Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell?

Have you noticed that your dog’s breath smells? If this were the case with a close friend you may just politely offer them a mint, but when it comes to dogs, bad breath can be an indicator of bad oral hygiene, dental diseases, and other health issues.

While it’s not common for our four-legged friends to have the freshest of breaths, there’s a difference between a little whiff and a smell that suggests cause for concern. Keep reading as we explore what causes a dog’s breath to smell, how to prevent smelly breath, and when to seek the advice of your vet.

Let’s sniff out the facts…

Causes of bad breath in dogs  

The most common cause of bad breath in dogs is due to bad oral hygiene and dental diseases such as periodontal disease (which is actually the most common disease in dogs). Similarly to humans, plaque and tartar build-up can also lead to bacteria build-up, resulting in smelly breath.

Other causes of bad breath can include:

  • Airway infections

  • Gut problems

  • Your dog’s diet

  • Something being stuck in your dog’s mouth

  • Kidney disease – resulting in an ammonia-like smell

  • Liver disease – resulting in a foul and musty smell

  • Diabetes – resulting in a sweet smell

Why does my dog’s breath smell fishy?

Okay, we know a dog’s breath rarely smells of roses, but if there’s something particularly fishy about your furry friend’s breath then this could be due to dental issues (like tooth decay, infection, or gingivitis), diabetes, anal sac disease, kidney disease or digestive issues.

If the fishy smell has been lingering for a while, it’s likely that simply brushing your pup’s teeth regularly won’t be enough to banish the bad breath and it’s important to visit your vet for professional advice.

How to treat your dog’s smelly breath

First, find out why…  

If you have any concerns about a change in your dog’s breath or any other abnormalities in your dog, it’s important to seek advice from your veterinarian as it could be the symptom of an undetected health issue.

In the meantime, to tackle your dog’s bad breath, first you need to determine what’s causing their breath to smell funky.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What has your dog eaten recently? Does their diet contain a lot of fish?

  • Has your dog been sick recently?

  • Does your dog take any prescribed drugs?

  • Has your dog eaten anything strange or abnormal, like another dog’s doodoo?

  • Does your dog have dog have any signs of dental disease? – If safe to do so, gently lift your dog’s upper lip to see if their gums are inflamed and red, or if they have tartar build-up on their teeth. If possible, check your dog’s back teeth as this is often where dental problems can occur.

  • Is your dog drinking a lot more or urinating more? Combined with bad breath, this can be a sign of diabetes.

Of course, even after answering these questions it can be hard to determine the definite cause of your dog’s stinky breath. To be on the safe side, reach out to your vet, especially if the issue persists.  

For a quick minty solution

If your pup is otherwise healthy and their teeth and gums look good, then they may simply need to freshen up with a minty breath freshener!

Minty, fresh, and easy-to-use, there are lots of breath freshening mousses on the market which will have your dog’s breath smelling lovely, many of which also help prevent plaque and tartar build-up to help keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy.

How to keep your dog’s mouth healthy 

Did you know that it’s estimated that 80% of dogs are affected with some degree of dental disease by the age of two? To help keep your dog’s mouth healthy, it’s important to do the following:

  • Start a routine from an early age – this includes brushing your dog’s teeth and giving them dental sticks and chews.

  • Feed your dog an appropriate diet – always provide your pup with a diet that’s appropriate to their age and size and avoid treats that are too hard as these can lead to tooth fractures. Dog obesity can also be linked to dental disease, especially in smaller dogs.

  • Make sure your dog has regular check-ups at the vets – they’ll check your dog’s teeth during their examination, but be sure to go sooner if you’re worried about a change in your dog’s breath or their health (also, be sure to follow your vet’s advice when it comes to dental health).

What to do if you suspect your dog has a dental disease 

Your dog’s bad breath could be caused by several reasons, from their diet, to having a foreign object stuck in their teeth or poor oral hygiene. Other causes could be dental diseases (or an indicator of other diseases), or a result of what your dog has been licking (like if they have an anal gland infection).  

To be on the safe side, it’s important to take your dog to the vet if your dog’s breath has been smelly for a while or if it’s particularly sweet or foul, they may be unwell and in need of medical treatment.

Pamper your pup with Yappy gifts

To keep on top of your pawgeous dog’s grooming regime, we have lots of soft and absorbent personalized dog towels that are perfect for drying off your soggy doggy or cleaning your mucky pup.

And that’s just the beginning! At Yappy we specialize in personalized gifts to spoil dogs and dog lovers. From luxuriously cuddly blankets to uber comfy pillows and stylish dog bags that are great for stashing your dog’s things or your next shopping trip.

@ronniethewestie with their personalized tote bag


Yappy to Help

We hope you found this article helpful. Now, we’ve covered your dog’s teeth, but have you ever wondered how often you should groom your dog? Check out this blog post for the low-down.

If you’d like to know more about what Yappy offers, don’t hesitate to contact us on help@yappy.com.

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