Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Why Does my Dog's Breath Smell so Bad?

Bad breath in dogs is common and can indicate underlying health problems. Today, our Ketchum vets explain the causes of bad breath in dogs and offer tips on preventing and treating it.

What Causes Bad Breath in Dogs

Dogs commonly have bad breath, and the term "dog breath" refers to their unpleasant smell. While it's normal for dogs to have some smell on their breath due to eating, playing with toys, and living their lives, sometimes this smell can become unbearable.

The stink in your dog's bad breath can indicate an underlying health issue causing the smell rather than just a result of their daily activities. Dogs' most common causes of bad breath are kidney disease, liver disease, and oral health issues.

Oral Health Issues

Dogs can develop bad breath due to various oral health issues, from tooth decay to gum disease and infections. Bacteria and food particles can accumulate in their mouth over time, leading to plaque buildup and a persistent odor. 

If you notice a mild, unpleasant smell coming from your dog's mouth, it may be an early sign of oral health problems. It's important to address these issues promptly, as they can worsen over time and affect your pet's overall health and well-being.

To ensure your dog's bad breath is not due to poor oral hygiene, take care of your pet's oral health and take them to the vet for regular professional dental cleanings.

Kidney Disease

If your dog's breath smells like feces or urine, it might indicate that they have eaten poop recently, or it could be a sign of some kidney issues.

When the kidneys fail to filter and process toxins and waste materials, these harmful substances accumulate in the body, causing bad breath and posing a significant threat to the dog's health.

Liver Disease

If your dog has recently developed bad breath, vomiting, and diarrhea, they may have liver disease.

Treating Bad Breath in Dogs

If your dog has bad breath, it may indicate an underlying health problem. The type of treatment your dog needs will depend on the cause of the bad breath. It is crucial not to ignore any changes in the smell of your dog's breath and take them to the vet for examination and diagnosis. It's essential to address bad breath as it may indicate underlying health issues that need immediate attention.

Your vet may recommend prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies, or surgeries to treat your pet's condition, depending on the severity and which part of their body it affects. Your vet can advise you on the best course of treatment for the underlying health issue causing your dog's bad breath.

Home Treatment for Bad Breath 

It's important to note that while you can't treat kidney or liver disease in your dog at home, there are ways to prevent and treat bad breath. One of the best ways is to ensure your dog receives regular oral hygiene care daily and professional dental cleanings annually. 

You can start by brushing your dog's teeth daily, especially when they are young, to help them get used to the experience. If your pup doesn't tolerate brushing, there are a variety of dental chews and specialized dog food available that can promote oral health. Your vet can recommend the best oral health products for your dog.

Preventing internal organ failure and disease that can cause bad breath is also important. You can take several easy measures to help your dog avoid these issues.

For example, some human medications, common houseplants, and foods that are safe for us can be toxic to our pets. It's crucial to know which substances in your home could cause organ disease or failure in your dog and keep them out of reach as much as possible.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Have you noticed your dog's breath getting increasingly worse? Contact our Ketchum vets to book an examination for your pup.

New Patients Welcome

Sun Valley Animal Center is accepting new patients at our two convenient locations! Our vets are passionate about the health of our Valley's pets. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online(208) 726-7790