It’s tough to describe the horror of a dog’s bad breath in just a few words!
When your dog has bad breath (also known as halitosis), the usual cuddling and kissing can become unbearable.
Bad breath is usually the result of accumulated bacteria in your dog’s mouth, lungs or gut. Chronic bad breath can be an indicator of potential health problems, such as dental, kidney or gastrointestinal diseases.
Some other causes include intake of canned dog food, poor oral hygiene, lack of hydration, consumption of ‘smelly’ foods, development of plaque or tartar on the teeth, and eating feces or garbage. It can also be a sign that your dog’s diet is low in nutrients.
The tell-tale sign of bad breath in dogs is the offensive odor coming from their mouth. However, there are a few other signs and symptoms that you should be aware of in order to identify a more serious condition. Such signs include red gums, sensitive and inflamed gums, loose teeth, visible plaque buildup and bleeding gums.
Regardless of breed, age or gender, any dog can suffer from halitosis at any point in their life.
While it is quite common for dogs to have breath that stinks, fortunately, in most cases the bad breath is not a sign of any serious disease. You can treat the condition with medicines prescribed by your vet. But you can also use some natural home remedies, which are less expensive and very effective.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for bad breath in dogs.
1. Brush Regularly
Maintaining a good oral care routine for your dog is one of the best ways to fight bad breath.
Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth helps maintain a healthy oral cavity and prevents plaque and tartar buildup, which is one of the key reasons behind bad breath.
For brushing your pet’s teeth, you need a soft-bristled toothbrush specifically designed for pets and toothpaste specifically formulated for pets.
- Place a small amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush.
- Hold it at a 45-degree angle to the tooth surface with the bristles pointing toward the gums.
- Brush the teeth using circular motions, concentrating on the gum line, the outside surfaces of the teeth as well as the back of the teeth.
When brushing your pet’s teeth, you need to be patient. Most dogs do not like to have their mouth touched. You can always learn the brushing technique from a vet.
Crunchy carrots are good for your dog’s teeth and can help fight stinky breath.
Carrots serve as a healthy chew toy for your pet, while also helping prevent plaque from building up. Accumulation of plaque is one of the main reasons behind bad breath in pets.
Also, eating carrots stimulates saliva production that helps wash away food particles from the mouth and between the teeth.
Plus, they’re very nutritious. Carrots contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that protects against free-radical damage. They are also a rich source of vitamins and play a major role in maintaining good health.
- Cut 1 or 2 carrots into medium-sized pieces and give it to your dog as a snack between meals or after meals. If your pet does not like raw carrots, you can lightly cook or steam them.
Probiotics are another line of defense against bad dog breath. The active cultures present in probiotic foods help break down the odor-causing hydrogen sulfide.
Also, the digestive enzymes present in probiotics help your pet enjoy a healthier and more balanced internal system.
To give probiotics to your pet, plain yogurt is the best option.
- Feed 1 to 2 teaspoons once daily to a small dog.
- Feed 1 to 2 tablespoons once daily to a medium-sized dog.
- Feed 2 to 4 tablespoons once daily to a large dog.
Alternatively, you can opt to use a probiotic supplement made especially for dogs. Ask your vet to recommend one and use it as directed by the vet.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another effective home remedy to fight bad breath in dogs.
It can help balance the pH level in your dog’s mouth, which is imperative to prevent or treat bad breath.
The high levels of acid present in apple cider vinegar can also break down plaque or tartar on the teeth, leaving your dog’s mouth fresh and clean.
In addition, the antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties in apple cider vinegar are effective in fighting bad breath.
All you need to do is add raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to your dog’s drinking water. The dosage is based on your dog’s weight.
- 1 teaspoon for dogs up to 14 pounds.
- 2 teaspoons for dogs between 15 and 34 pounds.
- 1 tablespoon for dogs between 35 and 85 pounds.
5. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another natural remedy that can help a dog with bad breath.
It contains antibacterial and antifungal properties, which help reduce the stinky smell in your dog’s mouth. Also, this healthy oil is good for your dog’s digestive, immune and metabolic systems.
It makes a great toothpaste alternative, too.
- Add up to 1 tablespoon (1 teaspoon per 10 pounds) of coconut oil to your dog’s regular food once a day.
- Also, you can use the oil to brush your dog’s teeth. Dogs usually love the taste of coconut oil.
6. More Drinking Water
Offering your dog plenty of fresh water at all times is a must!
Just like humans, dogs need lots of water for their bodies to function properly. Also, the bacteria that may be causing the bad breath will be eliminated better if your canine’s mouth remains hydrated.
Also, regular water intake prevents dehydration, a common cause of bad breath in pets.
- Always keep a steady supply of fresh water available, so your dog can drink small quantities frequently.
- To encourage your pet to drink more water, add some chicken stock to it. Some pets like to eat ice cubes, which are another great way to increase their water intake.
Parsley is another awesome home remedy for bad dog breath. The magical component in parsley is chlorophyll, which neutralizes the foul smell by killing any bacteria inside the mouth that are causing the bad breath.
- Sprinkle some fresh parsley into the food before offering it to your dog.
- Also, you can give your pet some parsley leaves to chew during the day.
- Another option is to boil 2 to 3 cups of water with a bunch of parsley leaves in it for 15 minutes. Allow the water to cool and give it to your dog to drink.
Lemons have a strong and nice smell that can help fight bad breath in pets.
The citric acid in lemons stops the bacteria from multiplying inside your dog’s mouth, thus preventing bad breath.
The high levels of acid present in lemons also help break down plaque or tartar buildup that causes bad breath.
Due to the bleaching qualities of lemons, your dog’s teeth will also become whiter.
- Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon wedge into your dog’s water bowl when you change the water.
- Allow your dog to drink the lemon water throughout the day.
- Add the lemon to the water daily or every other day to fight bad breath.
9. Chew Toys and Treats
Chewing is a natural way to keep your pet’s teeth clean and prevent bad breath. So, offering chew toys and treats to your pet makes a lot of sense.
First of all, the hard material of chew toys aids in getting rid of plaque, the main cause of bad breath. Also, it stimulates the production of saliva that helps get rid of food particles stuck between the teeth.
Plus, chew treats and toys help satisfy your dog’s natural desire to chomp, strengthen his teeth and reduce his overall stress level.
Look for dog dental chews that contain breath-freshening chlorophyll, cinnamon and clove. When buying chew treats, look for those that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal on the label.
10. Synthetic Bones
Most dogs love snacking on meat and bones, but it is not at all good for their breath. One of the best home remedies for bad dog breath is simply cutting down on the amount of meat you feed to your furry friend.
However, you can always offer synthetic bones to your pet. Chewing on synthetic bones helps keep your dog’s teeth healthy and strong, and the process of chewing will help your dog get rid of plaque buildup.
Always opt for natural choices like rawhide or a knucklebone. These are softer bones and are gentle on your pet’s teeth. Never give any synthetic bones that are hard, as they can fracture the teeth and damage the gums.
For safety, look for the VOHC seal of approval on the label.
- A water bowl can become a host to a wide variety of bacteria when it is left unclean for long periods of time. So, clean the water bowl on regular basis.
- Consider reducing the amount of wet food your dog eats and replace it with more dry varieties.
- Examine your pet’s teeth and remove bits of food stuck in his teeth, which over time could become a source of bad breath.
- Wheatgrass is another good home remedy for a dog’s bad breath. The chlorophyll in it works as an excellent breath-freshener.
- You can give a few neem leaves or a neem twig to your pet to chew.
- You can sprinkle a little breath-sweetening cinnamon on your pet’s food at every feeding.
- Take your dog regularly to a vet. Vets can perform oral check-ups and may offer services to clean your dog’s teeth.