Dog Training

Your dog has bad breath? (What you can do about it)

Your dog has bad breath and you want to help him? Bad breath is not just bad breath. We show you 11 possible causes and how you can best eliminate it. In addition, helpful home remedies and we clarify the most frequently asked questions on this topic. We have also chosen for this article Advice from veterinarian Emin Jasarevic obtained. Note: This article is written for the german country. 

Bad breath in dog
Table of contents

Veterinarians only speak of bad breath when it persists over a long period of time. Veterinarians refer to it as Foetor ex ore or Halitosis.

11 Causes of bad breath

In this chapter we will go into the various causes. First, there is a rough summary of the reasons:

  • Diseases of the mouth
  • Tartar, periodontitis
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Inflammation of the gastric mucosa
  • Diseases of the esophagus (e.g. megaesophagus)
  • Ingested foreign body
  • Inflammation of the nasal mucosa
  • Inflammation of the paranasal sinuses
  • Tumors in the mouth or nose area
  • diabetes
  • Urinary tract diseases
  • Liver disease

1. diseases in the mouth area

Diseases in the mouth are a common cause of bad odor. For example, if your four-legged friend suffers from inflammation of the tooth root, this can trigger the stench. 

This cause is usually harmless for your four-legged friend, but it is painful. If you suspect a disease in the mouth area, you should visit your veterinarian. He will take further measures. 

2. tartar - periodontitis

Periodontitis is a common cause of bad breath in your four-legged friend. Here you do not have to worry too much. 

A visit to the veterinarian with the proper treatment usually cancels the mouth odor. 

3. gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)

In the initial stage of Gum inflammation the mouth odor is the only symptom. If the bad breath lasts longer, you should consult a veterinarian. By a therapy you can avoid the later appearing symptoms. 

Advanced stage symptoms:

  • bloody saliva
  • Pus deposits
  • Weight loss
  • Fever spikes
  • general malaise
  • Pain in the mouth area
  • unilateral chewing reflexes
  • loose teeth/teeth loss

4. inflammation of the gastric mucosa

A Gastritis - also called gastritis - can unfortunately also affect our four-legged friends. Due to the increased formation of gastric acid, the stomach lining is attacked. This makes for a sour and putrid mouth odor.

Besides bad breath, there are other symptoms. Loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea are also typical for the inflammation of the gastric mucosa. This in turn leads to a Weight loss with your four-legged friend.

5. diseases of the esophagus

The most common disease of the esophagus - which is also associated with bad breath - is megaesophagus. In this disease, your pet's esophagus is enlarged. Besides bad breath, there are other symptoms, such as. Vomiting, pneumonia, increased coughing and fevers. 

6. swallowed foreign bodies

Swallowed foreign bodies can also cause your four-legged friend to smell in his mouth. Inhaled foreign bodies are also a cause. 

Swallowing and inhaling these foreign bodies can cause a foul or decomposition-like mouth odor may develop. The stench becomes stronger when these foreign bodies go unnoticed for a long time.  

The danger with swallowed and inhaled foreign bodies is inflammation. 

7. inflammation of the nasal mucosa and sinuses.

Inflammation in these areas is most commonly caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi. In the event of an infestation of these organisms, a fetid and decaying smell from the mouth of your quadruped occur. 

The accompanying symptoms of such inflammation are the following:

  • Rhinitis and sneezing
  • stuffy/dripping nose
  • watery and/or purulent nasal mucus
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dissolution of the turbinate

In the case of inflammation of the nasal mucosa and sinuses, a drug therapy is required. It is unimportant which cause has caused this inflammation. 

For this reason, it is recommended to immediately visit the veterinarian so that, for example, an antibiotic can be administered.

8. tumors in the mouth or nose area

Tumor diseases in the mouth and nose area can also cause bad breath in dogs. As a rule, however, this cause is rare. Due to the Cell damage it can lead to Inflammations come. 

Both are factors responsible for the mouth odor. This rare disease is mostly found in older furry noses.

9. diabetes

Diabetes is also a cause of bad breath. However, since this is rather unspecific, we have listed other symptoms here so that you can distinguish the disease from other causes:

  • increased drinking
  • strong hunger
  • increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • sharp rise in blood sugar
  • Drowsiness of your quadruped
  • comatose states 
  • poor wound healing

10. diseases of the urinary tract

A intense and urine-like bad breath may indicate a disease of the urinary tract. 

Since these diseases can become life-threatening for your four-legged friend, a visit to the vet is essential.

11. liver diseases

Liver disease in your pet can be life-threatening, as the liver performs very important functions in the body. 

The critical functions of the liver are to detoxify the blood, strengthen the immune system and support metabolic processes. If these functions are impaired, your pet's health will be severely compromised. 

To help you distinguish liver disease from other causes, here are other accompanying symptoms:

  • light gray chair
  • Jaundice
  • behavioral changes (aggressiveness, confusion, agitation)
  • Problems with blood clotting
  • distended stomach
  • increased thirst and urination

When should I go to the vet?

Bad breath in your dog is usually harmless. However, we have already learned that bad breath can also be an accompanying symptom of various serious diseases. 

If your pet has other symptoms in addition to bad breath, you should see a doctor immediately.

Many symptoms occur unnoticed. That is why it is important that you take a close look at your four-legged friend. especially if the bad breath is long-term and smells penetrating, urine-like or decomposed.

How to get rid of bad breath?

Bad Breath

If the veterinarian can not detect any disease, it is recommended to actively fight bad breath in dogs. The reason for the mouth odor is then often due to improper nutrition or lack of dental care.

The right dog food

The right dog food is the be-all and end-all of your four-legged friend's oral care. He does not have the possibilities like us humans to pay attention to the dental and oral hygiene. 

The right dog food already helps a good deal. Some products that are not of high quality can lead to rapid tartar formation and thus damage the plaque. As a result, your dog's teeth can no longer have proper protection. Special products that fight tartar are important.

You can find out more in our big Dog food Report.

The right treats

treats are important for your dog's dental hygiene.

Here you should primarily purchase products that have a low, respectively no sugar content have. Products that have the Promote dental and oral health of the dog, are also available on the market. 

However, the choice is enormous. For this reason, you should check the products carefully and then decide on a product.

Good chewing articles

Chewables also serve as a good way to fight the mouth odor. However, this should be High quality products act. 

Products that are not too high quality even promote bad breath. Good chewing products for your darling are for example the Chew root or the Chewing Antlers.

Play items for dental health

Play items are not only suitable for keeping your four-legged friend busy and playing. The right products can also promote dental hygiene, fight tartar as well as deposits and reduce mouth odor. 

In the pet store there is an enormous selection of such articles. Just visit the pet store near you, get advice and do something good for your four-legged friend.

Brushing dog teeth

Brushing teeth for dogs is often not yet widely used... 

Opinions differ on this subject. While some are against it, others think that brushing teeth is the perfect solution. 

Many people who are against brushing teeth are of the opinion that this would restrict the dog in its nature. Maybe they are right, unless you make brushing the teeth a fun factor for your four-legged friend. 

The right products ensure that your dog is not stressed when brushing his teeth. There are also numerous articles with delicious flavors, so that your four-legged friend will soon no longer want to do without dental care. 

As a rule: If brushing your pet's teeth is fun and doesn't put him under pressure, you can safely use this option.

For starters, this dental care set would be a good and inexpensive choice. There are toothbrushes and toothpaste with it.

Trixie dental care set
Dental care set with toothbrush + interchangeable heads and a toothpaste extra for dogs with mint

Feed additives for oral care

The market for feed additives is also booming in Germany. These products have Ingredients that promote the oral care of your four-legged friend. 

Since it can get confusing when visiting the pet store, you should inform yourself in advance about the available products. A look at the reviews already creates the first help, or the first impression.

Home remedies for bad breath

Natural medicine
  • Last but not least, this section contains a list of home remedies that will help your pet avoid bad breath. Besides this positive effect, these home remedies are usually also optimal for the health of your four-legged friend. Below you will find the best ingredients for home remedies against bad breath in dogs:

Coconut oil

Coconut oil

The healthy Coconut oil offers a great way to get rid of your pet's mouth odor. Coconut oil works antibacterial and has a pleasant fragrance. Your dog will like it too.

Simply mix the coconut oil into the dog food or use it as an aid when brushing teeth. There are also products that contain extra coconut oil.

Lemon juice


The lemon juice reduces bacterial growth in the mouth and throat area of your quadruped. Add a few drops of lemon juice to your pet's drinking water or use it diluted for brushing teeth.

Carrots and potatoes

Potato Carrot

Boiled carrots and potatoes are also a good option for mouth odor in your four-legged friend. 

Prepare a soup and give it to your pet for a few days. You can also start a dental care week by giving your pet various products - such as treats or chewing roots - for a while. With this you work intensively against the mouth odor.

Parsley and mint

Parsley Peppermint

The two types of herbs provide a fresh scent. It is important that you administer the herbs fresh. Frozen or dried herbs often lack the effect. 

Yogurt (organic)


Give your dog 2 to 4 tablespoons of yogurt before or after feed. Morning after getting up is also a suitable time. The yogurt reduces mouth odor and has a positive effect on the gastrointestinal flora.

Beer yeast tablets

Beer yeast tablets

In addition to eliminating the smell of the mouth, has Brewer's yeast also other benefits for dog health. Brewer's yeast products can be found in the form of tablets. But also the powder and flake variant is used more and more. 

Other benefits of brewer's yeast in your four-legged friend are as follows:

  • Skin problems
  • unhealthy coat
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Fungal infections
  • Liver disease
  • Promotion of the immune system
By the way: My absolute favorite when it comes to brewer's yeast is the variety from AniForte in tablet form.
AniForte brewer's yeast tablets
  • 100% pure brewer's yeast for dog.
  • Provides shiny coat & good skin.
  • In addition it has important vitamins

5 Valuable tips:

  1. Change your dog food. Try grain-free and sugar-free dog food.
  2. Try dry food instead of wet food
  3. Have a scaling performed
  4. Fresh & ripe fruit as a snack would also be good
  5. Just use a carrot as a chewing item

Bad breath in puppy

Bad breath in puppies is not so common, but it can happen once in a while in the little four-legged friends. 

As a rule, bad breath - if it does not last longer than 48 hours - is not a cause for concern. 

Bad breath in your puppy is most often due to the Teething to the disease. However, causes also occur such as a Gastrointestinal disease or Infection on. 

Therefore, it is recommended to visit the veterinarian if the bad breath lasts longer than 48 hours. 

If the cause is harmless, you can prevent bad breath by following these tips:

  • Cleaning with chamomile tea bag
  • soft apples as a snack
  • administer cooked carrots as a puree

Recommendation from the vet

Bad breath in your dog is usually due to a harmless cause. Reasons such as the wrong diet or a short-term upset stomach are causes that you can easily fight yourself. 

If there are no other accompanying symptoms, you can spare yourself a visit to the vet and try to treat it yourself. However, please pay close attention to your four-legged friend, because some symptoms are not easy to notice.

If you are not sure, then a visit to the vet is always the best solution. Better once too much than too little.

Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic
Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion and it is my personal concern to create medically accurate articles and videos to inform pet owners as much as possible.

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