Home Remedies for Bad Dog Breath

by Naomi Millburn
Crunchy dog-friendly treats can minimize canine breath issues.

Crunchy dog-friendly treats can minimize canine breath issues.

Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Bad breath isn't appealing on anyone, whether a talkative coworker or your closest doggie pal. If your dog's breath is yucky, your immediate reaction should always be to take him to the veterinarian. Dental problems like periodontal disease are a common culprit behind canine halitosis. If your pet's breath woes aren't health related, however, several home remedies can often help take care of them.

Regular Brushing

The idea of regularly brushing your dog's teeth might seem frustrating, although definitely worth it. Brushing can do wonders not only for your pet's dental health, but also for his breath. As far as eliminating unpleasant breath in canines goes, brushing is optimal, according to veterinarian Robert Wiggs. Just make sure to only use toothpastes that are designed for canine use. Dogs are often initially reluctant about tooth brushing sessions. Get him used to the concept by dabbing a small amount of beef broth on a finger and massaging the front of his teeth.

Doggie Chews

One easy way to curb yucky canine breath is to invest in rawhide chews at your local pet supplies store. When dogs chew on rawhide, it helps encourage the production of saliva. The increase in saliva is beneficial for cleansing his mouth and getting rid of lingering bad breath. Rawhide can also help do away with plaque accumulation. Lastly, rawhide satisfies dogs' innate chewing urges -- a serious bonus. Chew toys with tough textures can be helpful for doggie breath, as well. Before getting your dog any chew toys, be sure to check on their safety with your vet.

Exercise and Digestion

Sufficient exercise can also help make your dog's bad breath a thing of the past. If your dog gets enough physical activity every day, it can help with his elimination. Troubles with digestion can frequently bring upon halitosis in dogs, whether constipation, indigestion or anything of that ilk, according to veterinarian Barbara Fougere, author of "The Pet Lover's Guide to Natural Healing for Cats & Dogs." If you have any questions about your dog's individual exercise needs, talk to your veterinarian.

Dietary Adjustments

Dietary tweaks can often be helpful for doggie breath. If you transition your pooch to dry food rather than wet food, it might be able to help his breath, according to Joey Green, author of "Joey Green's Amazing Pet Cures." Dry food can be useful for getting rid of pesky plaque. The addition of fresh fruits and veggies to your pet's feeding plan might be effective, too -- think sprouts, apples, carrots and parsley. Stopping giving your pet "people food" from the dinner table also can go a long way. Prior to making any changes or introductions in your dog's feeding, get veterinary approval.

Discussion With the Vet

Many pet supplies stores stock doggie treats that are made to help with bad breath. Before investing in any of these treats, get the OK from your vet. Get permission to use any natural remedies for managing your pet's breath, too, whether peppermint oil, lemon juice, baking soda or crabapple. Importantly, make sure his breath problem isn't an effect of a pressing health issue such as tooth decay, kidney disease, diabetes or anything else. Don't be unrealistic about your pet's breath, either. Though dog breath should never be repugnant, it's generally damper and warmer in comparison to people breath. Overly conspicuous breath in dogs often indicates a problem, says veterinarian Paul Cleland.

Photo Credits

  • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images