Bad Dog Breath? What Is That Smell?

Bad Dog Breath? What Is That Smell?

July 6, 2023

Bad Dog Breath? What Is That Smell?

As pet owners, we all love our furry friends, but there’s one thing that can quickly become a source of discomfort: bad dog breath. That unpleasant odor emanating from your dog’s mouth can be more than a minor annoyance – it can signify an underlying health issue that needs attention. In this blog post, we will explore the causes of bad dog breath, potential health problems associated with it, and effective methods to address this smelly issue.

Causes of Bad Dog Breath

There are several potential causes of bad dog breath, including:

1. Poor dental hygiene: Just like humans, dogs can suffer from dental health issues, such as plaque buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay. These conditions can lead to bacterial growth in the mouth, resulting in bad breath.

2. Diet: The food your dog consumes can also contribute to foul breath. Certain ingredients, such as garlic and onions, can leave a lingering odor in the mouth. Additionally, a diet consisting of low-quality, processed foods can contribute to oral health issues and bad breath.

3. Oral infections: Infections in the mouth, such as gum infections or abscesses, can cause a foul smell. These infections are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, swelling, and pain.

4. Underlying health conditions: Bad breath can sometimes be a sign of underlying health issues. Conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, or gastrointestinal problems can cause changes in the breath odor. If you notice a sudden and persistent change in your dog’s breath, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any serious health concerns.

Potential Health Problems Associated with Bad Breath

Persistent bad breath in dogs can indicate more than just poor dental hygiene. It can also be a symptom of various health problems, including:

1. Periodontal disease: Dental issues, such as periodontal disease, are common among dogs and can lead to tooth loss, gum infections, and other complications if left untreated.

2. Kidney disease: Foul breath can be an early indicator of kidney disease in dogs. As the kidneys struggle to filter waste properly, toxins can build up in the body and result in unpleasant breath odor.

3. Diabetes: Changes in breath odor, particularly a slightly sweet or fruity smell, can be a sign of diabetes in dogs. This condition affects the body’s ability to regulate glucose levels, leading to the production of ketones that can cause breath odor.

Addressing Bad Dog Breath

To address the issue of bad dog breath, here are some effective methods to consider:

1. Regular dental care: Proper dental hygiene is crucial for maintaining good oral health in dogs. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, ideally on a daily basis, can help remove plaque and prevent the buildup of bacteria.

2. Dental check-ups: Regular veterinary check-ups should include a dental examination. Your vet can identify any dental issues and recommend professional cleaning if necessary.

3. A balanced diet: Providing your dog with a balanced, nutritious diet is vital for overall health, including oral health. Consider feeding your dog high-quality, grain-free food that supports dental health.

4. Dental treats and toys: Chewing on appropriate dental treats and toys can help promote healthy teeth and gums. These products can assist in removing plaque and tartar buildup, reducing the risk of bad breath.


While bad dog breath can be unpleasant, it is important to understand that it can often signify an underlying health issue. Regular dental care, a balanced diet, and veterinary check-ups are vital for maintaining good oral health in dogs. If you notice persistent bad breath in your furry friend, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause and ensure proper treatment. By addressing the root cause of bad breath, you can help your dog enjoy fresh, clean breath and overall improved well-being.

Got Questions? Let Us Help!

St. Francisville Animal Hospital has over 34 years of experience! We specialize in all veterinarian services, including but not limited to surgery, examinations, vaccinations, emergencies, and even pet adoptions! We also provide boarding, grooming and a variety of supplies! Here at St. Francisville Animal Hospital, we know how important your animal is and treat them with only the utmost respect and care. Can’t make it to our clinic? We’ll go to you! We are dedicated to proving the best customer experience to our amazing clients! Give us a call today and find out what sets us apart from our competition!

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