Dog Bad Breath: How to Treat Canine Halitosis

When playing with your pup, it may be no surprise that their breath smells anything but fresh. However, while the stench may be unpleasant for you, it may indicate a potential health problem in your pup. However, this guide will provide a quick explanation of what causes bad breath, and some easy solutions to solve it.

Before finding a solution for your pups bad breath, it is important to discern the multiple causes of it. 

The first, and most common of these causes is bad oral hygiene. Like humans, dogs can get buildups of plaque and tartar from negligence of their teeth, allowing the bacteria that cause bad breath to grow. If the plaque is allowed to build up too much, it can begin to push the gums away from the teeth, leading to further infection, cavities, the formation of pus, and very, very bad breath. 

The second of these causes is slightly more bizarre, but not unlikely. If your pup’s bad breath smells fruity, it is quite possible your pup has undetected diabetes, and you should make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

The third most common cause is a simple one. Dogs like to eat gross things, and if your pup is unsupervised for long periods of time, they may enjoy gross things too. These may include garbage, rotting meat, and most commonly, cat poop. To make things even worse, some dogs enjoy eating the poop of their fellow dogs, resulting in a condition called coprophagia that causes even worse breath and vomiting.

The final possible reason, and possibly the most uncommon out of these four, is kidney disease. If your pup is suffering from kidney disease, their breath will take on the distinct smell of urine. This condition is incredibly dangerous for your pup, and if you smell urine in their breath, you should take them to the vet as soon as you possibly can.

Treating your Dog’s Bad Breath

After discerning the cause of your pups bad breath, the next step, obviously, is to treat it. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to treat bad breath, and even more to prevent it in the future.

If the cause behind your pups bad breath problem is a buildup of plaque and tartar, your best option at a cleaning is an appointment from a qualified veterinarian in order to clean or remove the affected teeth. To Make things easier, these appointments will commonly include a free examination for your pup, to ensure if they have any of the other causes of bad breath mentioned on this list. If they do, the vet can also treat them for those.

If your pup is the type of dog to grab “food” off the ground that affects their breath, the simplest way to counteract the bad breath they get from this is to monitor them more securely. Ensure that when you go for walks that they are steered away from other dog’s poop and dead animals. When you are in the house, move or secure any garbage cans that are easily accessible to your pup. With patience and diligence, your pups breath will return to normal.

Treating more severe conditions such as kidney disease and diabetes requires veterinary attention, but catching the problems in time will often result in successful removal of the bad breath.

Preventing Bad Breath in Dogs

After your pup has their bad breath treated, the best course of action afterwards is to make sure it doesn’t happen again! Luckily for any pet owner, there are many ways to ensure healthy breath and mouth hygiene in your pup. 

The first step to ensuring good breath for your dog is to brush their teeth. Like in humans, teeth brushing for dogs is a way to remove plaque and bacteria, and promote good oral health. Best of all, with enough practice and training, many dogs will cooperate with or even enjoy getting their teeth brushed. 

However, there will always be feistier pups that will never enjoy getting their teeth brushed, and for those pups, there are many other options. Chew toys are perhaps the best of these options, considering most pups cant resist them.

Chewing on chew toys reduces the plaque and bacteria that builds up in your pups mouth, and also trains them to entertain themselves on their own. A perfect 2 for 1 deal that no dog can resist! This strategy is more effective on smaller breeds of dogs, as their closer-together teeth make them more susceptible to infection and bad breath.

Finally, the most universal option for preventing bad breath in the first place is feeding your pup a healthy, balanced diet to prevent any internal diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease. 

With many other health problems for your pup, the best way to handle bad breath in your dog is through prevention and rapid treatment once halitosis is identified.

A Healthy Diet Leads to Healthy Breath

Feed your dogs with grain free kibble to optimize their health and reduce risk of excess weight. Grain free diet in dogs is now becoming popular due to their natural ingredients. giving pet owners more control over their pet’s feeding options. Check out our list of the top grain free dog food for small dogs that are available in pet stores and grocery outlets today.

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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