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Help! My Chihuahua has Bad Breath

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Chihuahua kisses can be very nice unless your dog suffers from the heartbreak of halitosis. Bad breath in chihuahuas is very common and fortunately, it is a solvable problem.

Chihuahua yawning with text "Help! My Chihuahua has Bad Breath!"

Causes Of Bad Breath In Dogs

Chihuahuas are notorious for stinky breath. It isn’t the dog’s fault. The breed is prone to all sorts of dental problems, including plaque (which hardens into tartar), gingivitis (gum inflammation), and tooth decay and infection.

There are also specific medical conditions that can exacerbate bad breath in dogs. According to PetMd bad breath can be caused by liver disease, kidney disease, oral tumors, and diabetes.

Chihuahua puppies may have especially bad breath during their teething process, which generally lasts from three to six months of age. Fortunately, this period passes, and it offers a good opportunity to get you and your dog onto the track of good dental care habits.

Brushing a chihuahua's teeth

Home Remedy for Your Dog’s Bad Breath

There are several easy ways to help get rid of your chihuahua’s bad breath.

Brush your dog’s teeth. Yes, I know you didn’t want to hear this. But hey, brushing a chihuahua’s teeth is nowhere near as challenging as brushing a bigger breed’s.

Buy a high-quality canine toothpaste (not the cheap variety), canine toothbrush, and finger brush (which attaches to your fingertip and is especially useful with small breeds such as chis).

Ask your vet for tips on the proper brushing technique. Or watch this video on how to brush your Chi’s teeth:

Consider what your dog eats. Everyone is in agreement that when it comes to bad breath, dry kibble is better for your dog than moist food. This is because chewing the dry food helps scrape off plaque.

But that doesn’t mean you have to forego moist food altogether, and in fact, for digestive purposes and to prevent constipation, it is good to offer a mix of both types. There are also special veterinary diets to help deter tartar production.

Another easy dog bad breath home remedy is to add a few drops of unsweetened lemon juice to your dog’s drinking water.  

Or you can add this solution to their water to help fight dental disease.

Try offering your chihuahua some parsley or peppermint leaves, which have a delightful effect on the breath, and also baby carrots, which help both the breath and the teeth and gums.

More Ways to Help Your Chihuahua with Bad Breath

chihuahua puppy eating carrot

Watch what your dog eats when she thinks you’re not looking. Specifically, stuff on the ground, which seems irresistible to the dog but can cause problems far more serious than halitosis.

Plus if you have a household with felines, cat poop, which dogs consider a kind of candy can cause stinky breath. You may have to position the cat litter pan in a way that the dog can’t get at it.

Some people swear by this for dogs who like to eat cat poop: Outta My Box

Make sure your chihuahua has plenty of great chew toys, especially ones that are marketed for dog bad breath. The action of chewing can help scrape the teeth and keep them pearly white.

Greenies are great for helping with breath and teeth issues.

A reader told me about these:

I have been giving them to my Lucas for his stinky breath. I give him 1 treat every morning and after about a month, I noticed his breath smelled much better.

I still give him this treat every morning and even have set up a monthly subscription for them and he still loves them. His stinky breath smell hasn’t come back. You can get them off Amazon here.

chihuahua showing teeth

When you visit your veterinarian, they should always take a look at the dog’s mouth, and if they recommend professional cleaning, swallow hard and pay for it.

If you notice a really foul smell, get your dog checked by a vet as soon as possible as it may be an infection.

Vet checking Chihuahua's mouth.

Routine dental care and cleanings are one of the best ways to prevent painful dental diseases.

So is there anything I forgot? Anything you have found that helps with bad breath in chihuahuas? Please do tell me in the comments!

Cathy
woman kneeling in front of a dog outside in snow

Paula Simons, DVM

This post has been fact-checked and approved by Dr. Paula Simons DVM. Find out more about Dr. Simons on our About page.

saeeda

Monday 20th of June 2022

please someone help me my chihuahua breath can wake the dead she has a fishy odor to her breath please tell me what I can do

Cathy

Monday 20th of June 2022

Saeeda, If her breath is that bad, there is probably a medical problem going on, most likely a rotten tooth but it can be other things too. She needs to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

LaVada Woods

Friday 3rd of June 2022

Thanks for info didn’t know about lemon juice in water, I will try! I ordered the chews you are giving Lucy if he will chew them? Thanks LaVada

Cathy

Tuesday 7th of June 2022

Let me know how he likes the chews LaVada!

Candice Wassill

Saturday 17th of October 2020

I have been using Leba II (from Costco) on my chi’s since they were puppies. One spray a day and their breath stays fresh and their teeth are bright white. Can’t say enough about how well this seems to have worked for my dogs

Cathy

Saturday 17th of October 2020

Interesting Candice. I have never heard of Leba before. I just looked it up and am not seeing Leba 11 but I see Leba 111. Is that what you are talking about?

Shawna L.

Monday 5th of March 2018

Good info I'm going to try baby carrots Easy to obtain and ,I think she will like them . I'll be glad to let you know in a week or two how it goes. XOSL

Cathy

Monday 5th of March 2018

Yes, do let us know Shawna.

June Foley

Wednesday 26th of July 2017

I have taken my Chi off all grains and sweet potatoe additives she is now having Salmon and sardine with chick peas still has bad breath she eats 11 plus cat food and her bad breath goes? But I read cat food no good for dogs can you advise on this. PS Not her teeth.

kilosmom

Wednesday 26th of July 2017

My vet told me that cat food was higher in fat so dogs can gain too much weight on it. But if yours isn't gaining weight and is doing well on it, I'd keep feeding that.