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Bad Breath in Dogs: 8 Biggest Causes & The Remedies To Get Rid Of It

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Bad Breath in Dogs: 8 Biggest Causes & The Remedies To Get Rid Of It

Smelly breath is not an uncommon dilemma that dog owners face. While some dogs are born with bad breath due to their genetic predispositions, other dogs develop bad dog breath over the years for various reasons. Unless you notice unpleasant breath in your dog from day one, it's hard to tell on your own if your dog's breath is genetic or situational.

Let's explore the many different causes of bad dog breath to hopefully provide you with insight into some of the reasons behind your dog's bad oral health. Then, we'll dive into an explanation of remedies that you can put in place to help treat your dog's smelly problem!

Causes of Bad Breath In Dogs | Innovet Pet

What Causes Bad Breath in Dogs?

A plethora of oral-related issues cause smelly breath in dogs. Sometimes, there are multiple factors at play, while at other times, your dog's unpleasant breath is caused by a single problem. 

Since every dog's dental health is unique to them, the exact cause of your dog's oral health issues will need to be determined in-person by professionals. However, if you're looking for insight into the possible causes of your dog's poor oral health, we have some examples of situations that cause unpleasant breath in dogs! 

The eight causes of bad dog breath that we are exploring today include: 

  • Periodontal disease
  • Tumor of the mouth
  • Canine gastrointestinal disease
  • Consumption of unhealthy foods
  • Rawhide bone dog treat chew toys
  • Kidney disease and bad dog breath
  • Canine liver disease diagnosis
  • Diabetes in dogs

1. Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a dental disease of the gums. Marked by infections of the gums, periodontal disease stems from poor oral hygiene that becomes so unruly that the gums become infected. When bacteria builds up in the gums, a dog's teeth start to suffer, too. 

When the gums lining the mouth are in poor shape, the teeth are affected, too. Sometimes, dogs with periodontal disease end up losing their teeth as a secondary symptom of this form of canine oral disease.  

2. Tumor of the Mouth 

Sometimes, dogs experience the unfortunate-smelling breath as a side effect of tumors in their mouths. Not all tumors are cancerous, so don't assume that a cancer diagnosis is on the horizon if you spot a tumor-like bump in your dog's mouth. Although you shouldn't panic on the spot, we encourage you to contact your dog's vet immediately to determine if the tumor is malignant or benign. 

3. Canine Gastrointestinal Disease 

Did you know that issues involving the gastrointestinal tract in dogs can lead to bad-smelling breath in our canine companions? As disconnected as this correlation might sound, it's certainly possible for dogs to develop something known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is often abbreviated as GERD. Gastroesophageal reflux disease stems from the contents of your dog's stomach coming up and into your dog's mouth, which causes a very unfortunate scent to exude from your dog's mouth. 

4. Consumption of Unhealthy Foods 

Another possible cause behind your dog's unfortunate breath is that they stuck their nose into something that already smelled bad. Did you place your garbage bag near the front door, allowing your canine companion to sniff around? If your dog's breath smells unfavorable, you may want to look into what your dog has consumed most recently. Dogs love to explore and venture into areas that might not be dog-friendly. Take your sweets drawer or the snack section of your pantry, for example. It could be that your dog started snacking on something not meant for them, which would lead to poorly scented breath. 

Or maybe you walked your dog earlier in the day, and they licked a fellow four-legged friend's waste, subsequently causing a poor odor to linger. These are certainly less concerning situations, but they are still possible, and it's essential to consider all possibilities! 

Some of the Causes | Innovet Pet

5. Rawhide Bone Dog Treat Chew Toys

Did you know that the type of toy you give to your dog can affect their breath? Toys designed to be chewed on seem like such innocent and unproblematic elements of your dog's everyday life, but in fact, certain toys, such as Rawhide for Dogs, can lead to stinky breath. 

6. Kidney Disease and Smelly Breath

Your dog's breath issues could be an indication that other health problems are on the horizon. One of the health problems most associated with bad breath in dogs is a disease infecting the kidneys. While it's not an absolute given that dogs with the unpleasant breath will eventually be diagnosed with a disease of the kidneys, there is a correlation between the two. 

Maintaining good oral health in your dog's mouth transcends the goal of avoiding odorous breath. Good oral hygiene also acts as a preventative measure for stopping other health issues from popping up later down the road.

7. Canine Liver Disease Diagnosis

Not only are kidney problems related to unpleasant breath in dogs, but so is canine liver disease. Usually, it's seen as one of the side effects of liver disease will be paired with jaundice and an inability to keep down food. Make sure you consult with a trained professional immediately upon noticing yellowing of the gums because this is a primary indication that jaundice is at play. 

8. Diabetes in Dogs

Not everyone knows that diabetes can affect your dog's breath, but despite the lack of popularity surrounding this fact, it's true indeed! When dogs are diagnosed with diabetes, a common symptom is an odd-smelling breath. Just like diabetes, odorous breath in dogs is treatable, so it's possible to reverse the unfortunate smell when appropriate measures are put in place.

How To Get Rid of Bad Breath In Dogs | Innovet Pet

Remedies to Get Rid of Bad Breath


Smelly breath isn't something your dog has to accept as part of their fate. There are ways to remedy bad dog's breath (such as the PurBreath oral care kit!) so that your canine companion can lead a life full of good-smelling breath! 

Some smelly breath remedies require more attention and consistency than others. The frequency and intensity of the treatment for your dog's bad breath will depend on the severity of their situation, too. You will need to visit with your dog's vet to learn about the appropriate remedies for your pet's breath issues, but there's always hope!

It all comes down to prioritizing your dog's oral care. The health of your canine companion teeth and mouth will need to be something you focus your energy on so that your dog's teeth do not end up in the same situation later on in life. Your dog's veterinarian can provide you with guided instructions regarding how to improve your dog's dental health best and avoid issues surrounding your dog's teeth in the future! 


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