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Published: Feb 23, 2024 4 min read

Bad breath should not always be a cause for alarm; your dog might have just eaten poop. Your dog’s care routine should include professional dental cleanings and regular tooth brushing at home to avoid bad breath and dental diseases. There are additional steps owners can take to care for their dogs’ teeth, including giving them dental treats and improving their diets. If a dog’s breath smells bad all the time, they should be taken to the vet for a check.

What causes bad breath in dogs?

It’s important to note that single instances of bad-smelling breath aren’t necessarily a sign that a dog is suffering from serious health issues. If a dog consumes feces, garbage or any other thing they should not eat, for example, their breath will inevitably smell.

On the other hand, bad breath could in fact be indicative of a problem. Possible causes for consistently bad breath in a dog include the following:

  • Bad oral hygiene: Plaque and tartar buildup lead to bad dog breath and health problems over long periods of time.
  • Periodontal disease: This condition may develop as a result of long-term, poor dental hygiene.
  • Gingivitis: Causing inflammation of the gums, this condition can also develop because of bacteria buildup along a dog’s gums.

Non-dental conditions that can cause bad breath in dogs include liver disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and more. Since causes can be as serious as a dog’s kidneys not working properly, owners should be vigilant of their dog’s breath and take them to the vet if they notice drastic changes.

Preventing bad breath in dogs

In most cases, good dental hygiene is the key to keeping a dog’s breath from smelling bad. Because bad hygiene can lead to both bad breath and oral health issues that cause bad breath, you should make sure your dog’s mouth is regularly cleaned.

Regular tooth brushing — whether at home or done professionally — will not only ensure that no food debris is left behind to cause bad breath and plaque buildup, but also help avoid oral infections and conditions such as gingivitis, periodontal disease and others.

Other measures dog owners can implement to improve their dogs’ dental health include switching to dog food that reduces plaque buildup, using water additives and feeding them dental treats.

How to treat a dog’s bad breath

Getting rid of bad breath will require dog owners to first find out the cause. If a dog’s bad breath is due to them eating something they shouldn’t have, brushing their teeth should do the trick. If it’s related to a disease or condition, dental or otherwise, your dog’s vet will be able to determine what it is and how to treat them for it.

Bad breath in dogs FAQs

Is bad breath in dogs a sign of illness?

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In some cases, yes. However, as noted above, illnesses are not the only thing that can cause bad breath in dogs.

How do you fix rotten dog breath?

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If cleaning your dog’s teeth isn’t part of your pet care routine, you can start there. Stinky dog breath could just be a matter of poor dental hygiene. If proper dental care doesn’t improve your dog’s breath or was never an issue to begin with, a veterinarian is the best person to determine both the cause and best course of treatment.

Should I be worried if my dog has bad breath?

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It should, at the very least, prompt you to incorporate teeth cleaning to your dog’s routine if it’s not a part of it yet. If it already is, perhaps it would be best to take your dog in for a dental examination and an overall checkup to rule out any health issues.

Summary of Money’s Bad Breath in Dogs

  • Bad breath should not always be a cause for alarm; your dog might have just eaten poop.
  • Your dog’s care routine should include professional dental cleanings and regular tooth brushing at home to avoid bad breath and dental diseases.
  • There are additional steps owners can take to care for their dogs’ teeth, including giving them dental treats and improving their diets.
  • If a dog’s breath smells bad all the time, they should be taken to the vet for a checkup.

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