Bad Breath In Dogs: What Causes It And What You Can Do About It?

Bad breath in dogs can make cuddling with your furry friend a real nightmare. And the dog kisses you once felt cute, aren’t cute anymore. The medical term for bad breath in dogs (as well as in humans) is . Dog bad breath can be chronic or it can develop all of a sudden. Most dog owners neglect it and assume that it’s normal for dogs to have foul breath. But over time, the dog’s breath can become unbearable.

It can happen even if you use everyday. But it’s necessary to understand that there are a few other factors too that cause bad breath in dogs. The following sections lists these factors and discuss the ways to treat it.

Everybody wants those doggy kisses bearable gain, right?

Does Bad Breath in Dogs Always Indicate A Health Issue?

Well not always, but the chances are high. Bad breath in dogs can lead to other health problems. Halitosis is a symptom of a few health conditions that occur in dogs.

Periodontal Disease

It is a disease of the gums and vets consider it as the primary cause for bad breath in dogs. It’s caused due to the bacteria formed in the dog’s mouth which in turn results in plaque formation. Overtime, this plaque hardens into tartar and spreads below the gum-line. This is when the real problem begins. Irritation of gums occurs and there are even chances of the dog losing his teeth.

In more severe cases, the bacteria in dog’s mouth can enter the bloodstream and affect the heart, kidneys and liver.

If you notice your dog having trouble chewing or refusing to eat, you should check his mouth. He may be in pain and require medical attention. Be careful though, he may show aggression due to pain.


This can be another cause for bad breath in dogs. However, in the case of diabetes, the smell is similar to the smell of a nail polish remover or acetone. Sometimes the smell is sweet and fruity, which can also be a symptom of diabetes.

Liver Problems

This may be the reason as well, if the smell is remarkably strong. Foul breath in dogs, combined with appetite loss, vomiting, yellowish color in the eyes and gums, can suggest liver disease. If you notice any of this, visit the vet for a checkup.

Kidney Disease

It can cause the dog’s breath to smell like urine. This symptom together with changes in appetite and weight, urinating less or more and behavioral changes, indicate that there is something wrong with the kidneys.

Sinusitis or Rhinitis

Just like in humans, when dogs get a cold, they get their sinuses stuffed up and breath trough their mouth instead of their nose. Breathing this way dries the mouth and causes bad breath in dogs.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Problems of the stomach and the digestion may be the reason why your dog has bad breath. Sometimes, the can be the cause for bad breath in dogs.

Sometimes Bad Dog Breath Isn’t a Health Issue

There are couple of reasons that can also make dog’s breath stinky and are not the result of any health problem.


It is the number one reason for bad breath in young puppies. Usually, the puppies’ breath smells of the food they eat. Around 3-5 months of age (can be different for every puppy), puppies start teething. During this period their breath smells fishy or rotten. Their breath will continue to smell until they get permanent set of teeth.

You can find the best teething toys for your puppy .

Inappropriate Diet

Bad breath can often be a result of the food that the dog eats. Sometimes it can be something from the garbage or even some poop. to see the list of the best dental food for dogs.

Solution to the problem!

There are a few things you can do yourself at home to maintain oral hygiene in your dog.

Brushing the dog’s teeth regularly can help a lot for dealing with the problem of bad breath in dogs. However, you will need to get your dog used to getting his teeth brushed from puppy-hood. Otherwise, you will have a really hard time doing it. Getting an adult dog to adjust to the teeth brushing process requires time and patience.

Another thing you can do is, use dental care products for dogs. You can find a bunch of them listed here.

Dental cleaning is a procedure done by a veterinarian. If the cause for dog bad breath is periodontal disease, this procedure is in most cases the only solution. The procedure consists of cleaning the teeth by scraping the tartar build up using manual tools or ultrasound.

Make sure you take good care of your dog, that he eats high quality food, and you won’t have the problem of bad breath in dogs.

Leave a Comment