How to Get Rid of Your Dog’s Bad Breath

A woman kissing her dog, who has bad breath, in the living room.

No one likes stinky dog kisses, but many dog parents put up with it. The good news is that you don’t have to.

Bad breath in dogs is usually a symptom of dental disease, so have your veterinarian check your dog’s teeth. Plaque and tartar are the probable culprits as they lead to gingivitis: inflamed gums, gum disease, and the release of harmful bacteria into the bloodstream. The sooner you have your dog’s teeth cleaned, the better. Your veterinarian will do a professional cleaning, which is done under anesthesia.

Other causes of stinky dog breath may include the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Sinusitis
  • Nasal Infections
  • Nasal tumors
  • Gastrointestinal diseases like megaesophagus

In most cases, however, bad doggie breath is a symptom of dental disease. While dental cleanings can be expensive, most veterinarians recommend having your dog’s teeth cleaned once a year. This will actually keep the fee down since extracting teeth costs much more than a straightforward cleaning.

Related: Smelly Kisses? Here Are 4 Major Reasons Your Dog Has Really Bad Breath.

Your dog may be able to go longer between cleanings. It depends on several factors, including your dog’s age, the breed (smaller breeds usually have more dental problems than large breeds) and how often you clean your dog’s teeth at home.

Here are some options you can do at home to sweeten your dog’s breath:

Brush your dog’s teeth.

Brushing your dog’s teeth may sound like a strange thing to do, but it is the most efficient way to prevent dental disease. Ideally, brush the teeth daily, but if your dog can’t tolerate it, try doing in a few times a week. Get a dog specific toothbrush and toothpaste, or make your own toothpaste at home. Be patient. It may take some time to get your dog used to a toothbrush or even your finger in her mouth. Use lots of praise and yummy treats to reward her for cooperating (but never punish a dog for being difficult; many dogs have issues about having their mouth messed with).

Give them dental chews and treats to chew on.

Chewing helps prevent plaque build-up by as much as 70 percent.  There are different types of chews, including edible ones like our Bye, Bye Dog Breath Dental Sticks. You can also make your own homemade dental treats.

Sprinkle dental powders on their dinner.

Dental powders are sprinkled on your dog’s food. They use natural ingredients to clean the teeth, keep the breath fresh, and provide essential nutrients and minerals to support a healthy oral environment. Plus, they are super easy and make the process simple. Our Bye, Bye Dog Breath Dental Powder is chock-full of ingredients that not only tackle mouth issues but also get to the root cause of some dental problems: bad gut health. There are other products on the market that focus on one ingredient, like seaweed, to remove plaque.

Related: The Story Behind Why We Launched Bye, Bye Dog Breath Line

Use sprays and gels.

The products are meant to be sprayed on the teeth or applied with your finger. The VOHC recommends ESSENTIAL™ HealthyMouth® anti-plaque gel and spray. Leba III Pet Dental Spray also gets good reviews.

Pour water additives into your dog’s dish.

This sounds like a dream come true: Just add to your dog’s water, and help sweeten their breath! While some professionals say they don’t work very well, there are water additive products, including those from HealthMouth, that are VOHC approved, meaning they are tested for effectiveness.

Related:These Powerful Natural Ingredients Can Help Keep Your Dog’s Mouth Clean

By Jillian Blume

Jillian Blume is a New York City–based writer whose feature articles have appeared in magazines, newspapers, and websites including the New York Observer, Marie Claire, Self, City Realty, the ASPCA,, Best Friends Animal Society, The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, The Pet Gazette, and many others.

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