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Does Your Dog Have Bad Breath?

dog-garden-pet-3512 Does Your Dog Have Bad Breath?

Dogs and Bad Breath

If your dog’s breath were a perfume, would it be called Eau de Pew? Dog breath is rarely pleasing, but strong bad breath can be a sign of health issues. 


The most common cause of bad breath in dogs is dental or gum disease. Some dog breeds (especially small ones) are particularly prone to plaque and tartar. Dental and/or gum disease can be treated by regular cleanings and an at-home dental regimen. However, if you notice that your dog’s breath gets worse or is rank for a longer period of time, this could be a sign of serious health issues. Persistent bad breath can be caused by issues with the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory issues or internal organs.

When to visit your vet

  • Sweet or fruity breath can be a sign of diabetes, particularly if your dog has been drinking and urinating more frequently than normal. Diabetes can suppress your dog’s immune system which can allow bacteria to grow in the mouth.
  • Breath that smells like ammonia is indicative of potential kidney function issues.
  • Unusually foul breath in addition to lack of appetite, yellowing of the eyes and/or gums, and vomiting are all potential signs of liver issues.
  • Oral tumors can also be a potential cause of bad breath. Tumors can grow so fast that blood vessels can’t keep up causing dead areas. This leads to extreme bacteria growth and, as a result, foul breath. Be sure to let your vet know if you notice any discolorations or unusual growths in your pet’s mouth.

The appropriate treatment will be determined by your vet after a full examination.


While your dog’s breath will never smell like petunias, there are steps you can take to keep your dog’s breath healthy. Regular cleanings and dental chews can help break down tartar. You can also give your dog special dog toys and treats that help scrape away the plaque.

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