We love our dogs, but sometimes they can have bad breath. This is a common issue in dogs and there are ways to treat it. However, bad breath in your fur baby can also mean he has a health issue. Let’s take a look.
Halitosis in Dogs
Halitosis is the medical term for bad odors coming from your dog’s mouth (it’s the same term used for this problem in humans, too). It can be caused by:
- Tartar build-up in the teeth
- Decomposing food caught in folds in the mouth
- Persistent bleeding due to coagulation problems
- Tissue necrosis (tissue death) caused by oral tumors
- Bacteria due to plaque
- Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs
One of the most common causes of bad breath in dogs is periodontal disease from plaque and tartar build-up. Plaque is a biofilm that forms over the teeth when your dog beings to salivate. Over time, unless you brush his teeth regularly, plaque becomes mineralized, creating tartar. As more and more plaque and tartar build up, leading to gingivitis (gum disease). This, in turn, can lead to tooth problems. Your pup could lose teeth due to gum inflammation. He may also start to get cavities. This can be a normal problem in most dogs, especially those that have flat faces. It can be treated by regular dental cleanings done by the vet and it can also be helped by brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis and using dog dental chews. However, bad breath in your fur baby could also be an indication of an underlying health issue.
Bad Breath in Dogs Caused by Health Problems
Here’s a list of some of the most common health conditions that can cause bad breath in your dog:
- Diet (fish-based diets, oral fatty acids, eating odoriferous foods, coprophagia [dog eats poo])
- Disease such as renal disease or diabetes
- Maldigestion (trouble digesting certain foods)
- Respiratory disease (sinusitis, neoplasia and rhinitis)
- GI issues from too much licking/swallowing that creates too much gas in the digestive tract
- Food allergies, bacterial overgrowth, cancer of the stomach or intestines, foreign body (such as socks, etc.)
- Non-periodontal oral disease, including orthodontic, tonsillitis, neoplasia)
- Autoimmune diseases
- Oral cancer
- Liver disease
- Trauma caused by foreign bodies in the mouth, damaged palate from chewing sticks, electrical cord injury, caustic agents
- Dermatologic causes: lip folds, facial skin folds (especially in dogs with heavy jowls)
To cure bad breath, it may be a good idea to see your vet to start off. At the least, your fur baby will need his teeth checked, cleaned of tartar and plaque. Your dog may also have bad teeth that need to be removed. This may require your fur baby having anesthesia, but it’s best, as it will keep him comfortable and reduce his anxiety. Can you imagine just sleeping through a visit to the dentist? That’s how it will be for your canine companion. Your vet will likely also run blood tests and check your dog for any underlying health issues that could be causing your fur baby’s bad breath.
Once these causes have been ruled out, there are some steps you can take to make your dog’s breath fresher.
How to Cure Bad Dog Breath DIY
Here are some things you can do to keep your fur baby’s breath fresher, once he’s seen the vet for a dental cleaning and there are no underlying health issues.
1. Brush his teeth: this is one of the best things you can do. Many dogs won’t like this process in the beginning, but over time he’ll get used to it. You’ll need a doggie toothbrush or a child’s soft toothbrush. Don’t use one of your old toothbrushes. It’s not sanitary, and it may be too big for your dog’s mouth. Another option is to wrap gauze around your finger and use that to clean your fur baby’s teeth. Next, use a toothpaste only for dogs, which is safe for them. Never use human toothpaste, as this could make him very sick. As you begin brushing, be sure to praise him for licking the toothpaste. Just brush for a few seconds in the beginning, gradually building up to brushing his teeth for one minute. Make sure to pay attention to the inside of his teeth, too, along with the molars. It will take some time to get your pup used to getting his teeth brushed, but the payoffs are healthy teeth and gums, along with fresher doggie breath.
2. Parsley: helps with human bad breath, and it can also be good for your canine companion’s breath! Just add a bit of fresh parsley to his food or homemade dog treats, and he’ll soon have fresher breath.
3. Easy homemade dog treats for bad breath: you can also make homemade doggie treats that will help cure your fur baby’s breath issue. Dog bad breath treats are easy and economical to make. Here are some recipes to check out:
Homemade Fresh Breath Dog Treats
- 5 cups of oats
- 1 egg
- ½ cup fresh mind, chopped
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup of water
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
a). Preheat oven to 350 F.
b). Add the oats to the blending or food processor and mix until it’s very fine, like flour.
c). In a large bowl, mix together the oats, egg, water, coconut oil, parsley and mint until a dough forms.
d). Use a rolling pin or a glass to roll the dough flat. Use a cookie cutter (one shaped like a bone would be so cute!) to cut the dough into shapes.
e). Place the cutout dog treats on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
f). Bake for about 40 minutes, until they’re crispy.
g). Let cool before serving. Store in an air-tight container for up to one month.
Note: most mint is safe for dogs in small amounts; however, avoid using English pennyroyal as this type of mint is toxic to dogs.
If you notice your dog has diarrhea, vomiting or is weak after eating these treats, then call the vet and take your pup for an appointment as soon as possible.
Homemade Peanut Butter Mint Dog Breath Treats
- ¾ cup reduced fat milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup peanut butter (smooth style)
- 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- ½ chopped fresh basil
- 10 drops mint flavoring
a). Preheat the oven to 325 F.
b). Whisk together milk, one egg, and peanut butter in a large bowl.
c). Add the flour and baking soda to create the dough.
d). Blend in the chopped basil and peppermint oil.
e). Flour a hard surface to roll out the dough. You can use shaped cookie cutters for dogs or use any cookie cutters you have on hand. Your dog will be happy no matter the shape! Roll the dough out to about ¼” thickness, or a little thicker if necessary.
f). Place cut out treats onto prepared cookies sheet—you can use parchment paper.
g). Make an egg wash by whisking together the second egg and about 2 tablespoons of water. Brush a thin coat on the dog treats before putting them in the oven.
h). Bake for 15 minutes on one side, then flip to bake another 10 minutes on the other side.
i). Remove and cool before serving to your fur baby!
Pumpkin Apple Doggie Mint Treats
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups whole wheat flour (or more if needed)
- 1 apple, grated
- ½ cup mint leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
a). Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
b). In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat pumpkin puree and eggs on medium-high until well combined, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add 2 ½ cups flour at low speed, beating until just incorporated. Add an additional ¼ cup flor at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. Add apple, mint and parsley, beating until all is just incorporated.
c). Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 minutes until it forms a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about ¼” thickness (or a little more if needed). Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto prepared baking sheet.
d). Place into the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
e). Let cool completely, then serve to your pup!
Homemade Dog Breath Freshener
Many people use mouthwash as a way to keep their breath fresh throughout the day. However, using mouthwash meant for people can be toxic to your dog, so avoid using these products. The issue is with the ingredients; some ingredients in people mouthwash are harmful for dogs. However, you can use the same idea and make a homemade mouth wash for to help freshen your canine companion’s breath! Here’s a recipe for homemade doggie mouthwash:
- I cup of water
- Five sprigs of fresh parsley
- Mint leaves (measure to your preference)
- ¼ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
a). Mix the parsley with the water and bring it to a boil.
b). Allow the boiled water to cool, then add in the mint and apple cider vinegar.
c). Pour cooled liquid into a spray bottle and spray into your fur baby’s mouth!
That’s all there is to it! Your dog may even enjoy the quick spritzer after having his teeth brushed each day. He might even think it’s pretty fun to have doggie breath freshener sprayed into his mouth!
Activated Charcoal Dog Treats Recipe
Another option is to bake some activated charcoal treats at home. These particular treats do you use activated charcoal, so be aware the treats will come out black. This is how they should be, unless they’re also burned if you bake them too long.
Activated charcoal is a food-grade supplement that is safe for dogs. It works in the GI tract to treat bad breath, constipation and more. One more note—your dog’s stools may come out black after eating these treats. That’s also normal.
Activated Charcoal Dog Breath Fresher Treats
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/8 cup activated charcoal
- 1/8 cup dried parsley
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup milk
- 1/8 cup water
a). Preheat the over to 325 F.
b). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, charcoal and parsley.
c). In a small bowl, beat the egg. Then stir together the egg, canola oil, chicken broth, milk and water.
d). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture.
e). Stir together until well combined.
f). Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, or cover the baking sheet with parchment paper.
g). Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop ball onto the prepared baking sheet.
h). Use a drinking glass dipped in water and flatten each ball into a cookie shape.
i). Optional: use doggie cookie cutters.
j). Bake for 25 minutes.
k). Turn off the oven and leave the dog treats in the oven to cool overnight. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container. They will stay fresh for about three weeks. They can also be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
These are some of the ways you can treat your dog’s bad breath at home. Remember, if your dog has bad breath, it’s a good idea to take him to the vet. The vet will check your pup’s teeth and will look to see if any underlying health issues could be causing the problem. If your fur baby is healthy, then you can create some yummy dog treats and even a doggie mouthwash to help keep your canine companion’s breath fresher every day!