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THE TRUTH ABOUT DOG BREATH: CAUSES, TREATMENT, AND PREVENTION

Updated: Apr 25


girl with black dog

I'm willing to bet you have smelled the oh so familiar smell: doggie breath. Turning up your nose shouldn’t become your go-to defense from your pup’s bad breath. It’s important to recognize the causes of the bad breath. Is it a minor issue? Or does it actually point to a bigger, more serious  problem? The important thing is to familiarize yourself with what is normal and what can be a sign of a much bigger problem.

In this post, we will overview the most common causes of dog breath, and how to prevent and treat it.  


Common Causes of Bad Dog Breath

First let's look at the causes of awful doggie breath. 


  • Halitosis

  • Gum disease

  • Bacteria in the mouth

  • Diabetes

  • Liver disease

  • Kidney disease

  • Unbalanced gut microbiome

  • Eating something nasty

  • Diet   

As you can see by this list, there are a range of issues that can cause bad breath in dogs. They range from minor to severe, such as being diabetic. The only way to know whether it is a minor or major issue is to take your dog to the vet. 


How to treat bad dog breath

If your dog has bad breath and you don’t know why, you’ll want to consult a veterinarian to get a professional opinion. For more minor causes of stinky breath, there are several treatment options.


Treatments of bad dog breath include: 

  • Going to the vet

  • Using dental chews

  • Using yogurt or ask a vet about probiotics

  • Use a water additive

To treat the stink in your dog’s mouth, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian. They’ll be able to pinpoint the problem and give you the best treatment based on your pup’s dental needs. 


  • Have regular vet visits

  • Brush your pup’s teeth

  • Use dental chews

  • Regularly check the mouth and gums

One of the best ways to prevent bad dog breath is to go to the vet. Have the vet check the gums and teeth for signs of plaque buildup, swollen gums and any diseases. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly to help prevent these issues. You can use chew toys or dental chews to help your dog knock away plaque buildup and stimulate saliva production, which washes away bacteria. Finally, regular at home dental checkups can help you stay on top of dental issues such as plaque buildup and gum inflammation. Read this article by AnimalBiome for some great tips for home dental check ups.  


We know that brushing teeth is like pulling them when checking your pup’s mouth. Get your dog desensitized to this as much as possible. It is even better when you can introduce a dental routine when they are a puppy. If you have an adult dog, there are several ways to persuade them to let you near their mouths. You can make the experience a pleasant one by introducing treats, making it a routine, and being patient. For more detailed information on how to get your dog to let you check their mouth, read this article by IPH


Final Thoughts Bad dog breath is a common, but it doesn’t need to be. You’ll want to receive those puppy kisses without triggering your gag reflex. If possible, make brushing your dog’s teeth a routine and also make it routine to check your dog’s teeth and gums at home. The signs you’ll want to look for are plaque buildup and gum inflammation. As always, consult a your veterinarian before using any of these tactics. Your vet will tell you the best ways to treat your dog’s bad breath. For weekly content with everything dog, please follow New Life K9s blog.

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