Causes of Halitosis in Dogs


We all love our dogs, but a strong bad breath sometimes leaves us at a distance from our faithful four-legged friend. Shortly after a food intake, every dog can smell unpleasantly from the mouth. However, if the bad breath persists for a longer period, it is typically halitosis. There can be many reasons for this. Before you do anything about it, you should investigate the cause. Only when a serious illness can be ruled out can you try and solve the problem without a visit to the vet.

Dog with mouth open with possible Halitosis

The Causes of Bad Breath

If your dog suffers from persistent bad breath, you should first look into their mouth and throat area. Oral and throat infections can be extremely painful for the animal and result in bad breath. Inside the dog’s mouth bacteria and fungi can settle. Bad teeth or sore gums (gingivitis) may also be the cause of bad breath. If your dog has dysphagia, then inflammation makes life difficult and produces an unpleasant smell from the mouth. Tumours in the mouth and cavity area or on the tongue usually become noticeable by external changes of the mucous membrane. Very rarely does bad breath come from the formation of epulis, but these would greatly complicate the chewing process.

Other causes:

  • Anal glands: If the dog’s anal glandsare blocked, the dog usually licks the glands and spreads the stinking secretions to the mouth.
  • Gastritis: bitter-smelling breath of the dog. In this disease, the dog is also often vomiting.
  • Liver or kidney disorders. Especially with kidney disease, the bad breath can smell like urine
  • Inflammation around the mouth area leading to a possible tumour
  • Gastrointestinal or pancreatic disorders can also lead to bad breath in the dog

Other Reasons for the Bad Breath of the Dog

Some dog breeds are quite susceptible to diabetes for example, the West Highland Terrier. Diabetes is noticeable by a fruit-like bad breath. In urinary disorders, the breath of the dog often has an ammonia note.

Bad habits for the dog can also lead to bad breath. For example, picking up horse-drawn apples on walking paths or licking their own anal glands. Such habits should be challenged as soon as possible.

TIP: If you are worried that the cause of the dog’s bad breath has been caused by a serious illness, do not hesitate to contact the veterinarian. However, be aware, veterinarians often do not recommend trustworthy food. It may be advisable to get a second opinion.

What should I do?

As soon as a serious illness can be ruled out as a reason for the bad breath of your four-legged friend, there are various possibilities to deal with the strong bad breath. With a regular care of the teeth bad breath can be prevented. However, this cleaning of the teeth is not always easy.

In the trade, there are now suitable toothpastes and toothbrushes for dogs. Also, special chews for cleaning the tooth surfaces help against bad breath. For some dogs, it is useful if the special chew tooth cleaning food is spread over several meals a day (with the feed ration remaining the same).

Small tricks that can help with Bad Breath

Dogs who like to eat, may also be fine with a little finely chopped parsley or basil mixed with their wet food. However, this method will not lead to success in all animals. Make sure that neither the feed nor the “treats” contain added sugars. Sugars are often badly decomposed in the mouth area of ​​the animal leaving a smell after consumption. Instead of typical dog “treats” try your dog with fresh apple carvers or carrots which they can chew.

Moreover, a freshly cleaned dog feeding bowl is important. If the bowl is not sufficiently cleaned after each feed, it would enhance the spread of bacteria.

High quality Dog Food Prevents Bad Breath

Any dog ​​owner wants only the best for their pet. Inferior pet food often leads to bad breath for the animal. Healthy dog food is wholesome and nutritious and is filled  with plenty of meat and mostly a small amount of grain.

Feeding raw meet also often leads to bad breath in dogs and human food is not suitable for the animal. Some dog owners feel obliged to feed their pets human food. However, on the contrary you are more likely to cause problems in the long run for the dog and not helping with their bad breath issue.

We recommend you choose a feed with a transparent declaration! Then you know exactly what’s inside. For example, feed like the Pedigree brand has such an obscure declaration that there could be anything inside! For feed without grain, extra attention should be paid to the declaration to ensure the feed is suitable for your dog.

Bad Breath in a Puppy

In general, bad breath usually occurs in older dogs. However, unknown to some dog owners, it can also affect puppies. Food residues in the mouth and inflammation during tooth replacement can lead to bad breath. Even a broken-down deciduous tooth under which pus has formed, or has a pharyngitis, can be the cause of bad odours from the mouth.

As an immediate measure, you can feed the puppy with a little chilled camomile tea. Again, as soon as you suspect health problems behind the halitosis, a veterinarian should be consulted for the dog’s safety. If you start teeth cleaning of the puppy from a young age, it is less likely there will be difficulties in the dental hygiene of the dog as it grows older.

Trip to the Vet

Halitosis in the dog is often a sign that the four-legged friend has health problems. If no cause is found and the foul odour persists, visit a veterinarian who can make a diagnosis. They will then be able to determine whether a serious organ disease is the cause of the smell.


There are a few reasons for the bad breath of a dog. Often the reason for the bad breath is with wrong food. Cheap canned food with a low meat but high indigestible grain content may be the root of the evil smell. However, it cannot be ruled out that the cause may be due to gingivitis or rotten teeth.

In the case of persistent bad breath, to seriously exclude the possibility of a disease or illness, a visit to the vet is recommended.

Most common causes of Halitosis in Dogs

  • Inferior dog food
  • Inflammation in and around the mouth

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Translate »
Dog Food Info