While dogs and puppies especially are known for having bad breath, sometimes your pup’s stinky breath can be an indicator of another, deeper issue at hand. And, as a dog parent, you might be pleased to learn that your dog’s breath doesn’t have to stink and it’s possible to learn how to fix your dog’s bad breath.
There are numerous ways to get rid of your dog’s bad breath, but first, you’ll need to understand the root of the issue. This will help you to find the best remedy to getting rid of the bad breath once and for all.
Whether you’re tired of bad dog breath in your face every time your dog comes up to greet you or that you’re noticing a smell that’s a little out of the ordinary, your first order of business will likely be to take your dog to the vet. If there’s nothing wrong with your dog and you’re just looking to treat bad breath, follow the steps outlined below.
Causes of Bad Dog Breath
When you take your dog in for their regular vet checkup, be sure to ask about their breath! Your vet should be able to tell, based on your dog’s breed, age, and overall health, whether or not their bad breath is a significant issue due to an underlying medical condition or if it’s caused by a simple fix such as a change in diet.
The most common causes of bad breath include:
● Breed: Smaller dog breeds and breeds with short snouts are more prone to having bad breath only due to their body composition.
● Diet: An imbalanced diet can lead to gut issues. When gut microbiomes are out of whack, it can cause a foul odour to make its way up to your dog’s mouth.
● Gum Disease: Dogs are prone to gum disease in the same way that humans are! In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that around 80% of dogs will have some sort of gum disease by the time they reach three years old.
Other causes of bad breath in dogs are linked to certain diseases and medical conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, or kidney disease. This is why you must take your dog to the vet if you suspect that their bad breath is worsening or smells different than usual.
Once your vet rules out any major health issues, you can rest assured knowing that it’s likely just a case of a poor diet and lack of proper dental hygiene.
Tips for Preventing Bad Breath in Dogs
There’s a lot to know about caring for dogs, such as how to find the right groomer, what kind of food they need, and how to train them properly. Along with all of that, however, you also need to pay special attention to their hygiene.
Unfortunately, they’re not like children and can’t brush their own teeth or even let you know when they need a little extra lovin’. If you want to prevent your dog from having bad breath, brushing their teeth regularly is absolutely necessary, though.
To prevent bad breath in dogs, we suggest…
1. Brushing Their Teeth Regularly
The most effective way to stop the stink is to ensure that you’re brushing your dog’s teeth regularly with a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. We suggest consulting your vet on this as they’ll likely be able to recommend the best toothbrushes for your dog’s breed and size.
In terms of dog toothpaste, they tend to come in two flavors: minty flavors and meat flavors. While brushing your dog’s teeth with meat or poultry-flavored toothpaste might not make their breath smell fresh, it does help to prevent plaque build-up and improve their overall dental hygiene.
Plus, you want your dog to enjoy having their teeth brushed! If you find that the minty flavors are too intense for them, try the food-flavoured toothpaste for dogs to see if they’re more tolerant. Either way, you’re cleaning their teeth, and that’s what really matters.
2. Giving Them Lots of Chew Toys
Besides cleaning their teeth regularly, chewing on chew toys is one of the best ways to prevent bad breath in dogs. Chewing on certain toys prevents plaque build-up and helps remove other unhealthy tartar and bacteria from their teeth and gums.
While most traditional chew toys will do, you can also purchase special chew toys designed to help clean your dog’s teeth with bristles. For example, Kong makes a special Kong Dental designed in a way that’s optimized for improved dental hygiene.
Other great chew toys for dental health include the Benebone Real Flavor Dental Chew Toy, the Boshell Dog Dental Ball, and any Nylabone product. The goal is to find a toy that’s both durable and features bristles or a rigid exterior that will get into the hard-to-reach area of your dog’s mouth.
3. Switching Up Your Dog’s Diet
Ensuring that your dog is getting the vitamins and nutrients they need to thrive is a great way to improve their dental health. It will help them stay healthy as they grow, which helps prevent them developing health issues such as diabetes. However, it’s also been shown that a lack of certain vitamins can lead to gum disease.
Make sure your dog is receiving enough vitamin A, B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and vitamin B9 (folic acid). Dogs with deficiencies in these vitamins are more prone to developing gum disease, ultimately leading to bad breath.
Liver, fish, and bananas are great options if you’re looking to supplement your dog’s diet to improve their breath. Adding probiotics and enzymes to their diet can help, too.
4. Consider Oral Care Water Additives
Oral care water additives for dogs are tasteless and odorless drops or powder that you can put in your dog’s water bowl to help prevent bad breath. The best part about water additives is that you don’t have to brush your dog’s teeth every time they use them. It’ll freshen your dog’s breath in-between brushes.
If your dog is sensitive to having their teeth cleaned or can’t tolerate toothpaste’s smell or taste, these water additives are a great alternative. However, we’d still suggest taking your dog to the groomer or your local vet to have their teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis.
Natural Remedies for Dogs with Bad Breath
Some dog owners like to stick to all-natural remedies when treating common dog ailments. Lucky for you, there are quite a few natural remedies that you can use when you’re wondering how to fix your dog’s breath.
Coconut oil is a natural remedy used on humans, but it also works great for dogs. It has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties, making it the ideal remedy for bad dog breath.
Simply add a few spoonfuls to the inside of their chew toy (and mix with cheese paste or peanut butter) and freeze. They’ll spend all day gnawing away at it, giving the coconut oil time to do its job.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Another great natural remedy for humans, apple cider vinegar, is also suitable for dogs with bad breath. Besides helping with digestion and other gut issues, apple cider vinegar has malic and acetic acid, both of which kill the bacteria that causes bad breath. It’s important always to dilute apple cider vinegar, so just add a small teaspoon to their water to mask the taste and intensity.
While mint might seem like an obvious remedy, the reason why is due to more than just the plant’s fresh smell. It also helps promote healthy digestion (the lack of which is one of the leading causes of bad breath in dogs). If your pup can tolerate the taste, mix it into their food in the mornings or try mixing mint leaves into their chew toy mix we mentioned above.
Your pup does not have to live with the stink. All you need to do is to learn how to fix your dog’s bad breath and you will not have to avoid its loving wet kisses. You’ll also be at ease knowing that your furkid is healthy and happy.