Bad Dog Breath: Causes and Solutions

Many dog owners get used to their dog’s bad breath. However, this should not be the case because most of the time, bad breath in dogs is a sign that they have poor oral health.

The term “doggy breath” often means that someone has bad breath. But this isn’t always true – dogs don’t always have bad breath!

What Does a Dog’s Breath Smell Like When It Stinks?

Dogs’ breath often smells like fish, poop, urine, acetone, ammonia, sewer, garbage, dead animals, rotting cheese, blood, and other similar smells.

It’s not normal for a dog’s breath to always smell bad. Bad smells from your dog’s mouth mean they have a problem that must be fixed immediately. A dog’s breath, like human breath, should smell like nothing.

Is Bad Dog Breath a Sign of a Disease or a Symptom of a Disease?

Bad breath in dogs can be a symptom of a medical condition called halitosis. A dog always has bad breath because it is sick and doesn’t brush its teeth well enough. If a dog’s teeth aren’t brushed well, plaque and tartar can build up and make the dog smell bad.

Sometimes, dogs may smell bad because something is wrong with their internal organs. It may be a symptom of anything more serious, like cancer or kidney problems.

Causes for Bad dog Breath

One potential cause of bad dog breath is a lack of oral hygiene. It can be due to some factors, including neglecting to brush your dog’s teeth regularly.

Periodontal Disease

One of the leading causes of bad dog breath is poor oral hygiene. Not brushing your dog’s teeth regularly and not changing toothbrushes often can lead to plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. This plaque buildup can push the teeth away from the gums over time.

Bacteria can grow more easily when there is less space in the mouth. It can lead to bad breath and tooth and gum infections. Cavities, root infections, and gingivitis are all caused by not taking care of your teeth.

In most cases, bad breath in dogs is caused by poor dental health.

Kidney Disease

If your dog’s breath smells like ammonia or urine, it could be a sign that the dog has kidney disease. It happens when the kidneys don’t work properly and can’t get rid of urea. The area stays in the dog’s system for too long, making its breath smell like ammonia and urine.

Kidney disease, which can cause bad breath, is also caused by periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a problem with the gums that can get worse and let germs and bacteria get into the mouth. When these are eaten, they get into the bloodstream and damage the kidneys and liver over time.

Toxic Plants

If your dog’s breath smells like rotten cheese or like toxic fumes, When their stomachs are upset, dogs sometimes eat plants, which makes them throw up.

But domestic dogs don’t have the sense to know the difference between poisonous and safe plants, so they sometimes eat the wrong ones. It can make their mouths smell acidic and bad. Sometimes the dogs will get rid of the poisonous plant on their own, but sometimes they will need help from a vet.


If your dog’s breath smells like chemicals or acetone, it might mean they have diabetes. Diabetes can also cause a sickly sweet smell to the dog’s breath, similar to how sweet tea smells on your breath.

A diabetic dog is unable to produce insulin. It means the dog can’t turn the sugars in the food it eats into energy. The dog’s body starts to break down fat to get its energy. Ketones are made when this happens. A diabetic dog’s breath smells terrible: the ketones smell like chemicals.

It is a severe disorder that can cause blindness, dehydration, and weakness in dogs. It needs to be treated quickly and with care.

Pica and Coprophagia

Some dogs have eating disorders where they think anything is food, even if it’s not edible. It can make their breath smell like anything they consumed, from paper to feces.

Pica is when a dog eats shoes, paper, wood, and other objects. Dogs usually eat toys, rocks, wood, and even chew off some fabric. It could be dangerous because they might choke on the small parts.

Coprophagia is an unpleasant habit that some dogs have of eating their own or other animals’ feces. It can make their breath smell like poop, which is pretty gross. Although coprophagia can sometimes cause an infection transmitted by the bacteria and viruses in fecal matter, it usually won’t kill the dog.

Both disorders are caused by the dog’s behavior and incorrect training methods.

Oral Tumors

Dogs that have advanced dental diseases or tumors in their mouths may have a bad smell coming from their mouths. This smell can be like garbage or sewers. If the dog’s mouth is not taken care of, the tumor may bleed, and the smell will worsen.

Dogs often get tumors in their mouths due to poor oral hygiene. They will start to deteriorate if you do not care for your dog’s teeth and gums. It will cause the teeth to fall out, the gums to bleed, and tumors to form in the sockets where the teeth used to be. Dogs have bad breath because their mouths contain bacteria and dead flesh.


Veterinary-approved dog food can also cause dogs to have poor breath. Even dog food that a vet okays can give dogs bad breath. It happens when meat, bones, and other food items get stuck in the dog’s teeth. It can also be caused by food not being digested properly and a bad smell.

You should tell your vet what kind of food to feed your dog. If the dog is eating dehydrated food or too wet food, that might be why it has a bad smell. Gases and stomach acids from undigested food might go into the mouth and cause the odor. You can try feeding raw food, freeze-dried dog food, or even human-grade dog food if possible.

Treatment for Halitosis in Dogs

There is no one-size-fits-all cure for bad breath. Dogs have bad breath because their mouths contain bacteria and dead flesh. The best way to treat a problem depends on its bad and what caused it.

It is always better to find the root cause of the problem and fix it instead of using temporary solutions. It includes dental chew sticks and fresh-smelling herbs.

The following actions can be taken if your dog’s bad breath persists or gets worse.

Dental Cleaning

Many bad breath problems in dogs are caused by poor oral hygiene. The first thing you need to do is take your pet to a dog dentist so they can clean your pet’s teeth thoroughly.

The vet will do a dental and mouth checkup. They will look for lesions, tumors, cavities, or rotting food inside the mouth.

You might need more than one dental session to get rid of all the plaque built up over time. Ask your veterinarian how to maintain a clean mouth for your dog. There are a lot of products on the market that can help you keep your dog’s teeth healthy with minimal effort. Get regular dental checkups until your dog’s breath smells normal again.

Vet Treatment

It might be something else if the bad smell continues even after you clean your teeth. You will need to talk to your vet and get some tests done to determine what is causing the smell.

If your dog has a problem with its kidneys or liver, or if it has sores or tumors in its mouth, you must take care of it. And follow the doctor’s instructions carefully.

If your dog’s breath smells better, their health is improving.

Dietary Changes

If your dog eats feces, it might be because they are not getting enough nutrition from their food. Dogs that eat feces might be trying to get the necessary nutrients. You should try to figure out what’s causing this and solve it.

If your dog’s bad breath is caused by foods that are difficult for them to digest, you will need to change their diet.

If you want to cure your dog’s bad breath, you will need to be patient. You must try different diets to find the right one for your dog.

Your dog’s health can be improved by feeding them fresh fruits, veggies, probiotic yogurt, and other nutritious foods. It will clean out their system and also help keep their teeth clean.

Read more: How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Frequently Asked Questions About Bad Dog Breath

How Do You Get Rid of Horrible Dog Breath?

The best way to prevent bad dog breath is to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. It reduces plaque and promotes better oral hygiene, as in humans. With some training, most dogs learn to enjoy brushing their teeth. Dog toothpaste is formulated for dogs.

Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Like Rotten Garbage?

Dogs with oral tumors or advanced dental diseases often smell bad breath, like garbage or sewers. This smell can be very strong. In some cases, if the dog isn’t treated, the tumor may start to bleed and create a metallic smell because of the blood’s iron content.

Does Bad Breath in Dogs Mean Infection?

Chronic bad breath may indicate something is wrong with your pet. Usually, this means that bad breath is caused by dental or gum disease. However, it can also signify a more significant health problem in other body parts, such as the mouth, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, or organs.

Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Like a Dead Animal?

Bad breath can be caused by liver illness. It happens because the liver cannot get rid of toxins like it used to. These toxins include smelly sulfur compounds, such as thiols.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

About Us

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, I get commissions for purchases made through links on this page.