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Bad Breath: What it Says About Your Dog’s Diet

Your dog’s bad breath may indicate they have a health problem or need a dietary change.

While there are many potential causes of bad breath, it’s important to start with a visit to your dog’s veterinarian to rule out any possible medical cause.

The health of your dog’s teeth, internal organs, and the quality of the diet are all important issues to discuss with your dog’s veterinarian.

Bad Breath: What it Says About Your Dog's Diet

Rule out a Medical Cause

If your dog’s veterinarian determines your dog’s health is good, you can start looking at ways to improve your dog’s bad breath through diet.

If the commercial brands you feed your dog are good quality, you’ll quickly recognize them by reading the list of ingredients.

The ingredients should consist of whole foods, contain no grains, and should start with meat or protein sources that are not the byproducts of other food manufacturers.

Check the Teeth

Your dog’s teeth can be a source of bad breath especially if tartar tends to quickly accumulate.

If your dog’s veterinarian has determined your dog’s teeth are generally healthy, the source of bad breath may simply be dirty teeth and the buildup of tartar.

Brushing your dog’s teeth can make a big difference in keeping a clean mouth, but good dietary choices are also important to consider.

Raw bones, if approved by your dog’s veterinarian, and harder foods will give your dog chewing opportunities and not allow particles of food to sit on the teeth for too long and cause tartar.

Food Allergies

Many dogs have food allergies and this can also be a cause of bad breath.

If your veterinarian has identified other signs of possible allergies – itchy skin and feet, greasy fur, or dirty ears – taking a close look at your dog’s diet is important.

Dogs are often allergic to grains and meat proteins, and every dog may have different types of food allergies.

Beef, lamb, and chicken are often found as the main ingredients in commercial dog foods and are great sources of protein, but many dogs are commonly allergic to them.

An elimination diet can help you determine which ingredients may be the cause of food allergies.

Bad breath in dogs has many causes, but many solutions are available as well.

Paying attention to your dog’s overall health and working closely with your dog’s veterinarian will help you determine how to improve your dog’s bad breath.

Jeanette Eberhardt

Saturday 10th of July 2021

May I use dried parsley in dog biscuits but lessen the amount since dried is more concentrated?


Saturday 10th of July 2021

That will work just fine :)


Saturday 25th of April 2020

My little dog would eat me up if I tried to brush his teeth. He doesn't like his face touched.

Aubry Tubuhan

Tuesday 24th of April 2018

My dog recently has bad breath because I haven't brushed his teeth for a while now due to a busy schedule. The smell lessened after I brushed his teeth yesterday

ellen beck

Wednesday 25th of October 2017

Old age often causes bad breath too. I know our vet wont sedate our dog anymore for cleanings he is simply too old. Like any older animal (like humans) sometimes the risk is too great. If Odin has a really bad tooth, the vet will remove it, but it has to be bad. Luckily Odin has pretty good teeth for 15 almost 16.

Sarah L

Saturday 7th of January 2017

Never thought about all the causes of bad doggie breath.

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