as all the other solutions in this guide.

By giving your dog probiotics, you increase the number of good bacteria in their mouth, enhancing the smell of their breath!

Probiotics come in a tablet form that you can easily sneak into your dog’s food or in foods like yogurt, kefir, bananas, and honey.

dog bad breath

Chew Toy

A rubber chew toy can also help loosen plaque and polish your dog’s teeth all at once. A dental cleaning chew toy works by scraping away the plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth as they chew on them.

A KONG Dental rubber chew toy, for example, is designed for cleaning your dog’s teeth and gums while also giving them an outlet for their chewing behavior. This chew toy is made from a natural red rubber formula and has grooves that assist in the dental cleaning as they chew.

Is There a Cure?

Of course, the remedies only work if your dog’s bad breath is mainly due to their food. If they have contracted any sort of disease, then you should take them to your veterinarian and follow their instructions.

Usually, they will offer to do a deep clean of your dog’s teeth once every year, so make sure to take advantage of that during your regular visits.

Here’s a video showing how one example of how to get rid of your dog’s bad breath at home.


While owning a dog can be a very rewarding and fun experience, there is no denying that their bad breath can be one of the worst things about owning one.

Still, with all the dog bad breath home remedies, specialized dental treats, and treatment options out there, you are sure to find a solution that works for both of you!

How do you treat bad dog breath with your pup?

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