What’s better than coming home after a long day and being greeted with loads of kisses from your dog? Getting hugs, cuddles, and kisses from your dog is one of the many perks of being a dog parent. Your dog giving you love and affection should fill you with tremendous amounts of joy and love. However, this bliss can quickly be ruined by bad dog breath. 

Bad dog breath, also known as halitosis, is bad enough for the dog but it can also affect the quality of time you spend with your dog. it is a common problem for many dog owners affecting over 80% of dogs over the age of 3. .Just like you wouldn't enjoy the company of a person with bad breath, you wouldn't be able to fully enjoy your dog’s company if it had a stinky breath. 

If you notice a bad odor from your dog’s mouth, it is most likely a result of poor oral hygiene. In this case, there are several solutions you can implement at home. However, if bad dog breath does not improve after a while. Seek the help of a trained professional. 

What Causes Halitosis in Dogs

  • Poor oral hygiene. Similar to a human being, a dog’s teeth need to be brushed and cleaned regularly to maintain its health. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth daily or even twice a day if you can. Avoid using human toothpaste as it may contain the ingredient xylitol, a toxic substance to dogs. 

  • Tartar build-up. If you go a while without brushing your dog’s teeth or if you are not doing it thoroughly, the bacteria in the mouth deposit plaque also known as called tartar. 

  • Fungal infection. If your dog’s mouth gets infected with a fungus and it is allowed to multiply, it can cause a bad odor to develop in the mouth. A common fungus that causes bad breath in dogs is one called Candida Albicans.

  • Oral neoplasm. A neoplasm is an abnormal growth in a body tissue. Neoplasms in dogs are usually not cancerous but can still cause health problems.

  • Periodontal disease. If tartar is not cleared off your dog’s teeth, it results in periodontal disease. In periodontal disease, the tartar build-up is so severe that it causes inflammation of the gums or gingivitis

  • Diet. Dogs fed on low-quality food have a higher risk of developing bad breath. Dogs that eat non-food substances like feces and garbage are also very likely to develop bad breath.

  • Other diseases. Sometimes, bad breath in dogs is caused by diseases completely unrelated to oral health. 

Health Conditions that May be Causing Your Dog’s Bad Breath 

Probiotics For Dogs Bad Breath

When you discover that your dog has bad breath, your mind will immediately drift to oral health and hygiene. You will start to do whatever it takes to improve your dog’s dental health. After a week or two, you will notice your dog’s breath improve but what does it mean if it doesn't? 

If you notice no change in your dog’s breath after improving oral hygiene, it is very likely that your dog has another illness. Some of the illnesses that may be causing your dog’s bad breath include:

  • Diabetes. Bad breath is especially common in Type 1 but it can also occur in Type 2 Diabetes.

  • Chronic Kidney Disease. 

  • Upper Respiratory Infections.

  • Tonsillitis. When a dog’s tonsils get inflamed, they may result in a bad odor in the mouth. The bad odor may also be a result of tonsil stones which are pieces of calcified bacteria and oral debris. 

Visit your vet if you do not see any improvement in your dog’s breath since most of these conditions are life-threatening. 

How the Digestive Health Impacts Your Dog’s Breath

The health of the digestive system impacts every single system of the body. If your dog’s gut is not in proper health, all the other body systems will suffer the consequences. The gut is responsible for breaking down and absorbing nutrients from food. Since all body systems need nutrients to stay healthy, the gut directly affects each of them. 

For oral health, let's take an example of the nutrient calcium. Calcium is a vital nutrient for the development and maintenance of teeth and bones. If a dog’s gut does not efficiently absorb calcium, she is going to grow up with weak teeth. Teeth also need other nutrients like vitamin C for a healthy gum line. If the vitamin is not well absorbed in the stomach, it will result in weak gums. 

Diseases that affect your dog’s digestive tract can give her bad breath. Vomiting and acid reflux can both cause bad breath in dogs. If a dog’s mouth is not well – not cleaned after vomiting, the vomit left in her mouth will cause a bad breath. Inflammatory diseases like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can also induce bad breath.

Similarly, dog diarrhea may cause bad breath. Dogs love to stay clean. If feces remain around their backsides, they tend to lick them off. If your dog has a habit of licking herself, ensure to clean her teeth with extra precaution. Carefully inspect the areas in and around the mouth to make sure they are clean of feces. 

We cannot talk about the importance of the gut to dog breath without talking about the gut microbiome. To be clear, good bacteria are found all over the body, both inside and outside. However, about 90% of the microbiome is found in the gut. For this reason, a balanced gut microbiome plays a large part in maintaining good dog health. 

Canine Oral Yeast Infection and Bad Breath

Canine Oral Yeast Infection and Bad Breath

Bacteria is not the only microorganism that wants to set up shop in your dog’s mouth. Yeast and fungi are also capable of attacking your dog’s mouth, multiplying and causing some serious damage. Yeast can cause bad breath in your dog by releasing substances in your dog’s mouth that have unpleasant smells. 

Common Causes of Yeast Infections in Dogs

  • Wounds in the mouth 

  • Diabetes 

  • Poor oral hygiene

Signs and Symptoms of Yeast Infections in Dogs

  • Drooling 

  • Loss of appetite

  • Sores in the mouth

  • Respiratory difficulties as the infection spreads

How to Treat Halitosis in Dogs 

Bad dog breath is not a pleasant condition to deal with. However, if you deal with it in its early stages, it should be a walkover. Even better, most of the solutions require things you already have at home. With most of them being natural remedies, you do not have to worry about side effects. 

  • Brush your dog’s teeth twice a day with a canine toothbrush. If your dog does not like a traditional toothbrush, you can craft a DIY toothbrush and see if she likes it better. You can easily make a DIY toothbrush for your dog by wrapping a clean gauze around your finger and running it across your dog’s teeth. Always use dog toothpaste for this. 

  • Parsley. Yes, that parsley. The one you use to garnish your food. Parsley is not only a good source of many nutrients and antioxidants, it can be the solution to your dog’s bad breath. Ensure not to use spring parsley as it is toxic to dogs. 

  • Carrots. Chewing on a carrot can help your dog’s breath by cleaning her teeth. When a dog chews on a sturdy carrot, it scrapes the plaque off the teeth helping to clean them. Another sturdy fruit that does this wonderfully is an apple. 

  • Coconut oil. You are probably aware that coconut oil has antimicrobial properties comparable to those of toothpaste. You can add coconut oil to your dog’s foods or use it while brushing your dog’s teeth. If you are adding coconut oil to your dog’s food, add a little at a time to prevent digestive issues. 

  • Apple cider vinegar. The acid in vinegar can improve your dog’s breath by killing the bacteria in the mouth. A single teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in your dog’s drinking water can improve your dog’s breath tremendously. 

  • Probiotics. When you increase the number of good bacteria in your dog’s body, they help to get rid of the bad bacteria. After the bad bacteria reduce in numbers, it helps improve your dog’s dental health. 

  • Yogurt. Since yogurt is a good source of probiotics specifically lactobacillus acidophilus, it can help improve your dog’s breath. 

  • Mint. Do you even need any convincing that mint can improve your dog’s breath? Add a few mint leaves to your dog’s water and watch how her breath will improve in no time.

  • Lemon. Just like apple cider vinegar, the high acid concentration in lemons can kill bacteria in the mouth. Lemon juice also acts as a natural deodorizer. 

If you promptly implement these remedies and observe no improvement, see a vet immediately. 

How Probiotics Helps Treat Gut-Related Bad Breath in Dogs 

Bacterial infection is one of the leading causes of bad breath in dogs. If a dog’s bad breath is caused by bacterial infestation, the best solution to it is to eliminate that bacteria. While you cannot completely get rid of the bacteria in and on the body, you can reduce the numbers and control some of their negative effects. 

One of the most efficient ways to reduce the number of bad bacteria is to introduce probiotics otherwise known as good bacteria. Bacteria, whether bad or good rely on the same resources such as nutrients.

By introducing new bacteria to the body, you provide competition to the bad bacteria. When the bad bacteria are strained for resources, they will begin to reduce in numbers. 

Even though good bacteria mostly reside in the lower digestive tract, they can have a large impact on a dog’s breath. Believe it or not, sometimes the odor in a dog’s breath may be originating from much lower in the intestines. 

Probiotics also produce substances that are harmful and lethal to bad bacteria.

In gut-related bad breath, probiotics mainly work by reducing the hold bad bacteria have on the digestive tract. As the bad bacteria loses control of the gut, a normal balance in function is restored and your dog’s breath will get back to normal in no time. 

Types of Probiotics For Bad Dog Breath

To improve your dog’s breath, there are different kinds of probiotics you can choose from. You can either choose to give your dog food that contains probiotics or probiotic supplements. 

Probiotic foods include yogurt, goat milk, and fermented vegetables, bananas, apples, and green beans. 

However, in a condition such as bad breath, it is advisable to give your dog a probiotic supplement to ensure she is getting adequate numbers of probiotics. Probiotic supplements also tend to have a variety of species and strains of bacteria that can give your dog many health benefits. You can give a combination of probiotic foods and probiotic supplements to further increase the chances of colonization.

There are certain strains of probiotics that serve specific purposes. If your vet recommends a specific type of probiotic for your dog's breath, follow his/her advice and use it. Otherwise, giving your dog a variety of probiotics should be adequate to restore your dog’s microbiome balance and resolve the bad breath. 

When choosing probiotics for dogs, be sure to opt for one that is specially made for dogs. 

Our Final Thoughts

Pomeranian, stands near a yellow bowl of yogurt and eats from it.

You do not have to worry so much about your dog’s bad breath. The problem is very solvable. Quite easily solvable if you ask me. With a single teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, you can see a great improvement in your dog’s breath.

Do not forget probiotics when trying to resolve your dog’s bad breath. Not only are they easy to administer but they are also very efficient for improving your dog’s breath. Your dog will also enjoy other health benefits from taking probiotics like improved digestion. 

Bad breath in dogs is not normal and should not be ignored as it may be an indicator of a serious underlying illness. If you thoroughly clean your dog’s teeth and the bad breath persists, visit your vet to examine your dog for more serious health problems.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Will probiotics help my dog's bad breath?

Yes, giving your dog probiotics can help your dog’s bad breath. Probiotics restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the body which is key to improving your dog’s breath. 

Which probiotics help with bad breath?

Both probiotic foods and supplements can be of great use when dealing with bad breath in a dog. 

How do I get rid of my dog's smelly breath?

The first step to resolving bad breath in a dog is to improve oral hygiene. Then you can follow that with other steps like giving probiotics, improving diet, and so on.