Wouldn't it be nice to snuggle your pup without having to smell his stinky breath? Learning how to make a dog's breath smell better is easy, and there are a lot of products on the market to help you. I have five tips to help owners keep up with their dog's dental health and get Fido's breath smelling better.
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is typically caused when odor-producing bacteria builds up in your dog's mouth. It can also be caused by bacteria in the gut or lungs. For this reason, if your dog's bad breath comes on suddenly or is severe at times, it's best to seek veterinary care. While it's unlikely, bad breath could be a symptom of a bigger health problem.
Think of how you keep your mouth clean and your breath smelling fresh. Learning how to make a dog's breath smell better is going to be similar to your own dental health regiment. While it's a very similar process, most pet owners don't think about this aspect of pet grooming until their dog is showing signs of dental disease (like bad breath).
Treating your dog's bad breath will depend completely on the cause of the problem. If his breath isn't severe, you can use a trial-and-error system to figure it out. As I mentioned, if it is severe or comes on suddenly, it's best to work with your vet to create a treatment plan based on the root cause.
How to Make a Dog's Breath Smell Better
Most veterinarians will recommend having your dog's teeth professionally cleaned once a year. Your vet will probably want to do the first cleaning when your dog is 6-12 months old. If your dog is already an adult and has never had a professional teeth cleaning, that's okay!
It's never too late to start taking care of your dog's teeth!
Wondering what a dental cleaning is all about? It's really not as bad as most people think. Your vet will start by examining your dog's mouth, if he'll allow it. If not, they'll do the oral exam once your dog is under anesthesia.
While your dog is sedated, your vet will take x-rays of the mouth to look for broken teeth, abscesses, infection, dead teeth and problems with the roots of the teeth. They will then clean your dog's teeth by scraping away plaque and tartar. They'll also clean under the gum line, bacteria is known to build up.
Once the procedure is over, your dog will come out of sedation quickly. He should be able to go home once he is awake. Your veterinarian may recommend that you wait an hour or so before feeding your dog.
2. Keep Up with Dental Health
Keeping up with your dog's dental health is the absolute best thing that you can do when learning how to make a dog's breath smell better. You should make a routine for brushing your dog's teeth daily. If you can't fit that in your schedule, you need to brush his teeth at least 3 times per week.
We have lots of great articles on canine dental health, and I've made a video guide to teach pet owners how to brush a dog's teeth. Check out these other resources for more information:
- 6 Steps To Effectively Brush Your Dog's Teeth
- 10 Science-based Dog Teeth Care Tips
- Dog Teeth Cleaning 101: Brushing Dog's Teeth
Keeping up with your pup's dental health will not only keep his breath smell fresh, but prevent a number of very serious health problems.
3. Provide Chews and Toys
There are a lot of different chews, bones and toys available that promote dental health. Dogs have a natural instinct to chew. Their natural chewing motion helps to scrape plaque and tartar off of the teeth.
Dental chews are designed with ridges and grooves to help scrape the teeth. They may also be made with ingredients that promote dental health and fresh breath. When you're learning how to make a dog's breath smell better, providing chews and toys is a great way to keep the plaque from building up between brushings.
4. Feed Dental Treats
Similar to chews and toys, there are a number of dental health treats for dogs available on the market. Studies have shown that these types of treats can reduce the buildup of bacteria on a dog's teeth by up to 79%!
When you're shopping for dental treats, it's important to choose products that are made without artificial ingredients or harmful chemicals. You can find some recommendations in our article 7 Foods and Chews for Dog Dental Health (Backed by Science).
5. Feed the Right Diet
Finally, finding the right diet is important when learning how to make a dog's breath smell better. If your dog is eating a poor quality diet, his gut health will be compromised. If things aren't right in the gut, your dog's breath will be effected in a negative way.
Feeding a high quality diet may not completely resolve the problem. Studies have shown that adding certain dietary supplements have a positive effect on bad breath. Adding coconut oil, parsley or probiotics may benefit gut health, which will help fight bad breath.
If you have questions or concerns about your dog's diet, your veterinarian is the best resource. You can also consult with a canine nutrition on the best diet for your dog and the best way to treat bad breath from a nutritional standpoint.