Dogs are known for their unconditional love, but they are also notorious for having bad breath. To fully enjoy your canine’s companionship, making sure he or she has fresh breath is crucial. Let’s discuss when bad breath in dogs is a concern, and what dog foods and treats are best for bad breath.
Why Does My Dog Have Bad Breath?
Dogs can have bad breath for a variety of reasons, some of which could indicate a medical condition:
Diet. Dogs who eat canned food might have stronger bad breath than dogs who eat dry food because of the strong odor of canned dog food.
Other dogs might have eaten trash, poop or other unsavory items which have pungent odors that linger in their mouths after their forbidden feast. In this case, the bad breath is simply a result of their meals and is not a cause for concern unless they consumed something toxic to dogs.
Generally in these situations the bad breath is not constantly present.
Dental Problems. Dogs need regular teeth brushings and professional cleanings just like we do, and when they do not get these teeth cleanings, it leads to dental disease similarly to what a human would experience who never brushed their teeth. This can result in very bad breath, and the infections that may occur can travel to a dog’s brain or blood stream and cause serious illness or death.
If your dog has bad breath all the time, is struggling to eat and stops chewing bones or carrying toys around, these are indicators of dental disease and veterinary care should be sought promptly.
Medical Problems. Many dogs with medical problems display bad breath as a result of their illness or due to vomiting. If your dog does not usually have bad breath but suddenly begins to have it and it does not go away, be sure to make an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian promptly to see if the bad breath is indicative of an underlying medical issue.
Does The Reason My Dog Have Bad Breath Matter?
YES, it matters greatly. If you try to fix bad breath by simply changing your dog’s diet but a medical or dental condition is the cause, your efforts will be unsuccessful.
Further, since dogs cannot tell us when something is wrong, bad breath is a way for us to understand that veterinary care is needed. If we ignore physical symptoms our dogs display, a medical or dental issue could be left untreated, causing your dog to experience pain or discomfort, reducing their quality of life, and even potentially shortening their life depending on the condition.
Best Dog Food For Bad Breath
The first step to fresh breath is good oral health, which is why I recommend these foods for dogs with bad breath:
- Hills Prescription Diet T/D Dental Care
- Royal Canin Dental Diet
- Royal Canin Dental Care
- Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet Dental Health
Keep in mind that while these foods were designed to support oral health, they are not a replacement for regular dental and veterinary care. Feeding any high quality diet and providing your dog with dental and veterinary care should help maintain fresh breath, as well as the tips I list below.
Best Dog Treats For Bad Breath
These snacks may contribute to fresher breath:
- Oravet Dental Chews.
- Ark Naturals (This is what I give my dogs after breakfast every morning and they love them).
- Blue Buffalo Dental Bones (available in a variety of sizes).
- Greenies Dental Treats (available in a variety of sizes).
- Milkbone Fresh Breath Brushing Chew Treats.
- Pedigree Dentastix.
- Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Dental Dog Chews (often recommended by veterinarians).
- Feeding apple slices and carrots may also support dental health because they can help clean your dog’s teeth. These are also healthy, low calorie snacks. For a cool summer treat that freshens breath, freeze apple slices, carrots, parsley and mint in water in a plastic container for your dog to enjoy a healthy fresh breath “pupsicle”.
- Best Bully Sticks. (While bully stick chews may not smell great, they may help clean your dog’s teeth as they chew on the stick, contributing to oral health and therefore better breath).
Other Tips for Bad Breath
Consider these tips for dealing with doggy breath. Always check with your veterinarian to make sure a home remedy is safe for your dog before implementing it.
- Brush your dog’s teeth regularly with a tooth brush, finger tooth brush, or gauze wrapped around a finger and dog tooth paste.
- Arrange for a veterinary cleaning of your dog’s teeth regularly if suggested by your vet.
- Feed dental treats or chews daily.
- Offer dental bones for your dog to chew on like the Nylabone Durachew Dinosaur Dental Chew.
- Be sure to try our recipe for fresh breath dog treats.
- Bake these yummy Oatmeal Mint and Parsley treats by Miss Molly Says or Fresh Breath Dog Treats by About A Mom to give your dog snacks that chase away doggy breath.
- According to Modern Dog Magazine, parsley and mint may be added to your dog’s meals and/or their water to help freshen their breath. Both of these herbs are easy to grow at home. Dogs have a history of eating parsley and mint not only for the breath freshening qualities, but also for the stomach soothing and digestive support they may offer. Be sure to exercise caution in the type of parsley you choose, however, because “spring parsley” is toxic to dogs.
Arranging for your dog to have a physical exam when their breath is bad is crucial; you must first determine the cause of the bad breath to choose an effective plan to address it.
Fresh breath not only allows owners to enjoy cuddling their dogs without gagging when they breathe near their face, but also indicates good oral health, which may contribute to lengthening your dog’s overall life span.
Have you had to deal with this with your dog? I’d love to know about your experience with stinky dog breath so let us know in a comment!