Why Do Dogs Get Bad Breath | (Is It a Sign of Illness)

We all love to play and pet our dogs, especially when they are a puppy.  However, the dog will be a complete turn-off, if its breath smells like last week’s trash.  So why do dogs have bad breath and is bad breath in dogs a sign of illness?

The content takes around 5 minutes to read, but if you are in a hurry, we have also included a table of contents below so you can see at a glance what the content is. 

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If you are finding that your dog has this unsocial problem, which results in a bad odor, it is more than likely that plague is the root cause of the problem. On a lighter and more positive note, regular care can bring the teeth and gums back to good health and he can then be free of the unpleasant odor.

Main Causes For Bad Breath:

Many of the main causes of dog bad breath are what is known as intrinsic or extrinsic halitosis. This means that the cause of your dog’s bad breath comes from inside its mouth. Halitosis in dogs is often caused by poor oral hygiene, such as:

  • a dry mouth
  • sores around the teeth
  • gum disease.
  • It can also, be caused by a bacterial infection of the gums or mouth.

Various Factors:

There are several factors that can affect the number of bacteria present in your dog’s mouth. These include but are not limited to diabetes, obesity, and poor nutrition.

These factors all affect your dog’s ability to properly digest and absorb food and nutrients. As the result, bacteria grow in the mouth that is causing a smelly odor.

Common Causes:

One of the most common causes of bad breath in dogs is diabetes. Diabetes leads to a breakdown in the function of the liver and kidneys as well as excessive production of uric acid causing serious gum and oral problems.

As a result, uric acid is deposited in the gums and can also accumulate in the tissues surrounding the teeth. Some diabetes symptoms are excessive thirst, frequent urination, excessive licking of the lips, loss of appetite, and dark urine. If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian and seek emergency treatment.

Other reasons for foul-smelling breath include dental diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis. This is usually caused by gum disease and can be treated with regular brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits. A visit to your veterinarian can determine the best course of treatment for your dog.

Info Box

Gingivitis is a gum inflammation around the teeth, with symptoms of redness and swelling. In addition to this, there will most likely be an unpleasant breath odor (halitosis) – ( Source – https://vcahospitals.com/)


Tips To Help With Bad Breath:

1): – Twice Daily Cleaning:

It is so important to develop a routine of at least twice daily cleaning of the teeth.  If feasible, to make it easier,  just do it at the same time as you are cleaning your own. It must be remembered that if we don’t brush our own teeth, we develop plaque which can be really sore. Your dog’s teeth are no different.

Plaque is bacteria that grow on surfaces within the mouth. It is often pale yellow or brown in color. Also, your mouth would not feel healthy and fresh if you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while, plus people will probably avoid you due to bad breath. You wouldn’t want that, would you?


2): – Teeth Brushing As Early As Possible:

Get your puppy used to the teeth-brushing ritual at an early age. This conditions your pet to have its teeth cleaned from an early age going into adulthood.

If I had to start this with one of my own dogs, they would treat the whole experience as a game or if it’s not in a good mood, I make sure my hand was out of the way.


3): Introduce Carrots Into The Diet:

Why Do Dogs Have Bad Breath - Tips To Help

Introduce carrots into the diet, treating them as a small snack or a treat.

Make sure that they are raw because they actually act as a form of gentle scraper,  which in turn helps to remove the plague, improving your dog’s dental health.

Info Box

Carrots are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin A and potassium along with other vitamins. In fact, not only is this vegetable safe, but it also can serve as a healthy, low-calorie snack for your pet – ( Source – American Kennel Club).

Number 4): Introduce Dry Food:

If your dog’s diet consists of canned wet food, then do change it to dry food. It’s been proven that dental health improves when the dog is introduced to quality dry dog food.

There is such an array of choices now, that you can be sure that your pet will find something that it enjoys. A lot of the manufacturers can supply some sort of sample, and if not, buy the smallest size available in order that you can check it out.

The hard food, as with the carrots, will act as a gentle scraper for the plague and will help to clear up the odor of the bad breath. As always, if you think that some other reason for the bad breath, always check it out with your vet.

We do hope that the information has helped you with the question; why do dogs have bad breath? Having your dog in good health brings major health benefits to you, the owner.




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Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only. It may not be construed as medical advice. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals or veterinarians on any matter relating to their dogs’ health and well-being. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.

5 thoughts on “Why Do Dogs Get Bad Breath | (Is It a Sign of Illness)”

  1. Unfortunately for us, we did not start the teeth brushing habit until our pups were older. Consequently it can be a bit of a struggle to get them to stand still for the procedure.
    The nice tasting paste is also something they want to eat immediately and so keeping it on the brush can be quite challenging.
    Still at least they’re getting used to it a bit more and perhaps as they get older, they will calm down and accept the inevitable.
    Carrots are our favourite treats and luckily they both love this snack. The weather is quite hot at the moment so putting them in the freezer for a while, along with their ice cubes, goes down very well. Great post thanks!

    • Ches

      Thank you for taking the time to post. I always appreciate. It has been found that most people don’t brush their dogs teeth, preferring to give them something like a treat that specifically helps with the gums and teeth. We actually find them useful, as long as they are given in small doses, as they can put the weight on and then you are in to other problems when you have an overweight dog.

      Funny enough we have also started with the carrots


  2. Cats have the same bad breath problems as dogs. It all comes down to dental hygiene as you point out. Brushing a cat’s teeth is just asking for trouble. I imagine brushing a dog’s would be less dangerous!

    I’ve heard of giving dogs teeth-scraping treats like Dentastix to help keep their teeth clean but I’ve never heard of feeding them carrots! I wouldn’t have thought they like eating them raw given that they’re carnivores rather than herbivores! But omnivores might be a better description.

    • Gary

      Thanks for your kind comment. Glad you found the article of use. Totally agree with you – ” Brushing a cat’s teeth is just asking for trouble”


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