Written by Ella White
No matter how much we love our dogs, most owners will admit one thing: bad dog breath is one of the most unpleasant smells imaginable. It makes us less open to cuddling with our pet, and it could also be a sign of more serious issues.
Here we will look at the cause of bad breath in dogs, how to treat it, and how to prevent it in the long-term.
While we accept that our dog’s breath is never going to be that great, actively bad breath could be a sign of bad dental hygiene, periodontal disease, and other illnesses including kidney disease. So if you notice your pup’s kisses are stinkier than usual, don’t ignore it.
Dogs need to have their teeth brushed regularly – ideally daily but if not then once a week. Like humans, dogs teeth build up plaque and tartar that can lead to rotting and gum disease if not treated. Cavities, infections, and tooth loss caused by poor dental health also come with the side effect of very bad breath.
Diabetes can give the breath a sweet or fruity smell, so if you notice this on your dog take them to the vet immediately. Some bad breath smells can also come from bad dietary habits. Poor nutrition can lead to plenty of health issues that will cause bad breath, but also… Dogs like to eat gross things. If your dog has eaten animal remains, garbage, or animal poop their breath will be suitably terrible – and should inspire you to keep a close eye on what they’re consuming!
Bad dog breath can also be a symptom of liver disease alongside vomiting and loss of appetite, or kidney disease if it smells like urine. In these circumstances, seek veterinary advice.
If you think your dog’s bad breath is down to poor dental hygiene, periodontal disease, or unsavory snacking habits then the good news is, you can do something about it. Many vets offer dental cleaning services and can remove damaged or rotting teeth to help prevent further smelliness.
But an easy first step is to tackle the problem at home. Dogs should have their teeth cleaned almost as often as humans. And though many of them hate the toothbrush, they do eventually get used to it. For more information on dental care for dogs read our blog here.
Make sure your dog is never allowed to snack unsupervised and that all human food and garbage is kept well out of their reach. Even out on walks, keep a close eye on what they’re doing and potentially eating to remove the risk of bad breath from snacking on other animals.
Getting your dog used to tooth-brushing from a young age, or as soon as they come into your care, is a useful part of their wider training. As they grow to trust you and your routine, fitting daily or weekly teeth cleaning into this will help them settle into the mildly uncomfortable but essential habit.
Buy them special dog toothpaste and toothbrushes, which are different to human versions due to the ingredients and the shape. Using human toothbrushes on dogs should only be a last resort option, and human toothpaste should be avoided as it often contains xylitol which is toxic to dogs.
Giving your dog chew toys, dental treats, and other snacks that are good for their mouth like chicken feet can keep their teeth plaque free and healthy even when you’re not brushing. Avoid anything with high sugar content which is bad for their teeth and their overall health.
Bear in mind that smaller dogs need more dental care than large dogs as their teeth aren’t as strong. All dogs need plenty of attention paid to their dental hygiene, but the breed you own could make a difference to the overall condition of their teeth and gums, and what you do to support it.
If you’re unsure how to deal with your dog’s bad breath, or if you’ve tried all the at-home treatments and nothing seems to be working, consult your vet. There are a whole host of reasons that your pet’s breath smells bad, and a professional will be able to advise you on better at-home dental care and look for any bigger issues.
A good, healthy diet that is consistent with natural ingredients and no additives or fillers, like Front of the Pack’s air-dried food, is an easy way to keep your dog’s health in check. Air drying locks in all the nutrients from the fresh ingredients and reduces the food to a chewy, jerky-like texture that’s great for their teeth.