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Bad breath in dogs - causes, treatment, prevention

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Bad breath in dogs - causes, treatment, prevention

There could be several causes when a dog has a foul smelling breath. Besides the feed various diseases can come into question. What the exact causes are and how to treat and prevent emerging diseases, you will get to know in this article.


Bad breath in dogs - Tony the pug 

Causes of bad breath in dogs - signs of disease

Generally a foul-smelling breath in dogs come up because of an existing disease or because of the nutrition. It is important that you know what the possible causes can be and how you can treat resulting diseases or even prevent it.


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Nutrition and Feed

Reasons in nutrition could be the feeding of non-quality food, the wrong food, too much canned food or the feeding of residues from human food. Furthermore, the dog may have possibly eaten something during the daily walk, what he should not. Horse droppings, waste or carrion can temporarily cause a foul smelling breath, but abates within a short time.

Much worse is if the dog is suffering from a disease that is causing the bad breath. The following diseases can be the cause of bad breath in dogs:

Tartar and gum inflammation (gingivitis)

Dental, gingival and tartar problems are the most common cause of bad breath in dogs. Food residues which are stuck to the teeth and gums will be decomposed with time from bacteria, whereby plaque and tartar are forming. Deposits on the tooth necks and reddened gums are indicators of tartar and gingivitis.

The unpleasant odor comes from bacteria in the oral cavity, which decompose the food scraps and let thereby arise a sulfur-containing compound that is malodorous.



A high bacteria accumulation in the mouth of the dog means a more foul-smelling breath and a higher risk for other diseases, such as inflammation or tooth loss.

Due to the formation of tartar and gingival sulcus, the bacteria can survive and multiply. This produces inflammation and gum separates from the tooth so that more cavities are created for the bacteria.

If this will not treated it can lead to loss of the teeth. The bacteria can get also into the bloodstream, so that this can also lead to heart, kidney and liver damage.

But even if the dog does not eat properly, or even refuses to eat, this may be an indication that he is in pain when eating and may have tooth or gum problems.

Chaps eczema

In this case the skin folds of the chaps ignite, in which bacteria can accumulate and can cause inflammation. In small lesions in the skin folds, which can be caused by bones or sharp objects, the bacteria can spread. This creates a very fetid odor. Such eczema is often not recognized because teeth and gums look healthy.

Organ and metabolic diseases

Halitosis may also be caused due to a disease of the internal organs, such as heart, liver or kidney, due to an existing tumor or a disease of diabetes.

The following chart may help in identifying a present illness:

Bad breath



 tooth caries, tooth purulent

 urin-like / ammonia smell

 kidney disease

 carrion smell

 tartar, gum inflammation, stomatitis, chaps eczema



 fruit-like / aceton smell



What can you done against Bad breath in dogs?

Nutrition and Feed

Incorrect or poor-quality food can cause bad breath in dogs. Therefore, a switch to high quality food can eliminate the foul smelling breath.

Dry food has the advantage that it prevents the formation of excessive plaque because the food residues are removed from the teeth and the gums by chewing.

As described above, the dog can eat while walking horse droppings, waste, carrion or other stuff, which can cause an unpleasant breath odor. Here, the bad smell usually subsides within a short time.

If there are no serious diseases in the dog and he still has bad breath, you can mix a little finely chopped parsley to the food. Parsley also contains many vitamins and minerals. Also mint can be added to the food to combat the bad breath.



Tartar and gingivitis

Generally, in order to prevent against dental problems, it is advisable to practice a regular dental care of the dog. In this case you have several options.

You can give the dog chewing bones or chew products, such as dental bone or dental sticks, on a daily basis which promote the cleaning of the teeth.

Additionally, you can brush the teeth. This should be done one to two times a week. Here, it is very advantageous if the dog get used to the brushing even as a puppy. There are dog toothpaste and dog toothbrushes commercially available, but you can also use a soft children's toothbrush. Very handy are so-called finger toothbrushes when your little friend is reluctant before brushing.

The teeth and gums should be regularly checked by the vet, as part of the general examination and treated if necessary.

In general, the food bowl should always be cleaned because bacteria can form quickly here.

Chaps eczema

A chaps eczema is usually treated with special ointments. Here, the veterinarian can show exactly how the skin folds should be cared. Especially after eating the inflamed skin folds should be cleaned.

Organ and metabolic diseases

In such diseases you should definitely consult a vet who can identify and treat the exact disease. In this case it is better to go once again to the vet to avoid serious diseases for the dog.

Now you have a good overview of the causes, treatment and preventive measures of bad breath in dogs.

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Read also:

---> Eye, ear and dental care of the dog

---> Alternative for the food bowl: Healthy homemade cooking for dogs part

---> Dangerous & toxic food for dogs

---> Dog training: Set limits and allow freedoms?

---> Indoor games and activities with the dog

---> Most common mistakes in dog training

---> What at what dog age is important to know for dog training

---> Ticks in dogs

---> Vaccinations for the dog





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