What is that smell? If you have had to apologize profusely to your guests or even lie about your dog’s halitosis, you shouldn’t anymore. It is a treatable condition, and despite your busy schedule, you can still manage it and restore the freshness of the air around your dog and the house as a whole.

Even though bad breath may go away after brushing, there are times when this doesn’t work because the bad breath is resulting from a serious health condition rather than hygiene. That is why you should visit a vet soon.

Understanding Halitosis

The bad breath you smell is medically termed as halitosis. It results from a build-up of odor-producing bacteria in the mouth, gut or the lungs of the dog. Persistent bad breath is usually an indication that your pooch suffers from poor dental health, potential problems with the liver, kidneys or even the GI tract.

However, the most common cause of halitosis is gum disease especially in the small dogs that are prone to tartar and plaque. With these possibilities in mind, you should not ignore the bad breath.

What Causes It?

1. Periodontal Disease/Gum Disease

This is the most common cause of bad breath according to vets. Gum disease begins when bacteria in the mouth form plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. The plaque hardens into tartar, and if it spreads to the gum line, it travels to the blood increasing the risk of bacterial infections to the heart, lungs, GIT and the kidneys.

Remedy: To get around bad breath resulting from gum disease, veterinarians recommend using toothpaste to reduce bad breath. Brushing teeth regularly prevents tartar and plaque build-up and bad breath. Get a doggy toothbrush and toothpaste and rinse the teeth well after brushing.

2. Teething

Puppies are the cutest things and teething is a natural process that the puppy undergoes to reach adulthood. As the baby teeth get pushed through the gum by the adult teeth erupting, the bacteria sitting on the gum can potentially cause bad breath. You might wish to check out this puppy growth chart to determine when your puppy will undergo teething.

3. Diseases


If your dog has diabetes, it will have a foul breath characterized by the distinct smell of a nail polish remover. The smell may also be fruity or sweet. Treating the bad breath means managing the disease. Monitor your dog’s habits and talk to a vet if it drinks a lot of water and urinates to frequently. Change in appetite, weight loss and irritability are other symptoms of diabetes.

Kidney disease

If your dog’s bad breath smells like urine, it could have kidney disease. The urination patterns may also change as well as weight and appetite.

Liver disease

Bad breath also results from liver disease. If you detect a strong awful smell alongside from other symptoms such as vomiting, jaundice and appetite loss, then your dog suffers from liver disease.

Other conditions to watch out for include rhinitis, sinusitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, and gastrointestinal issues. In case you spot changes in weight, appetite, and behavior, alongside the bad breath, contact your vet fast!

Beware that trauma can also cause halitosis. Oral cancer is also another cause of halitosis and its placed fourth on the list.

4. Bad Dietary Habits

If your dog eats decomposing remains, scours through garbage or looks for cat poop, then that is a cause of the bad breath. Unfortunately, this bad habit could be resulting from a medical condition called coprophagia where dogs tend to eat their own excrement.

What To Do?

Other than visiting a vet, you should visit give your dog healthy treats and ensure that it gets health checks frequently. Brushing your dog’s teeth with a good toothpaste will also help.

Since bad breath is a common indicator of advanced halitosis, you should not sit on it. Also, pay close attention to your dog. If it loses a tooth, take it to the vet immediately to check for potential complications. Finally, take your dog for routine dental cleaning and always feed it with a balanced nutritious diet.

Author Bio

This post was contributed by Pete Decker, the Lead Editor at The Goody Pet. Pete loves to share his passion for pets through snippets of interesting and helpful information. You can find more of Pete at his website, Twitter or Facebook.