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Bad Dog Breath

What are Halitosis Causes?

Bad dog breath can be a signal of health issues. If your dog has bad breath, what are halitosis causes (halitosis is the medical name for bad breath)? One cause of smelly dog breath is poor dental hygiene; you may need to improve teeth cleaning. Another cause may be the food that you feed your canine. What is the cure for halitosis?

There is nothing like bad dog breath, to ruin your one-on-one time with your pet. While the odor is offensive, what it could mean is more important. Pet owners should never ignore this sign that their dog may need some attention to their health.

Bad Dog Breath: Halitosis Causes

Bad breath in dogs does not develop overnight and is most often caused by periodontal disease or gingivitis, sometimes known as gum disease. Healthy gums in a canine are naturally pink.

After several years of neglect in a dog’s mouth, however, brownish deposits of plaque can build up on teeth and irritate the gums. This irritation and decay in the mouth can be one of the reasons for bad dog breath. If the teeth are cleaned early enough the damage is reversible.

Poor mouth health is not the only cause of smelly dog breath. Halitosis causes include health, foods and behaviors for the dog. An animal that is eating only soft food may develop bad dog breath. Hard foods like bones, chew sticks and dry nugget foods help to rub away irritating plaque on the dog’s teeth.

Dog Has Bad Breath

Dog bad breath doesn't sound life-threatening, but it can be an indicator of serious health issues, particularly if the problem does not get better once you have begun to pay attention (by improving dental hygiene, changing food or diet, and more).


For example, our Rhodesian Ridgeback - Harley - had 'fishy' smelly breath from the time we brought her home from the breeder. We changed her diet and made sure to brush her teeth and finally took her to the Vet. We couldn't pinpoint the problem. However at about 12 months old, she started to get sick on an almost daily basis - vomiting right after a meal.

We went back to the Vet, and after some experimentation we found that the problem was actually a wheat allergy - which is in a number of high quality commerical dog foods. So while we had changed out the food we fed her previously (for the bad breath issue), the foods that we changed still contained wheat (typically used as a filler). She is now on a wheat free diet and she's doing well (4 years later) and her breath, while still not sweet, is much improved.


If the food you provide isn’t the cause, consider what else your pooch might be eating. Many pets will explore their world and eat garbage, dead animals or feces.

Eliminating bad dog breath may require that you watch closely what else goes into your pet’s mouth. Certain rare kidney and liver function problems can cause bad breath. If you suspect a serious problem, visit your veterinarian.

If your pet has bad breath you may just think it is normal. Some treats or foods may cause a canine to have breath that is vaguely unpleasant, but consistently having really foul breath is a reason to sit up and take notice. If your pet develops smelly breath, there are several options for approaching the problem.

Your first step should be to check with your veterinarian to make sure that your dog’s gums, teeth and overall health are good. Sometimes the cure for halitosis is simply to get your pet’s teeth cleaned and then stay on a regular schedule of cleanings.

Smelly Dog Breath

Recognize that your dog's breath will not necessarily smell sweet! A dog's digestive system is quite different than a human's. Make sure that your expectations are reasonable and that you don't waste time and money searching for a cure for halitosis when it's simply normal dog breath!

Dogs are not humans. But if you think there is something seriously wrong make sure you pay attention to it.

If your canine is healthy, perhaps the kind of food he or she eats is contributing to the problem. Some pets develop sensitivity to certain foods or chemicals. Your dog's bad breath may be the only way to tell that the food or new diet isn't working. Simplify meals until you determine the trouble food.

Make sure that you include either dental chew sticks or some harder foods for your dog to really chew on and remove harmful plaque on the teeth. (My dog loves raw carrots and they help her 'clean' her teeth - although everything in moderation - too many carrots are not healthy either (lots of natural sugar in carrots) so make sure you limit the raw carrots to a couple of times a week instead of daily.)

Older dogs may have trouble with hard foods, so you may need to ask your vet for recommendations to help those pets who are tender of tooth. You can even brush their teeth. A dog tooth brush and toothpaste (never use human toothpaste) can be used on some dogs to clean and remove harmful bacteria.

Prevention and awareness are important for dealing with bad dog breath.

Cure for Halitosis: Our Product Recommendation

If you think that your dog's bad breath is related to a teeth or gums problem, then consider using a product called Gums-n-Teeth. This product is formulated to prevent pet gingivitis and bad breath.

Gums-n-Teeth contains herbal ingredients that will improve your pet's dental hygiene. But please remember that regular teeth brushing is still necessary to remove plaque build-up.

Your dog's gums and teeth need to be well taken care of and maintained; they need to be able to eat their food. Bad breath is often a symptom of oral or dental hygiene issues. If bad breath persists or gets worse, visit your veterinarian for a check-up.

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