Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell So Bad? | Bad Dogs Breath

Do you have a pup whose breath smells worse than the average pooch? Did you know that this could be a sign of something more serious than simply poor doggy dentistry habits? It’s true – bad breath in dogs can actually be an indication of certain health problems, such as dental disease or even stomach issues. In this blog post, we’ll explore why does my dogs breath smell so bad and possible treatments for it so that your pup can feel back to their best self.

Does dog have bad breath?

Dog bad breath is a common occurrence, particularly as they age, and may indicate underlying health problems. Our Apple Valley veterinarians will detail the potential causes of your dog’s bad breath and offer guidance on treatment and prevention measures.

Why does my dogs breath smell so bad?

There are several factors that can contribute to your dog having bad breath. The most common reasons include dietary choices, bacterial buildup in the mouth, and dental disease. Additionally, stomach problems and diabetes can also cause foul-smelling breath in dogs. Here are some reasons why your smell dog’s bad breath:


Dogs do not have the same oral hygiene practices as humans, so without regular cleaning, their teeth can accumulate bacteria, leading to bad breath.

Dental Disease

Lack of proper dental care can result in dental disease, causing bad breath along with symptoms such as mouth pain, bleeding, reduced appetite, and gum inflammation.

Eating Unpleasant Things

Dogs have a habit of eating things that are repulsive to us, such as garbage, rotten food, dead animals, or feces, which can cause foul-smelling breath.

Stomach Issues

Imbalances in the dog’s gastrointestinal tract can contribute to bad breath, along with smelly flatulence and loose stools.

The Dental Diabetes

Surprisingly, diabetes can cause sweet or fruity-smelling breath in dogs. This odor is a sign to seek veterinary attention, especially if accompanied by increased thirst, appetite, weight loss, cloudy eyes, dull coat, skin problems, vomiting, or lethargy.

Oral Hygiene and Periodontal Disease

Oral Hygiene and Periodontal Disease make dog bad breath
Oral Hygiene and Periodontal Disease make dog bad breath

The most common causes of bad breath in dogs are poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease. Similar to humans, the accumulation of plaque and tartar can lead to the growth of bacteria that causes unpleasant breath. If your dog doesn’t chew or have regular teeth brushing or cleaning, the likely cause of their bad breath is the build-up of plaque. Over time, inadequate oral hygiene can lead to periodontal disease. Excessive plaque and tartar can cause the gums to recede from the teeth, creating new areas for bacterial growth. This not only inflames the gums but can also result in cavities, infection, tissue damage, tooth loss, and even abscess formation. Needless to say, it also leads to very, very bad breath.

Kidney Disease

While a dog that eats poop might have breath that smells like poop, if your dog’s breath smells like urine, it is unlikely because they have been drinking urine. A urine odor in your dog’s breath is a warning sign of kidney disease, which requires a visit to the veterinarian. Kidney disease is a serious condition and could indicate an underlying medical issue.

Liver Disease

If your dog’s breath is truly foul and they are also vomiting, exhibiting a lack of appetite, and have a yellowish tinge to their gums, they may have a liver problem. Like kidney disease, liver problems can be a symptom of a severe ailment, and it is crucial to get your dog to the veterinarian or emergency clinic as soon as possible.

Oral Tumors

Oral tumors can also cause bad breath in dogs. These tumors grow rapidly, causing the blood vessels to be unable to keep up, resulting in areas of dead tissue. The growth of bacteria then occurs. Oral tumors in dogs are usually found on the roof of the mouth or around the gums. Some symptoms of oral cancer in dogs include excessive drooling, blood coming from the mouth, oral pain, loose teeth, visible masses in the mouth, difficulty chewing or drinking. Oral tumors tend to smell like rotten meat due to the presence of dead tissue. If you notice any of these warning signs in your dog, take them to the vet immediately.

The Heart Disease

Studies have shown that the severity of periodontal disease is directly related to the risk and severity of heart disease in dogs. The heart and liver are particularly vulnerable to inflammation caused by periodontal disease. Some symptoms of heart disease in dogs include difficulty breathing, exercise intolerance, fainting or collapse, pale gums, and coughing.

Other Medical Conditions

Serious medical conditions affecting the liver, kidneys, or gastrointestinal tract can also cause bad breath. Liver or kidney failure can occasionally be indicated by foul breath.

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When should you worry about bad dog breath?

You should be concerned about bad breath in dogs when it is accompanied by other unusual and concerning symptoms. In such cases, it is advisable to promptly take your dog to a veterinarian for a thorough evaluation and diagnosis.

When to see vet if dog’s bad breath?

Time to see vet if dog’s bad breath
Time to see vet if dog’s bad breath

When your dog’s breath smells sweet or fruity, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Sweet, fruity breath can be a symptom of diabetes, a serious yet treatable condition. Consult your veterinarian regarding other signs of diabetes to watch out for, such as increased drinking and urination, and arrange a veterinary examination for your dog.

What can treat dog’s bad breath?

Routine oral hygiene care, including daily tooth brushing and annual professional dental cleanings, can help prevent and treat a dog’s bad breath. Additionally, there are dental chews and specialized dog foods available to promote oral health. It is recommended to consult a vet for specific oral health products and to be aware of substances that could cause organ disease or failure in dogs.

How to fix bad breath in dog?

In order to fix bad breath in dogs, here are some recommendations:

  • Brush your dog’s teeth daily with petsmile professional pet toothpaste. Brushing their teeth 1-2 times daily with petsmile, a VOHC accepted pet toothpaste, can significantly improve their breath. Plaque can accumulate on teeth within 24 hours, so daily brushing is crucial.
  • Provide dental chews and chew toys to your dog. Giving your dog a dental chew once daily can help reduce plaque accumulation. Choose a dental chew that is nutritious, not overly salty, and fully digestible. Ensure that the chew is VOHC accepted to ensure its effectiveness.
  • Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian. Even with regular brushing, plaque and bacteria may accumulate in hard-to-reach areas. Regular veterinary check-ups will enable additional oral care, such as professional cleanings, if necessary.
  • Feed your dog a healthy diet. Choose dog food brands that are VOHC accepted and meet your dog’s specific dietary needs. Consult with your veterinarian for suitable food recommendations based on your dog’s medical history.
  • Clean your dog’s food and water bowls regularly. Pet bowls can harbor germs and bacteria, contributing to bad breath. Wash the dishes daily and opt for stainless steel bowls, as they are less susceptible to bacterial growth compared to plastic or ceramic bowls.

Tips for treating dog’s bad breath

1. Identify the underlying causes: Determine if bad breath is due to underlying health conditions such as kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, or poor oral hygiene.

2. Treat the underlying health conditions: In cases of systemic diseases, focus on treating and managing the specific condition to alleviate your dog’s bad breath.

3. Maintain proper oral hygiene: For bad breath caused by poor oral hygiene, consider professional dental cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup. This allows for identification and removal of loose or rotting teeth.

4. Home dental care: Maintain dental care at home by regularly brushing your dog’s teeth with a dog toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste. Dental treats and specially designed dog food can also help naturally clean your dog’s teeth and reduce oral bacteria.

5. Regular check-ups: Schedule regular visits to the vet for dental examinations and cleaning to monitor your dog’s oral health and address any issues promptly.

Keep dog’s bad breath under control

To effectively manage your dog’s breath odor, it is crucial to prioritize regular dental hygiene. This preventative measure mitigates the risk of dental disease and bacterial accumulation in the mouth. Additionally, ensuring that your dog refrains from consuming foul-smelling objects and maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet can contribute to combating bad breath.

How to prevent bad breath in dog?

Ways to prevent bad breath in dog
Ways to prevent bad breath in dog

To prevent bad breath in dogs, it is important to provide routine oral hygiene care and professional dental cleanings annually. Start by getting your dog used to tooth brushing when they are young. If your dog doesn’t tolerate brushing, you can provide dental chews and dog food designed to promote oral health. Make sure to consult your veterinarian to find the best oral health products for your dog.

Additionally, taking measures to prevent internal organ failure or disease in your dog’s liver or kidneys can help prevent bad breath. Keep toxic substances, including human medications, common houseplants, and foods safe for our consumption, out of your pet’s reach.

Top products for bad dog breath

Top products for combating bad dog breath include:

  • PEDIGREE DENTASTIX Fresh Breath Large Dog Dental Treats
  • Oxyfresh
  • Oravet
  • Relaxivet
  • Bodhi Dog

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