What Can I Give My Dog For Bad Breath?

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Dog Bad Breath


Doggie bad breath! Yikes!

Some people dismiss dog bad breath as "just doggy breath". It is true that a dog's breath is far from heavenly fresh most of the time, but it should not be bad.

Particularly, if the foul breath does not disappear in a day or two, it usually means that something is wrong, either in the mouth or somewhere else in the body.

Therefore, bad breath in dogs (dog halitosis) should be properly addressed. And the good news is, it can be fixed.

This page looks at:

  • Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs
  • Home Remedies to Give Dogs with Bad Breath

What Causes Dog Bad Breath?

There are quite a few common problems that may cause a dog to have bad breath. Some can be fixed easily, while some may be due to health problems. So, you should not take this problem lightly and should try to find out the root problem causing your dog's bad breath.

Here are some possible causes:


Dogs on a poor-quality diet may develop not-so-sweet breath. The low-quality ingredients in such diets can cause indigestion which in turn may cause bad breath.

Many dog owners have been able to enjoy fresh doggie breath after switching their dog's diet to a natural, organic diet.

Lip Fold Pyoderma

Some dogs have lip and skin folds that are very deep on their faces (e.g. Bulldogs, mastiffs, St. Bernard's). If water and/or saliva is trapped in such skin folds, bacteria can fester!

The result?

Lip fold pyoderma - a bacterial infection of the skin and lip folds. And because of this skin problem, the dog will have rather bad breath!

To prevent this problem from happening to your dog (especially if your dog has deep skin and lip folds), wipe the folds daily with a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water.

If your dog already has a case of advanced lip-fold pyoderma, however, you need to take him to the vet. Most likely he would need some antibiotics to clear up the problem.

Other Diseases

Some other diseases that could cause offensive breath include:

When To See a Vet

If your dog suffers from chronic bad breath even if she is having a high-quality, natural diet, be sure to get her checked out by a veterinarian to see if her bad breath is caused by some underlying health problem.


Home Remedies for Dog Bad Breath

If your dog sometimes has bad breath caused by upset tummy or indigestion, try using these home remedies:

Give Him Some Breath-Freshening Herbs

Dog Bad Breath Quite a few herbs can freshen a dog's breath. For example, parsley, dill, peppermint, and ginger.

Parsley leaves and stems are extremely nutritious, antimicrobial, and they make a good breath freshener for your dog. Chopped parsley can be sprinkled on your dog's food.

Dill is antibacterial and can inhibit bacterial growth and reproduction in the mouth. It can even be effective in treating the early onset of gingivitis. Just like parsley, you can chop up some fresh dill and sprinkle the herb on your dog's food.

Peppermint can not only freshen a dog's breath, it can also help digestion and reduce gas! If your dog is not smelling too good from both ends, try sprinkling some chopped peppermint leaves on to his food.

Alternatively, include chopped parsley, dill, and/or peppermint leaves as ingredients for your dog's home-made dog biscuit.

If your dog's bad breath is caused by indigestion, try using ginger to help settle her upset tummy. Simply put one or two slices of fresh ginger to a cup of hot water. Let it cool down and remove the ginger slices. Give one to 2 teaspoons of the ginger tea to your dog (depending on her size).

Coconut Oil for Dog Bad Breath

Coconut oil has strong antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It also improves digestion and nutrient absorption. It is good for dogs with digestive problems, which can cause bad breath.

Up to 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight a day of coconut oil can be added to your dog food. Reduce the amount if your dog has diarrhea.

Digestive Enzymes for Dog Bad Breath

If your dog's bad breath is caused by poor digestion, you can also try adding digestive enzymes to his daily food to help digestion.

Give Your Dog Dental Treats

There are good treats and bad treats for dogs. Bad treats are those that contain sugar, preservatives, and are sticky. They are bad for our dogs' teeth. Avoid them.

Good treats that can help clean our dogs' teeth include hard fresh vegetables and fruit, such as carrots and apples. Sugar-free biscuits that contain herbs (e.g. parsley, mint) are also good for dogs' teeth and breath.

This treat (In Clover Dental Grin Daily Dental Care Chews for Dogs) is also a great dental treat that supports fresh breath and healthy digestion. It contains chlorophyll, green tea extract, anise, and more.

Give Your Dog Chew Toys

Hard chew toys (e.g. Kong toys) are also effective in cleaning dogs' teeth. Toys that are made from strong hard ropes are also good - they are like dental floss for your dog.

Brush Your Dog's Teeth Regularly

Since plaque and tartar build-up is one reason that causes bad breath in dogs, brushing your dog's teeth daily is important to prevent tartar buildup and subsequent gum diseases.

Please visit this page for information on brushing your dog's teeth and using other natural products to keep your dog's teeth clean and plaque-free.

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An Herbal Remedy for Dog Bad Breath

If your dog's bad breath is caused by dental or gum problems, herbs such as calendula, myrrh and goldenseal can help. These herbs have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Try this herbal remedy:

This remedy contains herbs such as calendula, myrrh, goldenseal, licorice, and more and is effective in maintaining oral health and preventing bad breath.

Natural Remedies for Dog Bad Breath

C.J. Puotinen, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats (Keats Publishing, 1999).
M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Herbs for Pets (Bowtie Press, 1999).
R.H. Pitcairn, The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats (Rodale, 2005).

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