Home Remedies for Bad Dog Breath

Health & Wellbeing
January 4, 2022
Author: 
Diana Bocco
Reviewed By: 
Dr. Farshad Goodarzi - Animal Nutritionist
5 minute read
Dog with bad breath wearing a blue jean jacket

A staggering 80 percent of dogs are already showing signs of oral disease by the time they turn three years old, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS). This means plaque accumulation, gum inflammation and yes, bad breath.

But bad dog breath isn’t just icky – left untreated, it can eventually become a serious problem that will affect your dog’s overall health and well-being.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to understanding stinky breath and how you can fight against it.  

What Causes Bad Breath in Dogs

Figuring out the cause behind your dog’s bad breath is key to finding a proper solution. After all, bad breath is usually just an obvious symptom that something isn’t right in your pet’s mouth.

One of the most common causes of bad breath is poor diet. Feeding your dog foods high in sugars (refined carbohydrates) or fats can cause dental issues and lead to an increase in plaque and tartar formation – and so can feeding poor-quality kibble that doesn’t provide all the necessary nutrients.

A number of health conditions can also lead to bad breath in dogs. Metabolic diseases such as diabetes and kidney failure can cause the breath to smell sweet, sour or almost metallic -- depending on the underlying issue and what toxins or bacteria might be building up in the body.

By far, though, the most common cause of bad breath is periodontal disease, caused as plaque builds up on their teeth. Like in people, unless dogs’ teeth are regularly brushed, bacteria will accumulate and eventually lead to gum tissues’ inflammation (gingivitis).

Treating Your Dog’s Bad Breath

As with everything, prevention is key! Get your pup used to brushing early on to prevent plaque accumulation. The AKC Health Foundation also recommends providing your dog with appropriate chew toys to act like natural teeth cleaners. Plus, chewing has the added benefit of preventing boredom – and since a bored dog is likely to get into trouble and potentially chew up your shoes or furniture, this is a very good thing.

Some fresh mint or a pinch of parsley added to drinking water or your dog’s meals can help fight bad breath too. Since they contain chlorophyll, these “garnishes” can also help control bacteria and provide an array of antioxidants that protect vision and can soothe an upset tummy.

Need something a bit stronger? Ask your vet for some doggie probiotics. They can help promote healthy bacterial balance in your dog’s gastrointestinal system, regulate bowel function, and improve your pup’s breath.

When to See the Vet

If your pup’s oral health is compromised, it might be time to see your vet. As plaque and tartar build-up and harden, they become impossible to remove except with a deep cleaning under general anesthesia. While this might sound scary, ignoring the problem can be much worse – bacteria can lead to tissue destruction, infections, and even kidney and heart problems.

Bad breath that smells “funny” also warrants a visit to the vet. For example, bad breath with a fruity smell could indicate diabetes, while a foul (rotten-like) smell could be a sign of liver disease.

Foul breath accompanied by loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy or other symptoms requires a vet check-up as soon as possible, as it could indicate organ disease or failure.

Fresh dog food raw ingredients in a bowl between dog's paws
A well-balanced, healthy diet can go a long way in positively affecting your dog’s dental health

Changing Your Pet’s Diet

Ultimately, one of the best things you can do to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy is to feed an optimal diet. A well-balanced, healthy diet can go a long way in positively affecting your dog’s dental health.

For years, the myth of “kibble is best” has impacted what pet owners feed their dogs. But many experts now believe a commercial pet food diet doesn’t do much for your dog’s oral health – and it might actually be detrimental for them. A 2003 Belgian study concluded that dogs fed a fresh food diet lived up to 32 months longer than those fed an industrial, commercial diet. The reason? Fresh diets offer better quality ingredients with no artificial or chemical treatments added during processing.

dog kissing owner

At Cola’s Kitchen, we believe in offering your dog the healthiest fresh food available. But we also know that every dog is different and the typical one-size-fits-all solution to feeding is not the answer.

Instead, we have created a program that offers 100 percent individually balanced human-grade fresh food for your dogs. Just answer a series of questions, and we will design an optimal diet individually balanced based on your dog’s unique needs. With a customized set of ingredients in place, not only will your dog get the best nutrition possible with every bite, but his breath will smell cleaner than ever.

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