Why Does a Dog’s Breath Smell Like Poop?

Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason – they’re always there to provide companionship, love, and of course, a good laugh.

But while we all know that dogs have some pretty weird quirks (did you know that some dogs eat their own poop?), one of the most puzzling behaviors is their notoriously bad breath.

So what gives? Why does a dog’s breath smell like poop and how do you treat it?

Let’s take a closer look as we share tips to prevent it and 4 dog products perfect for bad breath.

6 Causes Why Dog Breath Smells Like Poop

#1 – Bad Oral Hygiene

The number one cause of bad breath in dogs is poor oral hygiene.

Just like humans, dogs need to have their teeth brushed regularly to avoid tartar build up– which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and ultimately, bad breath.

If their breath smells particularly bad, it could be a sign that they have an infection in their mouth. This is why it’s important to take them to the vet for regular checkups and teeth cleanings.

#2 – Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is one of the most common dental problems in dogs, and it’s also a leading source of bad breath.

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that can progress to affect the bones and connective tissue that support the teeth. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to tooth loss.

The early stages of periodontal disease are often accompanied by bad breath, so if you notice their breath smells worse than usual, it’s important to take them to the vet for a checkup.

#3 – Unpleasant Dietary Habits

We all know that what we eat can affect our breath, and the same is true for dogs.

If your dog’s diet consists mainly of kibble or processed food, they’re more likely to have bad breath as a result. This is because these foods don’t promote good oral health and can actually contribute to tartar and plaque buildup.

On the other hand, a diet that’s rich in fresh, whole foods is more likely to produce fresher breath. So, if you’re looking for ways to improve your dog’s breath, start by taking a closer look at their diet.

#4 – Diabetes

Diabetes is a common health condition in dogs that can be the foundation of bad breath.

sad puppy on a chair

This is because diabetes causes an increase in the levels of ketones in the blood, which are then excreted through the breath. The smell of ketones is often described as fruity or sweet, but some people also say it smells like nail polish remover.

If you notice your dog’s breath smells ketones, it’s important to take them to the vet for a checkup, as this could be a sign of diabetes.

#5 – Kidney Disease

While kidney disease is more common in older dogs, it can occur at any age.

One of the most common symptoms of this disease is bad breath, which is caused by the build-up of toxins in the body. If your dog’s breath smells particularly foul, it could be a sign that they have kidney ailment. The smell is often described as “ammonia-like.”

Other common symptoms include increased thirst, urination, and appetite. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for a checkup.

#6 – Liver Disease

Dogs with liver failure or disease is also another common health condition that can contribute to bad breath.

The liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the blood, so when it’s not functioning properly, these toxins build up in the body and are excreted through the breath. This can give your dog’s breath a foul odor.

How To Treat Bad Breath in Dogs

Bad breath in dogs is a common problem that can be caused by several different things. Here’s how to treat it.

When you think about it, it’s not that surprising that a dog’s breath might smell like poop. After all, dogs eat a lot of things that we wouldn’t even think of putting in our mouths! And, just like humans, what a dog eats can affect the way their breath smells.

However, there are other reasons why a dog’s breath might smell bad. Here are some of the most common ways you can treat it.

  • Brush their teeth – use special dog-friendly toothbrushes and toothpaste available
  • Canine chew toys – these can help to keep their teeth clean and their breath fresh
  • Diet – a healthy diet is essential for good oral health
  • Water additives – these can help to reduce plaque and tartar build-up
  • Apple cider vinegar – a natural solution that can help to remove bacteria
  • Coconut oil – has antimicrobial properties that can help to fight bad breath

How to Prevent Bad Breath in Dogs

In addition to treating bad breath, there are also several things you can do to prevent it.

dog wearing pink hair cap brushing teeth

Here are a few tips:

1. Feed Your Dog a Healthy Diet

One of the best ways to keep your dog’s breath smelling fresh is to feed them a healthy diet. Just like with humans, what a dog eats can affect the way their breath smells.

Feeding your dog foods that are high in fiber will help to move food through their digestive system more quickly and prevent bad breath. You should also avoid feeding your dog table scraps or fatty foods, as these can contribute to bad breath.

2. Give Your Dog Regular dental Treatments

Another way to keep your dog’s breath smelling fresh is to give them regular dental treatments. This includes brushing their teeth daily with pet-safe toothpaste and bringing them to the vet for professional cleanings every six months.

3. Try a Natural Breath Freshener

If you’re looking for a natural way to freshen your dog’s breath, there are a few things you can try. For example, feeding your dog raw carrots or celery can help to clean their teeth and freshen their breath.

You can also try giving your dog a probiotic supplement, which can help to balance the bacteria in their gut and improve their overall health – including their breath.

Dog Products for Stinky Breath

Toothpaste and Toothbrush Set for Dogs

This set includes a natural ingredient toothpaste that is made to reduce tartar and plaque buildup , as well as freshen your dog’s breath. 

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Arm & Hammer for Pets Tartar Control Kit for Dogs | Contains Toothpaste, Toothbrush & Fingerbrush | Reduces Plaque & Tartar Buildup | Safe for Puppies, 3-Piece Kit, Beef Flavor
33,864 Reviews
Arm & Hammer for Pets Tartar Control Kit for Dogs | Contains Toothpaste, Toothbrush & Fingerbrush | Reduces Plaque & Tartar Buildup | Safe for Puppies, 3-Piece Kit, Beef Flavor
  • PROMOTES HEALTHY GUMS - Dog dental kit is gentle yet effective in reducing tartar buildup, eliminating dog's bad breath, and...
  • MADE WITH NATURAL INGREDIENTS - Natural ingredients ensure optimal dental health for your dog with a tasty beef flavor he or...
  • EASY TO USE - For first time brushers, put a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and invite the dog to lick it off....

Last update on 2022-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The toothbrush has ultra-soft bristles to protect your dog’s gums.

Dental Care Chews

These treats are designed to help lessen plaque and tartar buildup, as well as freshen your dog’s breath.

GREENIES Original Regular Natural Dog Dental Care Chews Oral Health Dog Treats, 36 oz. Pack (36 Treats)
27,464 Reviews
GREENIES Original Regular Natural Dog Dental Care Chews Oral Health Dog Treats, 36 oz. Pack (36 Treats)
  • Contains one (1) 36 ounce 36-count pack of Greenies Original Regular Size Natural Dental Dog Treats; Natural Dog Treats Plus...
  • The unique texture of Greenies Dog Chews cleans down to the gumline to fight plaque and tartar and freshen bad dog breath
  • Greenies Treats for Dogs are veterinarian recommended and accepted by the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council)

Last update on 2022-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Made with natural ingredients, they are safe for dogs of all ages.

Dental Chew Toy for Dogs

This chew toy is made with raised bristles that help clean your dog’s teeth and massage their gums. It also helps to reduce tartar and plaque buildup. 

Arm & Hammer Ora-Play T-Bone Dental Chew Toy for Dogs | Best Dog Chew Toy For the Toughest Chewers | Reduces Plaque & Tartar Buildup Without Brushing, Peanut Butter Flavor
8,169 Reviews
Arm & Hammer Ora-Play T-Bone Dental Chew Toy for Dogs | Best Dog Chew Toy For the Toughest Chewers | Reduces Plaque & Tartar Buildup Without Brushing, Peanut Butter Flavor
  • WHY ARE DOG TOYS SHAPED SO ODD? The unique shapes of our dog chew toys are specifically to allow dogs to grasp toys between...
  • DURABLE DOG CHEW KEEPS POWERFUL CHEWERS BUSY FOR HOURS - This super tough nylon dog toy is designed as a dog toy for the most...
  • DOUBLES AS A DENTAL TOY FOR DOGS - This durable dog toy's scrubbing nubbies help remove tartar & plaque on your dog's teeth,...

Last update on 2022-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Super strong and durable, this toy is perfect for aggressive chewers. With an ergonomic design, it is easy for your dog to grip and chew.

Dog Enzymatic Toothpaste

This toothpaste is specifically formulated for dogs and contains enzymes that help break down plaque and tartar.

Vet’s Best Dog Toothbrush and Enzymatic Toothpaste Set | Teeth Cleaning and Fresh Breath Kit with Dental Care Guide | Vet Formulated
56,593 Reviews
Vet’s Best Dog Toothbrush and Enzymatic Toothpaste Set | Teeth Cleaning and Fresh Breath Kit with Dental Care Guide | Vet Formulated
  • SOOTHING AND EFFECTIVE - Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dental Gel Toothpaste is a veterinarian formulated soothing and effective mix...
  • CLEANS AND FRESHENS - Freshens breath and gently cleans away plaque and tartar
  • PART OF A HEALTHY REGIMEN - Supports your dog’s dental hygiene between annual cleanings at your vet’s office

Last update on 2022-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It is safe for your dog to swallow and will not foam up in their mouth like human toothpaste. 

With a delicious poultry flavor, your dog will love the taste of this toothpaste.

Our Readers Favorite Questions

How Do You Get Rid of Dog Poop Breath?

Most people think that the only way to get rid of dog poop breath is to brush their teeth, but there are a few other things you can do as well. For example, you can try using mouthwash or gum to help mask the odor.

smelly white dog in the washing machine

You can also feed your dog foods that contain natural breath fresheners like parsley or mint.

What Causes Feces-Smelling Breath?

There are a few different things that can cause your dog’s breath to smell like feces. One reason is poor diet. If your dog is eating a lot of foods that are high in fat, it may have foul-smelling breath as a result.

Another possibility is periodontal disease. This is a serious oral health condition that can cause your dog’s breath to smell bad. Bad oral hygiene is also another reason.

Conclusion

If your dog’s breath smells like poop, it could be due to several different things. However, the most common cause is poor diet. You can try feeding your dog foods that are high in fiber to help move food through their digestive system more quickly and prevent bad breath.

You should also avoid feeding your dog table scraps or fatty foods, as these can contribute to bad breath.

Giving your dog regular dental treatments is another way to keep their breath smelling fresh. This includes brushing their teeth daily with pet-safe toothpaste and bringing them to the vet for professional cleanings every six months.

If you’re looking for a natural way to freshen your dog’s breath, there are a few things you can try. For example, feeding your dog raw carrots or celery can help to clean their teeth and freshen their breath.

You can also try giving your dog a probiotic supplement, which can help to balance the bacteria in their gut and improve their overall health – including their breath.

Does your dog’s breath smell like poop? How do you treat it? Share your experience in the comments below!

Photo of author

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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