What is Causing Your Dog’s Bad Breath and How to Fix It

We’ve all been there. Our pup has a face that draws you in for smooches, but a breath that sends you running for the hills! But your dog’s bad breath can be more than just unpleasant for you.

It can also be a sign of underlying health problems. You need to find out what’s causing it and, more importantly, how you can get rid of bad dog breath.

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bad dog breath remedy

Causes of Bad Dog Breath

So, what causes bad breath in dogs? Canine bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by a number of reasons. Though it is most often caused by a buildup of bacteria in a dog’s mouth or gut. Persistent bad breath can indicate that your dog needs some good dental care and cleaning, but it might also indicate larger medical problems in either the mouth, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, or organs.

Poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease.

An unhealthy mouth is the most common cause of bad breath in dogs. Sick teeth or gums is the result of plaque and tartar that builds up over time. This buildup can lead to bacteria getting trapped in your dog’s mouth causing infection and inflammation in the gums and leading to dental decay. Some simple dental care can help to take care of and prevent this problem.

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Poor diet.

What your dog puts in its mouth will obviously affect its breath as well. Whatever food you give your dog, or whatever your dog decides to sneakily snack or chew on when you are not looking, can result in bad breath. Take a look at what you are feeding your dog and make sure it is good for their health. Clean up any rubbish around the house and yard where your dog is to keep your dog from picking up something you don’t want them to.

Health conditions.

There are a number of health conditions in dogs that can cause bad breath. Diabetes can lead to a sweet or fruity smell. A urine smell can be indicative of kidney disease. Liver disease, throat infections, and gut problems can also create a bad breath in your dog.

The best bad dog breath remedy is prevention. Find out what is causing it and fix the problem. Your veterinarian is the best person to help you determine the cause. Your dog’s diet, oral hygiene, exercise habits, and general behavior will be important information to give your vet to help them diagnose the cause of their bad breath.

Best Bad Dog Breath Remedies

There are a number of remedies you can try if your dog has bad breath. What works best for your dog will depend on the cause of your dog’s bad breath. Keep in mind that some remedies will only mask the smell rather than fix any underlying problem. If you have had your dog checked out and are sure they have no major health issue that is causing it you can try these methods to help clear up the stench from your pup’s breath!

Raw Diet

A raw food diet can be a good start to eliminating your dog’s bad breath. Commercial dog foods can be a minefield of added grains, sugars, preservatives, and fillers that can cause problems for your dog’s health. Making your dog’s food yourself from real fresh ingredients is a good way to ensure they are getting a healthy well-balanced diet.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains antibacterial and antifungal properties which will help to reduce or eliminate your dog’s bad breath. It’s an effective bad dog breath remedy because it works to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy and prevent bacteria from building up in the mouth. It is also good for your dog’s digestive, immune, and metabolic system. As an added bonus, coconut can also improve your dog’s cognitive ability.

Just 1 teaspoon of coconut oil mixed in with your dog’s food will be enough. Or you can try using coconut oil to brush your dog’s teeth.


The citrus in lemon helps to stop bacteria from growing inside your dog’s mouth, preventing bad breath. Simply add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to your dog’s drinking water. Lemon acts as a natural bleach that will help to clean your dog’s mouth thus providing a fresh smell to the mouth.


Carrot contains beta-carotene which is a powerful natural antioxidant. It helps the body by protecting it from free radicals and plays a major role in maintaining good health.

Carrots are also known for removing plaque with their abrasiveness. Simply cut carrots into medium size pieces and give it to your dog in their meals.


The chlorophyll present in parsley helps in neutralizing odor, making it a perfect all-natural remedy for bad breath. Use parsley as a mouthwash or spray by taking parsley leaves and adding them to boiling water. Steep for 10-15 minutes then drain the leaves and let the water cool before giving it to your dog to drink.

If your dog does not seem to like the taste you can use it as a mouthwash. Pour into a spray bottle and spray into your dog’s mouth.


Fresh mint is another herb that is a natural dog bad breath remedy. You can crush it up into your dog’s food to help freshen up their breath. This has the added benefit of helping with gut issues and indigestion for your dog as well. It also makes a great homemade dog breath freshener that will keep your dog’s breath smelling fresh. Or combine parsley and mint to make up a batch of homemade dog breath mints.


Yogurt acts as an antidote for bad breath. The probiotic cultures help to break down hydrogen sulfide, which causes bad breath. Plus, yogurt is a rich source of calcium, which benefits the oral health of your dog.

Yogurt can be mixed with your dog’s food, or you can simply give your dog a spoonful of plain yogurt twice a day. Just make sure it is plain, unflavored, unsweetened yogurt.

Dental Care for Dogs

Brushing Teeth

Brushing your dog’s teeth is the most effective way to prevent dental disease. Regular brushing helps minimize plaque and tartar buildup and reduce the risk of cavities.

Buy a soft bristle toothbrush designed for dogs brush your dog’s teeth. Use veterinary toothpaste instead of toothpaste meant for humans to prevent your dog from swallowing a toothpaste that contains ingredients harmful to him. Brushing should be done frequently. At least 2-3 times a week is a good routine to get into.

Chew Treats

The best dog treats for bad breath are dental chews. Dogs that have access to these special chew treats have less plaque build-up, and some chew treats and can help reduce plaque by almost 70%. The mechanical action of chewing is what helps remove the plaque.

There is a variety of chew treats available at most pet stores. Remember to choose the right one for your dog. Small chew treats shouldn’t be given to big dogs as they can swallow them and risk choking. These should be used in addition to regular brushing, not instead of it. We like the Greenies Original Dental Dog Treats for a natural product recommended by veterinarians.

Water Additive

You can find a number of dental care products that you can add to your dog’s water to help prevent plaque buildup and eliminate bad breath. The Tropiclean Fresh Breath Plaque Remover is a great all natural one that is also recommended by veterinarians. Just add a few drops to their water bowl when you fill it.

Dog Dental Spray

Another option for dental care for your dog is a dental spray. The Premium Pet Dental Spray is a breath freshener that also helps to eliminate plaque. You can spray it directly into your dog’s mount as well as add it to their water bowl.

Just like with anything new you introduce into your dog’s life, make sure you do it in small doses one at a time until they are comfortable with it. Add foods in small amounts until you are sure your dog likes it and there are no adverse effects. When introducing a new routine like teeth brushing, do it in short bursts and encourage them with treats and positive reinforcement.

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