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Dog kisses and cuddles can be the sweetest parts of pet parenthood. But when bad breath enters the picture, it’s a lot less fun to get close.
Bad dog breath doesn’t just ruin snuggle time. It may also be a sign of a problem with the dog’s system. Fortunately, with the right bad dog breath home remedy, many pet parents can resolve the issue.
The first step is to figure out why the dog’s breath stinks so bad. Despite the rumors, it’s not just “the way dogs are.”
For most dogs, the cause of bad breath is usually a problem with the teeth or digestion.
Poor oral hygiene is one of the most common causes of bad dog breath. Many pet parents don’t think to clean their dogs’ teeth as regularly as their own, and the result is the same as if a human stopped brushing.
When a dog’s teeth don’t get attention, plaque and tartar build up — creating the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. And those bacteria can be pretty stinky.
In time, poor dog dental care can lead to gum disease and dangerous oral infections. Dogs with severe gum disease end up with tooth loss and infections that ooze pus. It’s as painful as it sounds, and it leads to very bad breath.
Dogs can also develop bad breath because of digestive issues. It’s often a “you are what you eat” kind of thing. Dogs can have pretty disgusting snacking habits — and if a pup gets into the compost pile or eats poop, their breath will be a dead giveaway.
Doggy indigestion can also lead to bad breath because of acid reflux. Stomach acid doesn’t smell pleasant, and neither does the partially digested food pet parents smell from a burpy or gassy dog.
Fortunately, whether the culprit is the tummy or the teeth, there are steps pet parents can take to make it better.
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends pet parents brush their dog’s teeth daily if possible, or at least several times a week.
We get it — a lot of pet parents aren’t comfortable with the process, and the dogs aren’t always thrilled about it either. It’s okay. Pet and parent can acclimate to tooth brushing together, starting with a gentle exploration of the brush and toothpaste:
Touch the toothbrush to the dog’s mouth, inside then out. Let them lick it or gnaw on it if they want.
Offer them a taste of the dog toothpaste — make sure it’s specially formulated for dogs!
Run the brush over the teeth, as much as the dog will tolerate.
Slowly work up to brushing the whole mouth.
Keep the experience positive with treats and plenty of attention.
The dog will get used to it in time, especially if he associates it with fun “together time.”
Here’s one of the dog dental health tips our canine friends love best. If a dog doesn’t love brushing or their teeth need extra help, try dental chews.
These tasty treats reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar while freshening the breath. Some are particularly designed for tartar control, which is great for pet parents who are just starting the dog dental care process.
The teeth stay cleaner and the dog enjoys a tasty treat. It’s a win-win all around.
Dental supplements also support healthy dog teeth, and they’re easy to add to a dog’s routine. Many of them come in convenient spray bottles, making them ideal for dogs who won’t tolerate brushing.
There are even breath-specific formulations for dogs who have chronic dry mouth, which can make bad breath worse.
Improving dog gut health is an important safeguard against bad breath, and it helps the dog feel better at the same time. Probiotics are a particularly great dog bad breath home remedy because they have widespread benefits for the dog’s entire system.
A dog’s gut naturally contains live bacteria that keep the digestive system in balance. Probiotic supplements encourage the growth of these good bacteria, improving digestion and reducing symptoms like diarrhea, gas, and bad breath.
Even with the best bad dog breath home remedy, pups may still have a little bit of stinkiness behind those floppy lips. Sometimes it’s because there’s a bigger issue at play, like diabetes or liver disease. Other times, it’s just that the pet parent needs to try another option.
For personalized advice, become a Fuzzy member today and access 24/7 online vet help with Live Vet Chat. Members of the Fuzzy veterinary support team are available anytime to answer pet parents’ questions about dental care, gut health, and more.