How do you get rid of bad dog breath?

Original Question: My 5-year-old dog has bad breath and we've tried everything, what can we do to put an end to the smell? - Connie

How do you get rid of bad dog breath? Mar 5, 2018

Hi Connie,

Thanks for your question.

I can be confident in what the problem is here with the bad breath, which is most likely due to tartar on her teeth. I know you mentioned that the teeth are white and look good, but most people don’t inspect the very back molars where the tartar commonly builds up. I can feel especially confident about this because every time a client has told me that the dog has bad breath, it’s been because there is some plaque or tartar build-up, even if it’s minor, that is causing that bad breath.

Just think in most people, by the end of the day our breath smells pretty bad and we routinely brush our teeth 2 to 3 times a day. Now pretend that you didn’t brush your teeth for two years or more, how bad would your breath smell? It’s really no different in our pets. We have a great video “When to Perform a Dental Cleaning On a Dog or Cat” where we discuss deeper in this topic that I encourage you to take a look.

I would recommend that you try your best at low-key and inspecting the teeth at the back of the mouth. If your dog really doesn’t like you doing this, that could also be a clue that there may be a tooth that hurts or there’s inflammation of the gums that is sensitive and makes him protective over inspecting his mouth. Better still is if you have your veterinarian inspecting the teeth. There are actually a lot of clinics that will have the technicians inspect teeth for free. They will even provide a quote for the teeth cleaning that will solve the problem and also check to see if there are any other dental problems.

Performing a dental cleaning can be expensive and it involves anaesthesia. I would not be concerned about the anaesthesia in a young healthy dog as there would be extremely little risk—if you have any concerns speak with your veterinarian about potential risks. Dental health can have a major impact on our overall health. I can feel pretty confident that a dental cleaning will resolve your bad breath issue with your pet.

After the cleaning consider implementing a good oral hygiene routine to prevent future tartar build-up. The best thing to do is brush your dogs teeth. Additives that you add to the water and treats that you give to clean the teeth play a very minor role in preventing tartar and maintaining overall dental health. Please take a look at our videos “The Importance of Dental Care in Pets and The Process of Dental Cleaning”, “Tips to Help You Effectively Brush Your Dogs & Cats Teeth”, “How to Brush a Dog’s Teeth”, and “How to Brush a Cat’s Teeth”. There is a lot of great information there that will really help you out going forward.

Good luck!

Dr. Clayton Greenway

Disclaimer: and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.

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