Dog Bad Breath – Causes and Solutions You May Want to Know

dog bad breath

For many of the pet owners like us, it is common that we show affection to them through skin contact. But, sometimes, it becomes difficult when our dogs suffer from bad breath issues. In this article, we are going to discuss the possible causes of dog bad breath and also how to solve this. 

Dogs have a normal smell, which is their natural characteristic. Animals’ body hormones, body oil, and sweat produce that odor. It is not something that you can call unusual. Well, almost every disease shows some symptoms at one point. An extremely bad smell from your dog’s mouth is a sign of bad breath. Bad breath may not be a disease always, but it can be the cause of a disease. 

What is dog bad breath?

The medical term for an unpleasant smell from the mouth is Halitosis. Bacteria cause the plaque and cavities inside the mouth. Because of this bacterial storage or periodontal disease inside the mouth, bad breath occurs.  

Some particular kinds of dogs like the Pug and Pekingese are most vulnerable to periodontal and other mouth infections. They have a short nose, flat face, and their teeth stay close with each other. The function of their teeth causes mouth diseases.

Symptoms and Causes of dog bad breath


Usually, Halitosis or bad breath does not show any particular symptoms. The only way to identify is the bad smell from their mouth. However, if this smelly breath is associated with any other diseases, some symptoms may occur along with this. Like –

  • Scratching the mouth
  • Anorexia
  • Extreme salivating (may include blood)
  • Loose teeth


Several health conditions can lead to dog bad breath. Lack of oral hygiene, plaque, mouth ulcer, and tumor are common causes. However, these conditions should be treated with much concern. Bacteria formation can increase the toxin level in the body. That condition can lead to some serious malfunctions in the kidney, heart, and livers. On the contrary, puppy bad breath can have a natural cause. It may happen when bacteria in the teeth gaps grow during the falling of baby teeth.  


Disease specialty

Metabolic disorders

Diabetes mellitus ( sugar diabetes), Diabetic ketoacidosis

Respiratory problems

Rhinitis, Sinusitis

Gastrointestinal problems

Swelling of the esophageal tube


Accidents or injuries


Viral, bacterial or fungus


Pharyngitis, Tonsillitis

The following table represents some other apparent causes

Now let me clear some points from the above table.

  • Rhinitis is the soreness or inflammation of the nose or nasal ways. Besides, the inflamed condition of sinuses inside the nose is sinusitis. 
  • The esophageal tube is the main connection tube from the throat to the stomach.
  • Inflammation of the throat or pharynx is called Pharyngitis in medical terms. 
  • Viral, bacterial, or fungal, these three types’ infections create a stinking odor, which can be the possible cause of bad breath.

Besides these issues, food habits play a vital role in the emission of bad smells. An eating disorder, named Coprophagia and eating foreign bodies can also be the cause of bad breath of your dog. Lastly, the existence of cancer in your pet can cause various mouth infections and thus result in bad breath.

How to get rid of dog bad breath


The diagnosis of Halitosis includes mouth X-rays. Other periodontal diseases like tooth mobility and sulfide concentrations need a mouth examination of your pet. 


Dental treatment 

You need to consult your vet for the proper treatment of dog bad breath. To retain the normality of gums, the pet doctor may suggest general anesthetic. To remove plaque, they use an ultrasonic scaling machine. Scaling removes the plaque from both sides of the teeth. This procedure also cleans in such a way so that harmful bacteria do not form in the future. Still, this treatment needs to be repeated once in a year to keep away further complications. 

Regular brushing 

Along with the dental treatments, it is also essential to take care of the oral health of your dog. A habitual routine of brushing teeth is a great way to wash off regular bacteria. Try to build up the habit of mouth cleaning slowly. Though it can be a bit tough at first, you just need to be tricky.

To develop the brushing habit, at first, try this process with toothpaste on your finger. Rub the teeth and gums properly to remove plaque and food leftovers. Sooner or later, you can try a toothbrush for your dog.

You can choose this amazing Arm & Hammer Health Kit for Dogs. There are toothpaste, toothbrush, and Finger brush in this combo pack. It is easy to handle, and the ingredients are natural. However, avoid contact with eyes and rinse off immediately if any contact occurs. 

Try mouth freshener

Mouth freshener products help to control the bacteria level in the mouth. Talk with your veterinarian for a recommendation in this aspect. If you sometimes want to avoid the brushing routine, Tartar Control Dental Spray for Dogs by Arm & Hammer can be a wonderful alternative. It decreases the potential risk of tooth decay and gum infections. Thus, it may be a help in controlling dog bad breath. Do not forget to avoid contact with sensitive areas like eyes and ears.

How to prevent dog bad breath

Prevention, in any case, is always the best. Try to prevent the causes and diseases associated with the bad smell of your dog. Also, the following tips can make your work easier.

  • Regular brushing is the first and foremost condition of bad breath prevention. However, try to carry out this brushing procedure with some enjoyable and funny activities for your pet.
  • Chewing materials prevents the formation of plaque and tartar. Chewing toys can work as natural oral care products. Ensure the correct chew toy selection according to the age and size of your dog. Moreover, chews should be kept inside the mouth for a maximum of one minute for better results. 
  • Small breeds of dogs have closer teeth. That is why they are more susceptible to periodontal disease. Therefore, you should grow oral health hygiene habits from a young age.
  • A healthy diet with the necessary nutrients can prevent various illnesses that cause bad breath. Keep watch on their food habit both inside and outside the home. 
  • A regular dental check-up at least once every six months and dental cleaning once in a year is essential. This activity will prevent any massive complications in the mouth.  

Home remedy for dog bad breath

Coconut oil 

Coconut oil increases metabolism and the digestive system. Mix one teaspoon oil in the dog food regularly, and soon you will notice the difference. Dogs love coconut oil, as it tastes sweet for them. You can also use coconut oil while brushing their teeth. 


Neem leaves extract benefits the oral health of both animals and humans. It is an ancient natural gift for oral hygiene. Try neem oil capsule twice a week on them. It tastes bitter, so make sure your dog swallows it properly.  


Cinnamon is another popular home remedy for bad breath. It keeps the natural freshness of mouth. Mix cinnamon powder in your dog’s meal regularly. 

Apple cider vinegar

For dog bad breath, apple cider vinegar can be a quite useful natural remedy. ACV can treat bad breath efficiently when it is used accurately. Add unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar in the dog’s water bowl. It will reduce the level of harmful bacteria and freshen up the mouth. 5ml or one teaspoon is sufficient for small and medium dogs. You can use around 10 ml for large dogs.

Probiotic supplements

A healthy meal with probiotic formula can assist in maintaining the helpful bacteria inside the mouth. Specially formulated probiotic supplements for your dog, control halitosis. Thus, the good smell from breath can get a life. Always check with your vet for the proper dose and quality brand of probiotic supplements. 

Mint and parsley leaves 

Mint and parsley both are natural breath fresheners. Their natural smell and chlorophyll help to keep the mouth fresh and eliminate toxic materials. Put a handful of these herbs inside the dog’s meal. It will also improve its digestive system. 

Carrots, apples, and guavas 

Crunchy and fresh snacks like carrots, apples, and guavas contain vitamin C and high fiber. They maintain natural production from the saliva gland and prevent dryness. They also fight germs inside your pet’s mouth. For your dog, it can also act as a natural toothbrush.

Dog bad breath and cancer 

Chronic bad breath of your dog can be a sign of oral or internal cancer. One of the most common inflammations in the dog’s mouth is canine acanthomatous ameloblastoma. It is also known as Canine cancer. It is tough to identify at first, but bad breath can reveal the early symptoms. Foul odor from the nose or rectal parts may also be the signs of the tumor. Early-stage detection can improve your dog’s condition fast. 

If you ever notice a lump inside the dog’s mouth, do not overlook it. It is not important whether it is a tumor or not. It is always best to contact your vet first. 


Bad breath of your pet can be one of the most awkward things that you face. Your pup may want to kiss you, but with its bad breath, it can be unbearable. However, if you think that only avoiding it will solve the problem, you are probably mistaken. There can be many valid reasons behind dog bad breath, as you have already read in this article. 

It is essential to find the actual cause behind your dog’s smelly mouth. Keep in constant touch with your pet’s doctor. Observe any unusual symptoms that may be the cause of bad breath. Specialized dental care, cleanliness, proper diet all of these can help to prevent and treat this problem.