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Bad Breath Dogs: What To Do?

Does your dog look sweet and innocent until he opens his mouth? Bad breath dogs can be a problem that makes you want to stay away! Here’s what to do. 

There’s nothing quite like coming home after a long day and being greeted by an excited, loving pup. But if his breath makes you want to swoon, it can ruin the reunion a little! 

Bad breath isn’t always a bad sign, but it can hint at underlying problems. If your dog has constant halitosis that doesn’t go away, it may be worth doing a bit of investigation into the cause before deciding how to treat it. 

Identify The Cause 

The most important part of dealing with bad breath in dogs is to find out why it’s happening. You can’t treat it effectively if you aren’t sure what the real problem is! 

Once you’re sure of the cause, it’s easier to treat it effectively. Here are some common reasons and treatments! 

Dental Disease 

Dental disease is the most common reason behind bad breath. Don’t assume that because your pup is young they can’t have dental disease – most of it starts from about 2 years! 

It’s caused by plaque—a substance made up of leftover particles of food that coats the teeth. Plaque calcifies and becomes tartar—a crusty film, which gets quite difficult to remove. 

Symptoms include swollen, inflamed gums, refusing to eat, or eating very tentatively. And of course, terrible breath! 

What To Do: If your dog’s breath is consistently awful, a trip to the vet is a good idea. Dental disease can be treated by antibiotics, or removing some of the affected teeth. Other than that, it’s a good idea to begin brushing your dog’s teeth at home and get them a great quality chew toy

Unhealthy Diet 

Dog food containing corn, wheat, soy, animal by-products, or artificial coloring of flavorings can upset your dog’s stomach. Sometimes, the food contains great ingredients that your dog is just sensitive to. 

In this case, the stench actually comes from the stomach. Digestive problems are a common cause of terrible breath, so observe your pup and see if this could be the problem. 

It could also be that your pup keeps diving into the neighbor’s trash bags and eating their rubbish! If they only seem to have bad breath sometimes, it could be something they’re eating in the yard or street. 

What To Do: Find a high-quality kibble, or better still, change to a raw diet. To keep your puppy’s breath fresher during the day or when they eat something dodgy, try a breath freshening spray

Kidney/Liver/Pancreas Problems 

Bad breath is sometimes caused by a medical problem that has nothing to do with dental hygiene. Kidney disease, liver disease, and diabetes all contribute to halitosis. 

If you get a whiff of urine or ammonia on your pup’s breath, their kidneys  could be playing up. If liver disease is the culprit, your dog may have yellow eyes or gums in addition to terrible breath. 

Diabetes is a little different—it shows up as a sweet, almost fruity scent that is rather unusual for a dog’s breath. 

What To Do: These conditions are a matter for the vet and shouldn’t be ignored. Most of the time, medication will be prescribed. 


Bad breath doesn’t have to ruin your joyous dog reunions after work! Although it can be a sign of a health issue, most of the time it’s easy to treat. 

If you aren’t sure of the cause, a quick trip to the vet may be in order for a checkup and some advice. Don’t wait to get it fixed—both you and your dog will be much happier for it! 

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Mike Powel

Mike Powell is a dog fanatic and a writer. He loves taking care of his dog and writing about them on his blog, Dog Embassy

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