POV, you're sharing a dreamy montage-worthy moment of love and bonding with your best canine buddy. There are plenty of smiles and wagging tails when Fluffy leans in to give you a big slobbery canine kiss…record scratch. Whaat. Is. That. Smell?!?

Your dog won’t understand why you're suddenly recoiling from their displays of affection, but stinky dog breath is a real mood killer.

Stinky dog breath is not uncommon, but it needn't be permanent. Read on to find out what you can do if your dog's breath is so bad it sends you scurrying for safety, what causes bad breath in dogs, and get some handy tips, tricks, and tools for ensuring your dog doesn't clear a room every time it opens their mouth.


  1. What causes bad breath in dogs?
  2. Preventing bad breath in dogs
  3. My dog's breath stinks! How to get rid of bad dog breath
  4. Tips, tools, and tricks for bad dog breath
  5. FAQ

What causes bad breath in dogs?

Bad dog breath is gross, but it can also be a good barometer of your doggo's health. Very often, 'dog breath' can be a heads-up to specific health conditions.

Dental problems and gum disease

According to vet research, most cases of bad dog breath are due to poor oral hygiene or periodontal disease. The build-up of tarter and plaque on your dog's teeth can lead to the development of bacteria.

Read more: Dog Dental Care: Basic Oral Hygiene and Teeth Cleaning

Dogs that don’t regularly chew down on bones or chew toys or don't have their teeth brushed can develop this build-up. Over time, the overgrowth of bacteria can lead to periodontal disease, gum disease, cavities, infections, and even abscesses.

All of these issues can cause some astoundingly bad breath in dogs.

Kidney disease

If your dog's breath smells like urine, that's a good indication that your precious canine could suffer from kidney disease. If you suspect kidney disease, don't delay in getting your dog checked out by your vet – this is potentially very serious or could be a symptom of something much more significant.

Liver disease

Bad breath in dogs, accompanied by vomiting, lack of appetite, and yellowish gums, is possibly a liver problem causing your dog's bad breath. Like kidney disease, liver disease is potentially severe and should be checked out immediately.

Oral tumors

Older animals can frequently develop oral cancers or tumors, leading to unpleasant breath. Often these can become infected, and the tissues can begin to die, causing persistent bad breath.

Dietary problems

It goes without saying that what your dog eats can cause some pretty funky breath. We all know that dogs are curious and will rummage through trash and snack on all sorts of less-than-appetizing morsels when they engage in unsupervised snacking. Anything from cat poop to decaying animal remains are common culprits of bad breath in dogs.

Preventing bad breath in dogs

The best way to deal with bad breath in dogs is to prevent it as much as possible. You can do this by ensuring you tackle your dog's oral hygiene. Regular brushing, dog treats for bad breath, chewing toys, and regular check-ups can ensure stinky breath never sets in.

A good oral hygiene regimen is best started from puppyhood. It's a little harder to get going in older dogs but not impossible.

Ensuring your dog eats a quality, balanced diet, gets plenty of exercise, and gets regular check-ups at the vet can help keep your dog healthy and in good shape, which can help prevent other health problems which can lead to bad breath.

My dog's breath stinks! How to get rid of bad dog breath

Once the stink has taken up residence in your dog's mouth, how you treat it will depend on what is causing bad breath in your dog.

Where dental issues are the cause, a good dental cleaning can significantly reduce the smell. Your vet may also remove loose or damaged teeth during the cleaning, depending on how severe things are.

If your dog is known for snacking on some inappropriate things, you'll need to double down on your efforts to limit this. Secure bins and trash cans, and ensure you minimize the opportunities for your dog to eat gross things. A Petcube pet camera can help you keep tabs on what your dog is scavenging while you’re at work so you can take measures to limit these kinds of snacks.

The good news is that once you know what's causing the bad dog breath, you can treat it. Once the underlying cause is treated, the bad breath should go away.

Tips, tools, and tricks for bad dog breath

When it comes to oral hygiene for dogs, there's no shortage of great products out there specifically for dogs. Grab yourself a good dental hygiene kit for your dog – this will include a toothbrush designed to tackle canine teeth and gums, and toothpaste that's safe for your dog.

Human toothpaste isn't always ideal as it can contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs, so it's best to stick to products designed specifically for dogs.

Chewing is an excellent way for dogs to clean their own teeth, so make sure to stock up on dental hygiene chews (although it helps a great deal if your dog chews them instead of swallowing them whole).

You can also invest in a chew toy designed specifically to clean teeth and gums.


What's the best dog bad breath home remedy?

When treating halitosis in dogs, it's always best to get to the root of the problem. There's no sense in masking a problem that can be fixed permanently in some other way.

If you are looking for homemade dog breath freshener, try one of these healthy options:

  • Carrot sticks and apple slices help scrape the gunk off teeth and help keep pupper's breath fresh.
  • Coconut is hailed for its antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Add it to your dog's food or use it as toothpaste.
  • Some sources say you can add some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to your dog's water. This may work to neutralize bacteria, but fussy dogs might not go for this. Getting your ratios right is essential here – concentrated lemon juice and vinegar can harm teeth, making these homemade dog water additives for bad breath more trouble than they're worth.

Whatever home remedies you try, always run them past your vet to ensure you're doing the right thing.

Why does my dog's breath smell like fish?

Does your dog's breath smell like fish? Even though your dog hasn't eaten any fish. If there's something fishy about your dog's breath, it's most likely a result of an abscess or cavity in the mouth. It may also be because a foreign body is lodged in your dog's mouth.

Help! My dog's breath smells like poop!

Commonly, if your dog's breath smells like poop, it's because (and you're not going to like this) your dog has eaten poop. Dogs eating cat poop is fairly common. Dogs also eat their own poop. It's not great. But it happens.

Another cause for your dog's breath smelling like poop or urine is kidney disease. If you suspect it's kidney disease, the sooner you get your dog to the vet, the better the outcome.

Why does my senior dog have bad breath?

As your dog ages, the chances increase that they will develop bad breath, dog breath. Tooth and gum disease is usually the most common culprit for bad breath in senior dogs. Still, digestive issues, kidney and liver disease, and even diseases like diabetes can cause the condition.

Having an older dog means you'll need to stay on top of their health with regular check-ups at the vet to catch issues early.

My dog's breath smell like urine – is this bad?

If your dog's breath smells like urine, that's your sign to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. The breath that smells like pee is a sign of kidney disease, which is not something you want to play around with.

The sooner you get your dog to a vet, the better your chances of catching things quickly. Kidney disease is severe and can be fatal if you delay getting treatment.

Final thoughts on bad dog breath

If your dog's breath makes you want to reach for dog breath mints, know that you're certainly not alone. Bad breath in dogs is a common ailment. There are many reasons your dog's breath stinks, many of which are treatable and manageable.

Most often, the cause is dietary – meaning your pooch is snacking on something nasty. While we can't all follow our dogs around all day to watch every morsel that passes their lips, Petcube's pet cam can help shed some light on what our pups get up to during the day while we're at work.

Other potential issues that can cause bad breath may need veterinary care. Problems like liver and kidney disease are severe and shouldn't go untreated.

So, while bad breath in dogs is common, it isn't normal and can indicate something more serious going on with your dog's health. Never make assumptions when it comes to your pet's health. Get it checked out.

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