As you’re sitting on the couch with your dog, watching a movie at the end of the day, he breathes right into your face and you can’t help but notice the horrible smell of your dog’s breath. It is quite common for dogs to have bad breath is very common as we typically don’t brush their teeth as often as we brush our own.
If you’re wondering if there is anything you can do to help give your dog better breath, the good news is yes – there’s definitely something you can do. There are a few products you can purchase, but there are also a few at-home remedies you can use to help with the bad breath.
First, though, what causes bad breath?
If you’ve noticed that your dog seems to have really, really bad breath – worse than even normal dog breath – there could be a medical reason why it’s happening. If your dog has one of these conditions, it is possible to cause bad breath.
Periodontal Disease/Bad Oral Hygiene
This is likely the most common reason your dog has bad breath – after all, it will be happening in your dog’s mouth. Dogs, just like humans, can have plaque and tartar build-up which leads to bacteria growing in the mouth and results in bad breath. Dogs that are chewers, or if you regularly brush their teeth, are less likely to have plaque build-up.
Weird Dietary Habits
This is going to sound really gross, but let’s be real: dogs can be quite gross sometimes. Sometimes dogs get into the garbage, or eat dead animals or sometimes even eat dog poop. All of these unpleasant habits can add up to your dog having really, absolutely horrible breath.
A dog who eats dog poop will likely have breath that smells like dog poop, but if your dog’s breath smells like urine then it’s likely he is drinking urine. This can be a sign of kidney disease in your dog, and definitely warrants a trip to your vet’s office as well as some breath freshener.
If your dog’s breath is really, really foul and your dog is vomiting a lot combined with yellowing of the gums, this can definitely be a sign of liver disease. You should make an appointment with your vet to have this looked at immediately.
So, now that we know what could possibly be causing the bad breath in your dog how can you fix it? There are a few things you can try to get rid of your best friend’s foul-smelling breath.
Brush Their Teeth
This may or may not be an easy feat, depending on how accommodating your dog is. Brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis can help prevent plaque from building up, which in turn prevents the bacteria that leads to bad breath.
Brushing our teeth is second nature to us because we’ve been doing it for almost our whole lives, but for dogs it can be a little weird at first. With a little training and some patience, most dogs learn to at least tolerate having their teeth brushed.
What’s more is they make some really neat kinds of dog toothpaste, with flavors like chicken and liver. Pick up some toothpaste, like the Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste in poultry flavor and start brushing your dog’s teeth today.
PRO TIP: if you want to get your dog used to the idea of brushing their teeth, you can put some of their toothpaste on one of your fingers and present it to your dog. As your dog sniffs it and starts to lick your finger, start to slowly rub it against their teeth so they get used to the idea of that motion.
- DOG TOOTHPASTE: Petrodex Advanced Dental Care Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste helps reduce plaque and tartar formation.
- PATENTED ENZYMES: With patented enzymes, this non-foaming formula of dog toothpaste does not require rinsing.
- FIGHTS BAD BREATH: With regular use, Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs helps reduce plaque and fights bad breath.
- POULTRY FLAVOR: Dog toothpaste comes in a delicious poultry flavor that dogs love
- RECOMMENDED USE: For best results, brush using enzymatic toothpaste for dogs at least 2-3 times per week. Use a soft-bristled Petrodex toothbrush designed for pets.
If you really have trouble brushing your dog’s teeth, they make dental chews – which are almost like treats – that help keep plaque from building up on your dog’s teeth.
These chews can be picked up from your local pet store, or ordered online. Dental chews, like the Canine Greenies are a once-daily treat you give your dog that is good for their teeth and can – sometimes – act as a substitute for brushing your dog’s teeth.
If your vet recommends a specific brand of chews for your dog, you should follow their advice. Otherwise, try a couple of different brands and see what your dog likes best.
- Contains one (1) 36 ounce 24-count pack of Greenies Original Large Natural Dental Dog Treats; Natural Dog Treats Plus Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients
- The unique texture of Greenies Dog Chews cleans down to the Gumline to fight plaque and tartar and freshen bad dog breath
- Greenies Treats for Dogs are veterinarian recommended and VOHC accepted (Veterinary Oral Health Council)
- Treat your big dog fantastically with the great taste of Greenies Original Dental Treats
- Greenies Dog Treats are made with natural, easy-to-digest ingredients and are nutritionally complete
Dog Chewstick Toothbrush
Is your dog a big chewer and would much rather chew on a tow than sit and have their teeth brushed? Well, lucky for you there is a chewstick toothbrush that acts to clean your dog’s teeth but they will think of it as a toy.
As a bonus, some of the chew stick toys – like this one – have the option to add toothpaste to the toy so that your dog will get the benefit of toothpaste by brushing their teeth with playing with a toy.
- ALMOST INDESTRUCTIBLE: Made of STRONG UPGRADED EXTREMELY DURABLE RUBBER, the dog toys are long lasting and provide months of tooth brushing and play. The squeaky dog chew toy is absolutely the best Christmas gift for dogs.
- SAFE TO CHEW: The dog toy is made of premium food-grade rubber, as safe as a baby pacifier, no bitter taste or strong smell. The smell of the toy is light milk coconut scent, it smells really good. Dogs like the smell. It attracts dogs to chew. Safe and Fun to Chew, Chase and Fetch.
- ATTRACTIVE DESIGN: When dog chews the toy, it will squeak which attracts dog to play hours. Popular shape and aligned bristles make the dog toy more attractive and effective. It is like dog is playing with a gator while brushing his own teeth, making teeth cleaning easy and interesting.
- BRUSH TEETH BY THEMSELVES: After adding toothpaste or favorite food in the mouth of the dog toothbrush, your dog can hold the anti-slip strips with paws and brush their own teeth, freshen breath.
- YOU WILL GET: 1* dog chew toy (LENGTH 6.29 IN, UPPER WIDTH 2.36 IN, UNDER WIDTH 1.96 IN, FOR 30-80 LBS) (NOT FOR SMALL DOGS).
Home Remedies for a Dog’s Bad Breath
There are also a few home remedies you can use, from items you likely already have around the house, to help with your dog’s bad breath.
Some people grow wheatgrass in their house as their cats will eat it, but you can clip some of it off and add it to your dog’s food. Wheatgrass is a raw, natural source of chlorophyll which is added to the dental chews you’d buy at the store. It helps to neutralize bad breath in your dog.
Having done it ourselves, we know that it is not difficult and can even be fun for the green thumbs among us!
If you use this option, it’s important to note that chlorophyll can sometimes turn your dog’s poop a little greenish in color. If it’s the first time you see this it can be a little off-putting, but there’s no problem to worry about.
This product has a lot of benefits on its own, but it can also help with your dog’s bad breath. Mix a heaping teaspoon of coconut oil into the food you normally feed your dog so that your dog will ingest it regularly. The oil itself has a sweet scent to it so your dog will likely lap it up since it will seem like they’re eating a treat they shouldn’t be.
In addition to helping with foul breath, coconut oil can also help boost your dog’s digestive and immune systems as well as their metabolic functions.
- NATURALLY EXTRACTED and NUTRIENT DENSE: Nutiva’s all-natural cold press extraction process yields a pure, light-tasting, nutrient-rich oil containing 63% medium chain triglycerides and 50% lauric acid without the use of dangerous and harmful chemicals, hexane, or heat
- PREMIUM DIET COMPATIBILITY: Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil is an ideal addition to vegetarian, vegan, raw, whole food, paleo, ketogenic, and gluten-free diets
- HEALTH AND BEAUTY: Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil has natural moisturizing and deep conditioning properties, making it an invaluable part of every body care regimen
- COMMITMENT TO QUALITY: Nutiva partners with organic farmers to source the world’s finest fresh, organic virgin coconuts and stringently adheres to USDA certified organic and non-GMO guidelines to deliver superfood that is good for you and good for the planet
- EASY TO USE PACKAGING: Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil is packaged in safe, convenient, BPA-free packaging
Like coconut oil, neem oil is a product you can use to help with your dog’s bad breath. It is extracted from the neem tree. For dogs, this extract will come in capsule form. You can put one of them on your dog’s food by opening it up and sprinkling the powder over the food.
Do remember, though, neem can be quite bitter, and not all dogs like the taste.
Neem will also help promote healthier skin and coat for your dog. So if your dog is suffering from dry skin this option may help in both cases.
- Neem Bliss is 100% Cold-pressed pure Organic Neem Oil, completely natural, totally free of chemicals
- OMRI Listed (For Organic Use). Used in Organic Farming.
- JUST ONE INGREDIENT - 100% Pure Neem Oil, natural, cold-pressed. 100% non-toxic.
- Very effective Indoor/ Outdoor Plant Spray-High Azadirachtin content
Most of us keep cinnamon in our spice rack as it’s something we use often in our own cooking and baking, and it can be used to help give your dog’s better breath. You can sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on your dog’s food – either in the morning or at night – and it will sweeten their breath very quickly.
- Deep, sweet, warm flavor and rich mahogany color
- Great for baked goods, including cookies, muffins, pies and cinnamon rolls
- Versatile spice for sweet and savory dishes
- Aged up to 15 years for rich flavor
- Premium quality for pure, superior flavor; never made with added fillers
Make an appointment with your vet
If you have tried any combination of these options for remedying your dog’s foul breath, there could be something more involved. Many dogs have dental disease by the age of 3, including inflamed gums.
If you have been trying on your own to give your dog fresher breath but it isn’t working then your vet may suggest for your dog to have a full dental. This procedure involves putting your dog under anesthesia where the vet will do a complete dental exam and cleaning. Your vet may also decide to pull any teeth that are decaying or cracked.
Bad Breath Among Dogs – Parting Words
We love our furry best friends, but sometimes their foul breath can make it difficult to be physically close to them. There are products you can purchase that will help with the bad breath – like dog toothpaste – but you can also try a few at-home remedies with things you might already have laying around the house.
Some of the remedies that you might have already laying around the house you can add to your dog’s food, which makes it easy for your dog to ingest them and you don’t have to force it on them. Other options, like brushing your dog’s teeth, might take some getting used to. Although, with time your dog can get used to having their teeth brushed regularly.
If this continues to be a concern for you, you should bring it up with your veterinarian at your dog’s yearly check-up. Your vet may be able to determine what the cause is and there could be a specific remedy for their cause.
With diligence and regular care, you can help your dog have the freshest breath possible so that when you’re snuggling on the couch you don’t find yourself gagging on their foul breath.