How to Get Rid of Dog’s Bad Breath

How to Get Rid of Dog’s Bad Breath

by ScritchSpot

You’re accustomed to greetings that include a furiously wagging tail and lots of kisses, but lately you’ve noticed something else—that smell! Many pet parents assume stinky breath is a normal part of being a dog. But don’t fool yourself; anything that smells that bad isn’t normal, and you and your dog don’t have to live with foul doggy breath. There are many ways to tackle bad dog breath so your pup can get back to giving fresh kisses. 

Rule number one: brush your dog’s teeth!

It may seem silly to some, but pets need their teeth brushed too. Plaque and tartar build up over time, and excess bacteria in the mouth can lead to dental issues as well as more serious health concerns. Keep your pet’s teeth clean and his mouth fresh by brushing regularly. 

How often? Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth every day, but at minimum once per week. 

Causes of bad dog breath

The most common causes of bad breath in dogs are issues in the mouth, including gingivitis and periodontal disease, which are preventable with regular brushing. Some dog breeds and small dogs especially are more prone to plaque and tartar. However, bad breath can also be an indicator of more serious medical problems in the mouth or internal organs. 


  • Particularly sweet or fruity breath can be a sign of diabetes. Other indicators include increased thirst and urination.
  • If your dog’s breath smells like urine, it could indicate kidney disease.
  • Stinky breath can be a sign of a liver problem if your dog also experiences vomiting, loss of appetite, and yellow-tinged gums.

Rule number two: visit your veterinarian

Concerning symptoms such as those mentioned above as well as any other sudden changes to your dog’s health warrant a trip to the vet. If you brush your dog’s teeth regularly, solving the bad breath mystery may be a matter of treating the underlying health condition. 

Professional dental cleaning

If your dog gets a clean bill of health for his internal organs but fails the dental exam, your vet may recommend a dental cleaning. This thorough procedure requires your pet to be under anesthesia in order to clean every nook and cranny. 

Rule number three: prevention

The best way to get fresh breath is to prevent it from getting stinky in the first place. 

  • Brush their teeth - we can’t say this enough! Brushing is the best way to maintain a clean and healthy mouth.
  • Give ‘em something to chew on - regularly chewing on toys and healthy snacks like carrots and apples can help keep your pet’s teeth clean. Just don’t allow your dog to chew on anything harder than his teeth, like bones and deer antlers which can actually grind down the tooth or even cause a broken tooth.
  • Clean up their diet - if your dog likes to munch on stinky snacks like “treasures” from the kitty litter box or garbage can, be sure to block his access to these breath de-fresheners.
  • Get a vet check-up annually – having your dog regularly examined will help catch symptoms of any health conditions (that may or may not cause bad breath) in the early stages and get treatment before they progress.

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