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Help! My Chihuahua has Bad Breath

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My Chihuahua Has Bad Breath

Chihuahua kisses can be very nice, unless your dog suffers from the heartbreak of halitosis. Then maybe not so nice. But most of the time this is a solvable problem.

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 these tendencies.

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 luckily too, it offers a good opportunity to get you and your dog onto the track of good dental care habits.

What Habits You Should Establish

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 agreed that when it comes to bad breath, dry kibble is better for your dog than moist food, 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.

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. And, if you have a household with felines, cat poop, which dogs consider a kind of candy. 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 breath issues.

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 he loves them. His stinky breath smell hasn’t come back. You can get them off Amazon here.

Add a few drops of unsweetened lemon juice to your dog’s drinking water.

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.

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

Vet checking Chihuahua's mouth

What Else Should You Do

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

So is there anything I forgot? Anything you have found that helps with your dog’s stinky breath? Please do tell in the comments!

Cathy signature Chi

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


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


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.


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.

Lindsay Pevny

Saturday 12th of November 2016

Their teeth can get crowded in their little mouths, Matilda still has a baby tooth that needs to be extracted, food gets caught behind it. Daily brushing helps her the most, but it's so tough when they enjoy it!


Tuesday 2nd of June 2020

My little Lola has really bad breath to the point I get sick to my stomach what can I do


Sunday 13th of November 2016

Yep my Joey had a baby tooth that wouldn't come out and it became impacted. His breath smelled horrible but once the vet took it out and he healed, his breath was fine.