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Even the cutest dog in the world can have stinky breath. Not to worry, though. It’s normal for dogs to not always smell minty fresh. They have different dining habits and oral hygiene than their human counterparts. But, there are some things you can do to help the issue. Read below to learn how to get rid of dog bad breath (or ways to limit it).

Bad Doggy Breath: The Main Culprits

how to get rid of dog bad breath | Ultimate Pet NutritionYou don’t need a powerful sense of smell to know if your dog has bad breath. But, what’s causing that special stinky dog breath smell? Generally, those smells happen for the same reason they do in humans – poor oral hygiene.

Without regular cleaning, tartar and plaque can form on a dog’s teeth and around their gums. This leads to the growth of odor-producing bacteria. Ultimately, this build-up could lead to periodontal disease, which pushes the gums away from the teeth and allows more bacteria to build and smells to worsen.1

More Serious Health Considerations

Stinky dog breath can also be a sign of underlying health concerns. It can indicate things such as metabolic issues, sinus inflammation, and gastrointestinal problems.2 That is why it’s so important to take your dog to the vet for regular teeth cleanings and to monitor these symptoms.

Your Dog’s Diet And Their Breath

dog menu | Ultimate Pet NutritionThe smell of your dog’s breath is highly influenced by your dog’s diet. Certain foods (especially soft, sticky foods) have a tendency to linger on your canine’s teeth longer than others. This may accelerate the growth of bacteria – which is generally the reason for a malodorous dog’s mouth.3

All dogs have different dietary needs depending on age, breed, and size. Choose a well-balanced and healthy dog food that provides all the essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers your pup needs. This may help keep their body and mouth in tip-top shape.4 Speak with a vet to choose a healthy dog food that’s good for your dog and their breath.

Secret Doggy Snacking

If your dog goes outside, then chances are they eat things you don’t know about. Dogs are natural scavengers. So, a visit to the nearest trash can for a midday snack is not unusual for them.5

However, this behavior should be discouraged. It is a health risk that can lead to gastrointestinal disorders (in addition to stinky breath).6

Keep an eye on your pooch throughout the day to make sure they’re not eating things that can make them sick or lead to bad breath.7 This includes indoor dogs that can still find plenty of food “treasures” on the floor.

Oral Hygiene For Dogs

Aside from diet, there’s lots that dog parents can do to help limit their dog’s bad breath and maintain their oral hygiene at home. With a few products, you can play the role of doggy dentist to potentially help control plaque build-up and tooth decay.

Chew Toys For Dental Health

dental doggy toyChewing is a natural and entertaining pastime for dogs. With the right toy or treat, it can also be an easy way for them to maintain their dental health. As dogs gnaw on a chew toy, it scrapes plaque and tartar off of their teeth.8

Chewing on raw bones might also help prevent periodontal disease in dogs. But, be sure that their teeth are already clean and free from any swelling, as bones may irritate unhealthy teeth.9

Natural Remedies That May Help Bad Breath

There are a number of natural foods and ingredients that you can feed your dog or add to their food to help with their stinky breath.


Coconut Oil

Coconut oil isn’t just for humans. It turns out that most dogs really enjoy the flavor. Better yet, it is a natural and healthy way to help freshen their breath. Add a little coconut oil to their food, or let them lick it off a spoon. Your dog will enjoy the treat, and you can enjoy the fresh after effects.10

Add Lemon To Their Water

Lemon juice is also another great natural remedy for your dog’s stinky breath. Spritz a little juice into their water bowl. The fresh scent of this refreshing cocktail works to help eliminate some of that doggy funk in their mouth.11

dog sniffing toothbrush | Ultimate Pet Nutrition

Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Most importantly, you’ll need to brush your dog’s teeth. You don’t need to go to dental school to brush your dog’s teeth. It can be easy with the right dog toothpaste, toothbrush, and a little bit of patience. Just like their human friends, dogs can benefit from a good scrubbing of the teeth to keep those pearly whites shining.

In fact, some vets recommend brushing your dog’s teeth at least once a day to help control tartar and plaque build-up.12

brushing dog teethUse lots of positive reinforcement to encourage your dog to sit still during brushings. And, be sure to use a toothpaste that’s formulated for dogs. These often have flavors that are appealing to them, like peanut butter or poultry.13

The sooner you get your dog accustomed to tooth brushings, the calmer and more behaved they’ll be for future cleanings.14

The Doggy Dentist: An Essential Part Of Oral Health

dental ultrasound | Ultimate Pet NutritionBrushing at home is not a replacement for a scheduled dental cleaning at the vet. You still need to take your dog in for regular dental care.

Your dog needs to see a professional once or twice a year for some canine cleaning. Vets have the proper equipment required to deep clean your dog’s teeth and remove the plaque under their gums. Plus, they can work on cavities or damaged teeth.15

But, this level of cleaning will likely require your dog to be anesthetized. These kinds of procedures can be uncomfortable for your pup if they’re awake. That’s why it’s so important to see the professionals to ensure their comfort.16

A Fresh New Start

Maintaining healthy teeth is good for both you and your pooch. Poor oral hygiene allows tartar and plaque to work their way to the gum line. This could lead to tooth decay or other doggie dental problems which are uncomfortable (and potentially dangerous) to your dog’s health and well-being.17

So, it’s up to you to help keep your dog’s teeth clean. Monitor what they eat, give their teeth a proper brushing with a quality dog toothpaste and provide them with plenty of chew toys. All of this dental maintenance will help keep your dog’s teeth clean and their smile wide. Plus, you won’t need to cover your nose when they come in for doggy kisses.

Learn More:

Elder Pet Care: Tips For Caring For Your Elderly Dog

How To Groom A Dog At Home: Info For Pet Parents

How To Give Your Dog A Bath (If They Don’t Like Bathing)


DisclosureThe Ultimate Pet Nutrition team creates these articles as a way to provide you with the latest information on health and nutrition. Unfortunately, we cannot make specific product recommendations for our website visitors, such as “Nutra Thrive Dog” or “Canine Boost” Please consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best products for you.