Dog Care

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How to Freshen Dogs Breath

By: | Updated: October 24, 2019

There’s no denying we have unconditional love for our canine companions. We love those doggy kisses but when it comes to dog breath, it can be quite unpleasant.

While unusually smelly breath can imply an underlying health condition, most forms of bad breath can be easily improved. This article explains how to freshen dogs breath, and how to prevent it from happening in the first place. It’s really quite simple, and you probably have many of these solutions already in your home!

But first, let’s explore reasons why a dog may have bad breath.

Why do dogs have bad breath?

As you’re looking for ways to freshen your dog’s breath, you’ll probably want to know why your dog has halitosis in the first place. There is usually a very good reason behind the odor, so we’ve listed the most common causes.

Poor dental hygiene

An excessive build-up of plaque and tartar caught in the mouth, teeth and gum lines, can lead to the development of bacteria.

A mouth full of bacteria is a common cause of (very) stinky dog breath.

Overtime, bacteria could cause your dog to have persistent bad breath, signalling they may be experiencing a serious medical problem. This could range from cavities, infection, tooth loss and periodontal disease. Smaller dog breeds and flat-faced dogs are more likely to experience dental problems, due to a smaller and more crowded mouth.

Thankfully, severe consequences can be easily prevented by good dental hygiene.

If your dog may be experiencing any of these issues, take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible as they may require dental work.

Unpleasant eating habits

Picture of garbage overflowing.


We can often find ourselves questioning our dog’s habits. Sometimes their habits result to bad breath.

If your dog repeatedly gets into the garbage, licks their own poop, licks the poop of other dogs/cats, or has contact to decomposing animal remains, then the bad breath could be the result of unsupervised snacking.

Not only are these smelly, but also unhygienic. Attempt to figure out what your dog ate. It could be something potentially harmful to their health, especially if they show signs of illness.

Secure the trash, limit your dog’s access to unpleasant outdoor finds, place the litter box out of reach and clean up directly after your dog.

Underlying health condition

Various symptoms could signal an underlying health condition such as diabetes, kidney disease or liver disease.

Breath that smells slightly sweet or fruity could be a sign of diabetes.

If there’s a urine odor, it could be a symptom of kidney disease.

The combination of offensive breath, vomit, lack of appetite and a yellow hint to the gums may be a sign of a liver problem.

If your dog has any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your dog into the veterinarian or emergency clinic as soon as possible.

How to freshen dogs breath

Before you begin considering the following tips to help freshen your pooch’s breath, talk to your veterinarian to make sure your dog isn’t experiencing an undiagnosed illness.

Brush your dog’s teeth once a day

Brushing your dog’s teeth doesn’t just freshen their breath, but also prevents bad breath from building up in the first place. It reduces plaque and promotes good oral hygiene.

Human toothpaste will make your dog poorly, so you should only use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs.

It’s great to start brushing your dog’s teeth while they’re young so they can become familiar to it. But if you’re not currently brushing your dog’s teeth, there’s not a better time to start than today. It requires little training and most dogs learn to enjoy having their teeth brushed with the help of flavored toothpaste.

VetVid demonstrates the best way to brush your dog’s teeth while providing useful tips on the way. Check out their video below:

Alternatively, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a professional dental clean.

Chew toys

The natural process of chewing will not only help to clean your dog’s teeth, but also relieve boredom and keep your dog happy.

A popular chew toy is a Kong. Kongs are hard rubber toys, recommended by veterinarians and trainers. When using a Kong to help clean your dog’s teeth, simply smear some flavored toothpaste on the inside of the toy. As your dog chews on the Kong, they’ll become accustomed to the toothpaste flavor which will help with tooth brushing. Plus, the hardness of the toy will help loosen the plaque from the teeth.

Gnawing on rope toys is also useful for dislodging any food that’s stuck in between the teeth.

Dental chews/treats

Many dental chews and treats are formulated to improve breath while cleaning a dog’s teeth.

One of our best dog dental chews that can help eliminate bad breath is GreeniesGreenies have a special texture designed to fight both tartar and plaque, and contain natural, nutritious and easily digestible ingredients. They’re also accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), which recognises products that meet the standards of preventing plaque and tartar in dogs.

A chew a day will get your dog’s teeth clean and their breath fresh smelling.

Clean water

Picture of a dog drinking water out of bowl.

Dogs can drink their way to fresh-smelling breath by having constant access to clean water. Make sure to change the water frequently and keep the dog bowl clean.

Alternatively, you can invest in a dog water fountain. Water fountains offer continuous free-flowing, filtered, fresh water and keeps impurities and dirt out. They also promote better health by encouraging dogs to drink more water.

A highly recommended dog water fountain is by iPettie Tritone. It’s almost silent so it won’t frighten away your dog, and holds 70 Oz of water so you only have to refill the water once a day.


Bones are great for a dog’s dental health. They scrape away plaque, lead to whiter teeth and help maintain healthy gums.

Like dental sticks, you should always monitor your dog and never leave them unattended while they’re busy chewing. Swallowing large pieces of chew or bone can block the airway and cause choking.

Make sure you don’t give your dog a cooked bone. It can splinter and cause damage to the intestinal linings.

Natural crunchy snacks

Crunchy foods such as carrots, apples and celery can improve your dog’s breath by removing odor-causing bacteria from the teeth. When chewed, these foods can scrub away hard-to-reach food particles and plaque build-up. Plus, they are full nutrition, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Slice food these into bite-size pieces to prevent choking and allow easier digestion.


As one of the main causes of a dog’s bad breath is the bacteria that live in the digestive system, probiotics provide a solution.

They’re a natural way to help the body defend itself against bad bacteria, by growing beneficial bacteria in a dog’s intestine. This helps with digestion and prevents lingering odors.


The chlorophyll in parsley is a great natural remedy to battle stinky doggy breath.

Simply chop up some parsley and mix it in with your dog’s food – approximately one teaspoon to every ten pounds of body weight.


Cinnamon is an easy and natural way for transforming your dog’s breath. It smells good, helps to break up hidden food particles and prevents the build-up of bacteria in between the teeth. By adding a few sprinkles in your pooch’s food bowl, you should notice a fresher breath in a few days.

While cinnamon is safe for dogs to eat, never give cinnamon in large quantities (over one teaspoon). Too much can irritate the mouth and digestive system.

Breath freshening wheat-free dog treats

Picture of bone shaped dog snacks in a jar.


As cinnamon and apple are both great products for freshening bad doggy breath, Finley’s Barkery have created a wheat-free all-natural dog treat made of these two ingredients.

These crunchy treats scrape away plaque, clean the gums and supports dental health.

Coconut oil

As well as helping to improve digestion, immune system and skin allergies, coconut oil is a natural way for freshening dog breath. Dogs love the taste too!

Simply add a teaspoon to your dog’s food bowl each day to start appreciating the effects straightaway.

You can also brush your dog’s teeth with coconut oil, but this shouldn’t be used in place of regular tooth brushing.

Balanced, healthy diet

What you feed your dog can be the cause of your dog’s bad breath. Provide your pup with a quality and balanced diet, full of the all the nutrition they need to keep healthy.

You can easily monitor and have control over your dog’s food consumption by setting specific eating times.

Don’t feed too much meat, as this has the tendency to cause smelly breath.

Final thoughts on how to freshen dog’ breath

Picture of a dog licking its nose.


Don’t let doggy breath get in the way of your smooches!

As with most cases, it is always better and easier to prevent a problem from occurring than to stop or correct it after it has begun.

While there are many ways in how to freshen dogs breath naturally, brushing your dog’s teeth once a day is the best way to prevent a build-up of plaque and tartar – the main culprit for bad breath.

By making sure your dog’s teeth are clean, it will avoid a mass of other health problems.

If in doubt, always schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss the possible causes for your dog’s bad breath and possible treatment options

About the Author:

Serena is the content publisher for Daydreamdog and a life long dog lover. Between walking them, writing about them and spending too much time liking pictures of them on Instagram, her day literally revolves around dogs! If you want to learn more about Serena click here.