What Causes Bad Breath in Dogs and How Can You Fix It?

Updated on June 28, 2019
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James Livingood has been a dog sitter for several years. He has written numerous articles and a book about the topic because he loves dogs.

Causes of Dog Bad Breath
Causes of Dog Bad Breath | Source

One of the most beautiful things about dogs is how much they love us. However, bad dog breath is one of those things we wish we could do without. This is especially true when they come up to lick our faces when we get home or we are playing with them in the backyard. However, there are several causes of bad breath in dogs. This article will discuss those causes and some everyday things you can do to help improve your dog's breath. The best solution is to figure out exactly what your dog needs and deliver it to them. Most dogs may need a combination of things.

Cause 1: Oral Hygiene and Periodontal Disease

This is the main culprit of bad canine breath. Every day a dog eats many things, but unlike their human counterpart, they can't brush their teeth. When this is day after day, eventually they start having oral hygiene problems, including periodontal disease. This dog health problem can be solved with some of the tips below.

Cause 2: Unpleasant Dietary Habits

This shouldn't be a shocker to anyone, but breath may be stinky because of what a dog just ate. While this can include all manner of disgusting things, there can be some surprises here. For example, the dog food you feed them daily may be contributing. This is especially true if the food is the wet kind.

Cause 3: Diabetes

While this condition is often considered to be more of a human problem, all animals can suffer from it. Diabetes will make their breath a fruity/sweet smell and can be an early indication of additional issues. Dog diabetes will appear in a number of ways and it is best to be diagnosed by a vet.

Sad Dog
Sad Dog | Source

Cause 4: Kidney Disease

If your dog's breath smells like urine, it is likely that they are not drinking their own. Instead, they may have a kidney disease which is causing it. This is also a great indication of a problem, and the dog should be brought into the vet as soon as possible.

Cause 5: Skin/Lip Folds

This is another potentially apparent cause that may not always reveal itself. The dog's bad breath may not be their breath at all, instead of being the skin/mouth folds. These folds can become infected and have bacteria. Cleaning out of the folds is an essential aspect of dog health and can cause them to itch less. If near the mouth, it could be misunderstood for bad breath.

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Happy Dog
Happy Dog | Source

Five Solutions for Bad Dog Breath

So what are some things that can be done to prevent dog bad breath? We understand the causes, and some of those can lead to solutions, but there are many other things that we should look at. Some of these require professional intervention, while others may be as simple as spending $5 at the local pet store. Ultimately, the goal is to make your dog's life as positive as possible. To that end, it may be a good idea to do all of these ideas instead of just one or two. That way, you know you've given them the best dental health possible. Good dental care can lead to fixing or avoiding a number of problems.

Solution 1: Professional Dental Cleaning

Just like humans should visit the dentist regularly, dogs should have this completed too. We can't always reach the back areas of teeth, and we don't always do the best job brushing. The same is even more prevalent in dogs. Dog's can't brush their teeth and would have a lot of awkward reaching all areas of their teeth with a brush. Even if you do all the other ideas on the list, this is the most important and should be done regularly.

Solution 2: Tooth Brushing at Home

One of the things you can do at home, without the cost of a vet, is brushing your dog's teeth. There are many custom teeth cleaning tools that can be used. There are also some techniques that can be used to help your dog accept the toothbrush. These can be done regularly to help improve their quality of life. Please note that going to the vet to get a professional cleaning is still very important.

Dog Chewing on Bone
Dog Chewing on Bone | Source

Solution 3: Bones (Proper Ones)

One of the ways that dogs can maintain their teeth in the wild is by chewing on stuff. One of the best ways to improve your dog's quality of life is to give them the proper items to chew on. Many places will do rawhide chew toys, which may not be good when they break off into pieces. This is bad because if the dog swallows the piece, it could hurt their insides. Instead, getting a special bone or antler that splinters, but doesn't shatter, maybe the proper route. That way if you aren't watching your dog like a hawk, you don't have to worry about future problems. Many of these unique chew toys can be bought for as little as $5 at the local pet store.

Solution 4: Plenty of Liquids

This is another solution that should be done for all dogs, regardless of their bad breath. All dogs should have plenty of liquids at all times. Not only does this help with digestion and other functions, but it can also help to reduce odor. When a dog is regularly drinking water their breath should get better. Furthermore, dogs don't have the same sweat glands as humans, and this means they need to pant to cool down. That releases a lot of water, so they will need more water to help in that cool down process.

Solution 5: Dog Probiotics

This is another piece of advice that works well for both humans and dogs. Sometimes the source of the problem isn't the mouth. Instead, it could be coming from deeper in the gut. By introducing some good probiotics, you can prevent a lot of dental issues from happening. This works for both humans and dogs, though it may be more challenging to find the proper probiotics for dogs. These helpful pills can also help with other digestion problems and can significantly enhance your life and the life of your pet.

How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2019 James Livingood


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