Why Does My Dog's Breath Smell Bad?

Understanding the cause behind your dog's bad breath can help you take the necessary steps to address it. Just like humans, dogs can experience poor oral hygiene due to various reasons. However, they cannot communicate their discomfort directly. It is essential to identify any potential issues and seek professional help if needed.


Understanding Your Dog's Breath

It's crucial to understand that not all dog breath is fresh and minty. In fact, it's quite normal for your pet to have a unique scent to their breath, particularly after they've eaten. This is because dogs have different dietary habits and oral bacteria compared to humans.

However, if you notice a persistent foul smell, it could be a sign of underlying health issues. Dogs, like humans, can suffer from gum disease and tooth decay, which can lead to bad breath. Additionally, certain medical conditions can also cause bad breath in dogs.


Common Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs

Several factors can contribute to bad breath in dogs. One of the most common causes is poor oral hygiene. Just like in humans, food particles can get stuck in a dog's teeth and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Over time, this can lead to plaque and tartar build-up, causing bad breath.

Another common cause is diet. Certain foods can cause bad breath in dogs. For instance, a diet high in protein can result in a stronger smell. Additionally, certain dog treats and chews can also contribute to bad breath.

Underlying health conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or liver problems can also cause bad breath in dogs. If you notice a persistent bad smell even after improving your dog's oral hygiene and diet, it's recommended to consult a veterinarian.


The Importance of Professional Dental Care for Dogs

Professional dental care plays a crucial role in maintaining your dog's oral health. Regular dental check-ups can help detect early signs of gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral issues that could lead to bad breath.

Professional cleaning can effectively remove plaque and tartar build-up that can't be eliminated with regular brushing. This can not only improve your dog's breath but also prevent serious dental diseases.

A professional can also provide you with advice on how to maintain your dog's oral hygiene at home. This might include recommendations on the best dental chews, diets, and brushing techniques to prevent bad breath.


When to Consult a Veterinarian About Your Dog's Bad Breath

While occasional bad breath is normal in dogs, persistent bad breath can be a sign of serious health issues. If your dog shows other symptoms such as loss of appetite, excessive drinking or urinating, vomiting, or weight loss along with bad breath, it's essential to seek veterinary advice immediately. These could be signs of serious health conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or liver problems.

Regular check-ups, keeping an eye on their diet, and maintaining good oral hygiene can go a long way in preventing bad breath and ensuring your pet's overall well-being.



Bad breath in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, from poor oral hygiene and diet to underlying health conditions. Understanding these causes and the importance of professional dental care can help you ensure your pet's oral health.

If you have questions or concerns about your dog’s bad breath, schedule an appointment with our veterinarian at Malibu Coast Animal Hospital in our Malibu, California, office. Call (424) 402-5100 to book an appointment today.

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