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Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes and Treatments

Dog being sprayed because it has very bad breath

We all love to get up close and personal with man’s best friend, but if your dog has stinky breath, it can be almost unbearable. Not only does smelly breath bother a pet’s owners, bad breath can also be somewhat offensive to guests! Below are some of the causes of bad breath in dogs and some ways to treat it so your dog doesn’t have to be embarrassed to come in for a wet one!

Causes of Bad Breath

  • Plaque buildup on your pup’s teeth;
  • Gum disease;
  • Dietary issues;
  • Underlying medical issues, including, but not limited to respiratory illness, gastrointestinal illness, and metabolic disease.

What to Look For

If you’re noticing smelly breath coming from your dog, there are a couple of things to look for. First, take a look at your dog’s teeth to see if there is any plaque buildup or dark spots near the gum line. Second, look for any inflammation around the teeth. Third, look for any growths or lesions on your dog’s gums below the tooth line. Another sign to look for is loose teeth. If dental issues are left untreated, your dog could potentially lose teeth. Sometimes when pets are suffering from dental problems, it may become painful to chew the food they once scarfed down. Click here for a more in-depth look into periodontal disease in dogs and its long-term effects.


It is important to take note if you notice your dog’s breath smelling less than fresh due to the many causes of bad breath discussed above that range from uncomplicated problems to serious ailments. If bad breath is somewhat new for your dog and you notice that it’s getting progressively worse, it’s important to consult with your vet to get to the root of the problem whether it’s poor dental hygiene or something more serious like a gastrointestinal problem. When you take a trip to the vet, make sure you’re prepared to answer questions about your dog’s diet, exercise routine, and dental hygiene. Once your vet does a physical examination of your dog, you’ll have a better idea of how to treat bad breath and the underlying causes.

Things You Can Do at Home

There are plenty of things pet owners can do to help dogs maintain good oral hygiene as well as combat bad breath. A few are listed below.

  • Brush your dog’s teeth regularly using something similar to this toothbrush kit;
  • Find treats containing odor fighting ingredients like parsley and eucalyptus oil;
  • Giving your dog rawhides like these can help prevent and reduce plaque buildup;
  • I’ve seen great improvement in my dog’s breath using this food additive; and
  • Regularly checking for changes in your dog’s teeth and gums.

Well, there you have it, folks. Just like good oral hygiene is important for people and their health, good oral hygiene is important to your pet’s overall health. Remember to consult with your veterinarian to determine what’s right for you and your pet’s dental health regimen!

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