What Causes a Dog’s Bad Breath?

Bad Breath

Have you ever encountered the unpleasant odor emanating from your beloved dog’s mouth? The scent that emerges from a dog’s mouth acts as an indicator of its overall health. If you detect an unusual smell, begin by examining the interior of the mouth.

However, the underlying cause of a dog’s bad breath is not always limited solely to the mouth. Thus, accurately identifying the origin of the bad breath is of paramount importance. Moreover, ensuring proper dental care for your dog can contribute to the reduction of this undesirable odor. To maintain optimal oral health for your dog, let’s explore the topic of a dog’s mouth odor this time.

My dog’s mouth stinks! Where is the cause?

When encountering the bad breath of a dog, the approach to addressing it varies depending on whether the origin is within the mouth or emanates from the internal organs or an underlying illness.

For instance, even in conditions associated with the kidneys, urinary system, or liver, the dog’s breath might become unpleasant, so it’s crucial for the owner to avoid hastily concluding that it’s solely the dog’s breath that’s the issue. When seeking guidance from a veterinarian, accurately describing the specific odor you noticed when detecting the smell becomes paramount. Indications such as the strong scent of ammonia, a raw aroma, or a sweet fragrance can aid in promptly identifying the root cause.

Furthermore, furnishing details about when the odor first appeared and the circumstances under which it arises can also provide valuable hints for investigating the underlying cause.

Caused by Unclean Mouth

Do you brush your beloved dog’s teeth every day? If possible, I recommend making it a daily habit to perform dental care, even if it’s only a gentle brushing. Dogs that receive regular brushing experience less buildup of tartar. However, if you’re not engaging in dental care, similar to humans, plaque can accumulate, increasing the likelihood of tartar formation.

When tartar accumulates significantly, it can lead to periodontal disease and gingivitis, resulting in bad breath and an unpleasant odor from the mouth. As periodontal disease could potentially contribute to other health issues, if you observe gum bleeding or if your dog’s gums are decaying or loose, consulting a veterinarian is a good idea. Consistently practicing dental care and maintaining your dog’s mouth cleanliness is crucial.

Caused by What the Dog Ate

The aroma of a dog’s breath can be affected by their diet. Consuming excessive fats and proteins may result in a potent mouth odor. Moreover, an imbalance in the gut’s environment, caused by the proliferation of harmful bacteria, can also lead to bad breath. Offering aged, oxidized food or low-quality food with numerous additives can further contribute to a more intense odor in the mouth.

For those who consistently buy large bags to save on dog food costs, there are strategies to contemplate. To reduce oxidation, it’s advisable to divide the food into smaller portions and store them in a vacuum-sealed condition. Alternatively, you can transfer the food into a different container that enables you to seal only the necessary amount. By taking these precautions, you can help prevent the food from oxidizing.

Caused by Gastrointestinal Upset

Even if the owner takes care of their beloved dog’s dental hygiene on a daily basis, if the dog’s breath does not improve, there is a possibility that the bad breath might be due to issues with the stomach, intestines, or internal organs. In such cases, unless the owner follows the veterinarian’s guidance and undergoes fundamental treatment, no matter how much they brush the dog’s teeth or remove tartar, the bad breath will not disappear.

As a care method that can be done at home, to improve bad breath from within the body, incorporating unsweetened yogurt or probiotics (beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that regulate gut health), as well as enzymes containing lactic acid bacteria, can help regulate the gut environment, leading to a reduction in bad breath. When the balance of gut bacteria is restored, not only does digestion improve, but the bad breath also disappears, ultimately contributing to the overall health of the dog.

For dogs that naturally have sensitive stomachs or for owners who are concerned about their dog’s delicate gastrointestinal system, even if the dog is not ill, giving supplements to regulate the gut environment gradually and monitoring the situation could be one of the ideas to consider.

Dog Poop Stinks! Is There a Connection With Bad Breath?

Have you ever noticed that your beloved dog’s poop smells different than usual today? In instances like this, most of the time, it’s due to a disturbance in the balance of the intestinal environment.

Consuming processed products, greasy and low-quality dog food, and additives can disrupt the intestinal balance, leading to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Consequently, noxious substances are produced in the intestines, resulting in a potent odor of decay, akin to the scent of spoiled fish. This odor is then absorbed into the bloodstream, causing an unpleasant smell from the mouth, similar to the odor of a putrid drain or a sewage and mud-like aroma.

If your dog’s poop appears abnormal, there’s a chance that the intestinal balance is disrupted. Nevertheless, in senior dogs prone to constipation or dogs with intestinal torsion (a condition in which the intestines twist for some inexplicable reason, posing a life-threatening situation), bad breath can also manifest. Should your dog suddenly develop bad breath, it’s crucial to verify whether there’s constipation or an intestinal obstruction.

If your cherished dog’s feces emit an unusually strong smell, just as with gastrointestinal issues, consider incorporating small quantities of probiotics, yogurt, enzymes, and the like into their diet. This approach might aid in enhancing the situation.

How Can I Get Rid of the Smell in My Dog’s Mouth?

The odor emanating from a dog’s mouth, which is a cause for concern, can be mitigated through home care that falls within the capabilities of the owner. Nowadays, there is a wide array of dental care products for dogs that can be purchased, simplifying the process of providing care.

Brush Your Teeth at Home!

Because canine periodontal disease could potentially lead to other health issues, it’s important to proactively participate in dental care by brushing their teeth. Many dogs dislike the sensation of a toothbrush in their mouths. Initially, you can start by gently massaging the gums from above the muzzle and exploring around the mouth using circular motions—this will suffice. Take your time, avoid rushing, and gradually practice this technique, allowing you to eventually transition to brushing their teeth.

In case your dog reacts by biting the toothbrush or shows resistance, hindering you from moving it back and forth, an alternative approach is to use a finger cap-style toothbrush or attach gauze to your finger. Then, softly rub against their teeth. This method allows you to brush their teeth without causing discomfort to them.

Go to the Veterinarian and Have the Tartar Removed

A gentle dog capable of having tartar removed with a scaler can undergo dental care at home. However, if tartar has already built up extensively from the molars to the front teeth, there is a possibility that periodontal disease or dental abscess has progressed.

If the dog is likely to struggle and potentially harm the gums, or if the owner is in a state where the tartar is so severe that they cannot remove it, it is recommended to have the tartar removed at an animal hospital before other illnesses occur. However, tartar removal that includes cleaning up to the periodontal pockets will require a procedure under general anesthesia. Anesthesia can burden the dog, so it is recommended to perform regular dental care thoroughly before the tartar buildup becomes severe.

What Can You Do To Prevent Dog Mouth Odor?

Through the implementation of practices such as regular teeth brushing, utilization of dental toys, administration of supplements, and application of dental sprays, it is possible to diminish both the odor and tartar present in a dog’s oral cavity. Adopt a proactive approach in carrying out dental care and endeavor to provide consistent home care to hinder the accumulation of tartar on your cherished canine companion’s teeth.

Use Toothpaste Sheets!

Many dogs dislike toothbrushes with hard plastic bristles on the handle, but dental care sheets are items that can be used relatively easily by winding them around the owner’s finger. Since they can also rub against the back teeth’s tartar and plaque with the sensation of the owner’s fingertips, they are particularly effective at removing plaque.

However, if you try to forcefully remove tartar all at once, dogs will also resist, and it might harm their gums. Therefore, please perform the procedure gradually, getting the dog accustomed to it while removing plaque. Additionally, when using dental care sheets or gauze wrapped around your finger for teeth cleaning, be cautious and careful because there’s a possibility of being bitten on the finger by the dog’s back teeth if you force it upon a resistant dog.

Some dental care sheets come with fragrances, and there are also products that include substances to remove tartar. For dogs sensitive to smells, if a dog sneezes after using dental care sheets, it’s recommended to use unscented sheets or gauze.

Easy Prevention With a Toothpaste Toy

There exist products that can simulate the effects of teeth brushing through dogs chewing on toys. Nonetheless, robust toys resembling hard bones, marketed as dental care items, might lead to the potential breakage of a dog’s teeth if chewed upon with excessive enthusiasm. Thus, it is advisable to permit your dogs to engage with these toys while being consistently supervised.

Should a dog’s teeth incur cracks, resulting in the exposure of dental pulp, they could undergo pain and may exhibit an aversion to toothbrushing. As a consequence, tartar might amass significantly on the fractured or chipped sections of the teeth.

Toys of the rope variety also possess the ability to aid in the removal of plaque and contribute to dental hygiene. Nevertheless, there remains a chance that dogs might chew on and ingest the rope if left unattended. While toys that promote dental care, stress relief, and play are indeed convenient articles, their usage necessitates prudence. When employed skillfully, they can deliver teeth-cleaning effects and thwart the accumulation of tartar while ensuring that the dog revels in playtime.

Let’s Also Prevent Bad Breath Spray!

In recent times, there are products available for sale that allow the gradual removal of tartar without the need for full-body anesthesia. Instead of undergoing tartar removal under general anesthesia, tartar removal sprays are used. These sprays often contain alcohol-free ingredients, and many of them use natural components, avoiding harmful chemicals for dogs.

Sprays for addressing bad breath and sprays for tartar removal can be effective when used continuously for a period of two weeks to several months, particularly in severe cases. This type of product involves spraying to improve the dog’s oral environment, maintaining the health of teeth and gums. Many of these products work by softening firmly attached tartar on teeth and gradually causing it to fall off.

Without the risks associated with anesthesia for tartar removal and without the need for pet owners to nervously use scalers, these dental care sprays are convenient and user-friendly. Simply spraying into the mouth during daily activities can yield results, making it an easy and practical way to maintain oral hygiene.


If you’re concerned about the smell of your dog’s mouth, first try starting dental care. It’s said that about 80% of adult dogs have tartar buildup. Establish a routine during brushing their fur or after meals, and by regularly performing dental care, you’ll reduce the smell from their mouth.

If you can’t do it every day, simply massaging around their mouth can stimulate saliva production and have some effect. If you can’t determine whether the unpleasant smell is from tartar or gum disease, or if it’s due to an illness, consider consulting an animal hospital. It might lead to early detection of an illness.

Lately, some animal hospitals also offer seminars on dental care. This shows how important dental care is for your dog’s health. If you’re concerned about your dog’s mouth odor, make it a goal to learn how to brush their teeth and give dental care a try.