Help! My Dog Has Bad Breath!

Dog halitosis is a pretty common complaint of dog owners, and “doggy breath” isn’t exactly the best compliment. There are multiple causes of halitosis, some more serious than others. Find out why your beloved pooch’s breath smells so awful, and what can you do to improve it.


  • Oral Hygiene – The yellowish substance you might observe on your dog’s teeth that can’t be wiped away is mineralized plaque, also known as tartar. Plaque starts to form in the mouth a few hours after a meal, and if not removed, starts to accumulate and mineralize, forming tartar. Just like in humans, a build-up of substances on your dog’s teeth, and the resulting gum diseases, can cause bad breath.
  • Digestive Issues – Food that doesn’t sit well with your dog might cause odors that originate from his digestive tract. Foods that contain soy, wheat, corn or by-products are more difficult for dogs to digest, causing them to stay longer in the digestive tract. The extended period of time allows for accumulation of more bacteria, resulting in bad breath.



  • Brushing & Flossing Regular brushing and flossing of your pup’s teeth will help remove plaque and prevent tartar build-up. Be sure to get a pet-friendly toothpaste and toothbrush for your dog. You may need to ease slowly into a tooth-brushing routine with your dog. What we’ve found helpful instead, since Noodles refuses the toothbrush, is to wrap a soft, textured cloth around our index finger, gently wiping away the plaque and any food bits that might be trapped in her teeth. Make cleaning-up fun, and reward teeth-brushing with lots of encouraging words and praise!


  • Chew Toys/Bones – The saliva produced when your dog is gnawing on a chew toy can help to flush out bacteria, and the motion of the toy against their teeth will gently scrape the plaque off. If you’re giving your dog a bone to chew on, make sure to give only raw bones, as cooked bones are more brittle and may splinter, causing internal injuries to your dog.


  • Dietary Changes – Consider a home-cooked or raw diet, or switch to a grain-free kibble with no by-product. The addition of parsley, a digestive herb, or plain, low-fat yoghurt to increase the level of probiotics in your dog’s digestive tract, can help move your dog’s digestion along as well.
  • Others – Sometimes something as simple as a haircut will help get rid of doggy odours. Excessively long fur around the mouth can trap moisture, food particles and saliva, causing unsavory odors. A daily change of drinking water, as well as making the switch to stainless steel bowls, can also help prevent bacterial growth in your dog’s food and water dishes.

Although halitosis is most often a result of dental issues, if the underlying causes of your dog’s undesirable breath is unclear, it might be time to make a trip to the vet’s office. We hope this was helpful, share with us what you’ve successfully done to combat doggy breath!


(Photo credits: 1/2/3)

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