We all know the smell of puppy breath! It may not be the most pleasant of smells, but there’s also something endearing about a tiny puppy with stinky breath. However, puppies will eventually grow out of their stinky breath. If bad breath does persist into adulthood, it can be hard to find it quite as cute. In fact, we need to do something about it!
Bad breath can be prevented with a little time and energy, but if our adult dogs suddenly develop a terrible case of halitosis, then what should we do? The cause of bad breath could be as simple as a change in food or treats, or there may be reason for concern about a health issue.
Causes of Bad Breath:
Change in Diet
Take a minute to think. Did your dog’s bad breath begin when you switched to a new food or treat? Have you begun using a fish oil supplement recently? Have you caught Fido eating poop? (My Skeeter has been known to eat poop from time to time, and it is highly disgusting. This is a great reason for us all to keep our yards scooped! Read How Can I Keep My Backyard Clean and Smelling Fresh and 5 Reasons to Scoop Your Dog’s Poop to learn more.)
These are all reasons that our dog’s breath could suddenly start to stink. One step we can each take is to make sure our yard stays poop-free.
If we have recently begun feeding a food high in fish oils, or giving our dog a fish oil supplement, then we should wait a few weeks until our dog’s body becomes used to digesting this new ingredient before we decide to stop using it. After a few weeks, the bad breath will probably go away if fish oil is the culprit.
If waiting it out for 4-6 weeks doesn’t work, then we may want to try changing our dog back to his old diet, or try another new food to see if his breath starts to smell more sweetly again. If our dogs’ breath smells better after switching foods, then we have found the culprit!
Possible Medical Concern
Bad breath can also be caused by bacteria building up in our dogs’ mouth or elsewhere in the digestive tract. If our dogs develop bad breath suddenly, this may be a sign of gum disease or some other bacterial or fungal infection in the body.
Bad breath can also be a sign of a larger problem in dogs (and humans). Diseases such as cancer or diabetes may be to blame, or there may be something going wrong with our dogs’ organs.
If we try the simple fixes for bad breath I talk about below and nothing changes with our dogs’ breath, or if there are other symptoms present that lead us to think there may be a bigger issue, then it is probably time to go see our veterinarian to find out if there is a medical cause for the smell.
Bad Breath Fixes:
There are several things we can do at home to try to fix Fido’s bad breath:
1. Dental Care
We should focus on regular dental care for our dog. Brushing our dogs’ teeth at home will help to prevent bad breath from starting in the first place, but it can also remove any plaque buildup that has occurred. It can also help to relieve bad breath as well. Our dogs’ gums should not be red or bleeding when we give them a brushing. This is a sign of dental disease and we should take our dog in to see the vet. Read more about good dental care for our pets: Dogs, Cats and Dental Health.
2. Alternatives to Brushing
**Besides brushing with a toothbrush, we can give our pets rawhides, bones, and other chews like Greenies to help with bad breath. These treats are easy to give to our pets! I know my three dogs love to chew a rawhide or Greenie. Besides being easy for us and fun for our dogs, these bones and rawhides will rub against our dogs’ teeth as they chew them, scraping off plaque very similarly to a toothbrush.
3. Zymox Products
If we’re looking for a breath spray or water additive to help with bad breath, we need look no further than Zymox! They have several products that help us bust up bad breath at home:
Zymox Breath Freshener will freshen breath by preventing bad bacteria from building up in our dogs’ mouth as well as attacking the plaque which is
already there. Just a spritz in our dog’s mouth is all there is to it!
Zymox Water Additive is a concentrated formula that we add to our dogs’ water bowl when we fill it. It is flavorless, so our dogs won’t even know it’s there. It will help clean teeth and prevent bad plaque build-up without brushing.
is a clear gel that we can rub on our dogs’ teeth and gums. It will inhibit harmful odor-causing bacteria and remove plaque. It also protects against dryness of the mouth.
4. Clean Bowl = Happy Mouth
We should all make sure that our dogs have clean food and water bowls! Gross things build up on water and food bowls after days and weeks of not being washed. We should aim to wash our pets’ food and water bowls with soap and hot water at least once a week. Stainless steel bowls make this very easy and are my preference.
5. Natural Remedies
**If we’re looking for a natural remedy for bad breath, there are a few things we can try. We can squeeze a little lemon in our pets’ water bowl or sprinkle some parsley over their food at dinner. Also, abrasive fruits and veggies like carrots and apples can help scrape teeth clean similarly to rawhides and Greenies (and my dogs love them).
6. Veterinary Visit
Finally, if we have tried everything to remedy our dogs’ bad breath and there is no change, then it is time to schedule a veterinary appointment. Your dog may need a professional dental cleaning or may have a health issue that needs to be diagnosed and fixed.
Remember, puppy breath is cute, but halitosis is not! Try these simple fixes to remedy bad breath, and if all else fails or if other symptoms are present, let’s make a trip to our vet.
Have you found any other bad breath remedies that work well for your dog? Let us know in the comment section below!
**Remember, always supervise your pet with any toys or chews**