How to Help Bad Breath in Dogs? Causes & Natural Remedies

How to Help Bad Breath in Dogs? Causes & Natural Remedies

Last Updated on February, 2023

Cuddling with your puppy could be one of the most intimate moments between you and your dog. However, it could be marred due to the bad breath in your dog. 

A mild breath odor is quite common in dogs. But if it persists and becomes uncomfortable, it could signify some severe illness. Finding out the causes can help you to prevent and treat bad breath in dogs.

Keep reading to find out the causes, and learn how to prevent and treat the bad breath in your four-legged friend.

Quick Summary

Bad breath in dogs does not always mean there is a pathology, sometimes, it is caused by food and will go away after a few hours.

Bad breath in dogs is usually caused by something in the mouth, but can also be a sign of an underlying health problem.

Dogs have many ways to prevent and treat bad breath, including brushing teeth, providing dental treats, and feeding a healthy diet. If bad breath persists, talk to a vet to rule out any serious health problems.

Is Bad Breath Always Pathological in Dogs?

a dog Bad Breathing

Bad breath does not always mean pathological. Sometimes it is caused by certain meals and would disappear after a few hours. In this case, your dog will not require any treatment. 

But if changes are found in the oral cavity with severe bad breath, then there could be some serious underlying health issue which is to blame. 

What Causes Bad Breath in Dogs?

bad breath coming out from a dog's mouth

Bad breath is usually caused directly in the mouth. But bad breath is not always due to plaque or tartar; it could also be a sign of health problems, primarily an organ disease.

It is also essential for you to know the causes of bad dog breath so that it will make it easier for you to cure or prevent it. 

We have listed some leading causes of bad breath below,

1. Tartar/ Periodontal Disease (Oral Health Issues)

Poor oral hygiene is usually the root cause of a dog’s bad breath. Not brushing your pooch’s teeth daily or if your dog is not a good chewer could cause tartar and plaque build-up, eventually leading to dental disease and bad breath, which might require dental cleaning.

Periodontal disease causes gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, infection, and many more, including lousy dog breath.

2. Injuries in the Oral Cavity

If your pet dog has a habit of playing with sticks or chewing bones, there are higher chances for him to get injured by any foreign objects under the tongue or palate. It could also cause bad breath in him, resulting in oral infections or oral tumors.

3. Food (Dietary Habits)

Food of poor quality containing fish or feeding your pup with wet or dry food that leaves food debris in between the spaces of the teeth inside your dog’s mouth could also lead to a stinking breath. 

Most dogs also habitually get into garbage and love to eat cat poop, sometimes even their poop.

If he has access to any of these recently eaten poop and is not appropriately supervised, it will undoubtedly lead to bad breath.

Here’s how to naturally stop a dog from eating poop.

4. Bacterial Infections

Another main cause that leads to a persistent smell that stinks in your pup could be due to specific injuries that have been infected, tonsillitis, or any other inflammation. 

5. Diabetes

If your pup has a sweet or fruity kind of bad breath, you might have to take him to a vet because this is often caused by diabetes. Although the condition is severe, you could treat it. 

You can also watch out for some other symptoms of diabetes, like weight loss, increased thirst or urination, and changes in appetite. 

6. Kidney Disease 

If your dog’s breath smells like urine ammonia, it could be a sign of kidney disease. If your dog’s kidneys are not functioning correctly, they will not be able to filter and process toxins and waste materials usually. It will make the waste products build within and cause severe overall health issues, including your dog’s bad breath, which is another serious health problem.

7. Liver Disease

Suppose your dog’s breath smells really bad and also has some other symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting and poor appetite. In that case, these could be indicating that your dog’s liver has been affected and liver disease is one of the severe health issues.

Therapy for Bad Breath in Dogs

Therapies for bad breath in dogs

If yours is an older dog with a sudden change in breath, you must consult a vet to diagnose as early as possible. Medication, therapies, specialized diets, or even surgery might be necessary depending on the cause. Treatments are usually successful and easy when you identify the medical condition early. 

If your dog’s treatment is successful, the bad dog breath will eventually clear up. 

Natural Remedies for Bad Breath in Dogs

There are plenty of ways to keep your pup’s teeth clean and the breath fresh naturally. Below are a few natural home remedies you might want to try, and these actually work for bad dog breath. The best part is you can easily find the ingredients in your kitchen.

  • Parsley: Add small amounts to your dog’s food, or you can blend with water to create a juice (1 tsp for 20 pounds of body weight) and pour it into your puppy’s water bowl. Make sure you use the curly leaf variety. Spring parsley is toxic for dogs. 
  • Apple And Carrot Slices: Apple and carrot slices are healthy snack options for your pup, especially for your dog’s teeth and fresh breath. They are great for teething puppies as well.
  • Coconut Oil: You may add a little to your dog’s food and start slowly to prevent upsetting his stomach. Otherwise, you can also use it while brushing your dog’s teeth. 
  • Probiotics: Including probiotics daily with your dog’s diet would make his breath smell fresh by balancing healthy oral bacteria. Consult your vet to find out the best brand and dosage for your pup. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: You may even add half a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water bowl; it will help to freshen up his breath.
  • Cinnamon: You can sprinkle some cinnamon into your dog’s meal; this will help sweeten his breath.

Tips to Prevent Bad Breath in Dogs

tips for preventing bad breath in dogs

Some other tips aside from natural remedies could also help prevent stinky dog breath. Below are a few tips to avoid bad breath in your pup.

1. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

The easiest and most straightforward way to prevent bad breath is by regularly brushing your pup’s teeth. Not having your pup’s teeth brushed is the most common cause of your dog’s stinky breath and promotes oral health issues.

Brushing the teeth with a soft brush and a dog toothpaste will help promote pet’s oral health by reducing plaque build-up and also prevent tooth decay. Make sure to use canine toothpaste instead of toothpaste that is meant for people while tooth brushing, as they contain ingredients toxic to dogs, like xylitol. 

Some human medications safe for us are toxic for dogs. Consult the veterinary oral health council for oral health products that would suit your pup.

2. Provide Dental Treats

Providing your pup dental treats or dental chews at least once a day will keep his mouth and teeth clean as much as possible, as they contain ingredients that are active and target plaque and tartar build-up. It actually prevents the dog’s breath from smelling bad and broken teeth too.

3. Keep Your Dog Healthy By Providing a Proper Balanced Diet

Some ingredients in the feed can intensify your dog’s bad breath. Therefore make sure to provide your pup with good quality food with a balanced diet with natural and genuine ingredients like beef, lamb, chicken, peas, spinach, etc. 

Also, provide your dog with plenty of exercises and take him to the vet for frequent checkups; this way, your dog’s health will be taken care of and prevent any health problems.

4. Provide the Right Chew Toys

Provide your dog with the proper chew toys, as chewing prevents plaque and tartar build-up, which is good for oral health. It will also relieve him of his boredom and keep him happy and healthy.

Make sure to pick chew toys that are right for your dog’s size and age. 

5. Talk to Your Vet

If you have been providing a proper diet, and there are no emerging oral health issues, but still your dog’s breath is stinking so bad, you must take him to a vet and have his bad breath diagnosed. 

Your canine companion may be experiencing some severe health issues like internal organ failure – kidney or liver disease.


You need not worry about mild bad breath from your dog as it is quite normal. It is usually caused due to particular food they eat and would disappear after some time.

If your dog’s mouth stinks too bad after trying all possible methods, you better constitute medical advice from your vet to promote oral health. 

If the bad smell has nothing to do with dental disease, it could be some other very serious health issues. Talk to your vet and get an accurate diagnosis as early as possible to prevent internal organ failure.

I hope you found our article helpful! We love feedback! Do not forget to leave a comment and suggest to anyone who might find this article useful.


Foods that are whole-made would nourish your pup’s body while also strengthening his teeth. 

Apple slices, carrot slices, and pumpkin pieces are also great options to include, as many dogs enjoy them. They will not stick to teeth as well.

Listerine must not be used on a dog as they contain several harsh ingredients like ethanol, menthol (not mint), methyl salicylate, etc. They can create a negative impact on your dog’s health.

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Thomas Villalpando is the main author of IPet Guides. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. You can find more about him here.

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