solutions for bad breath in dogs

You may assume bad breath just comes with the territory of having a dog, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Does your dog have bad breath? While proper dental care can certainly minimize smelly breath, by preventing periodontal disease and keeping your dog’s teeth and gums healthy and strong, it doesn’t mean his breath isn’t going to be unpleasant at times. Luckily, there are some simple and natural ways to help keep your dog’s breath smelling better!

Before we get started, be sure to take your dog to the vet for a checkup if you find his breath is consistently stinky even with optimal dental care (including routine cleanings, a high quality diet, and raw bones to chew on). Smelly breath could signal a health problem elsewhere. If your dog’s breath smells bad after he burps, for example, it could mean he has a digestive issue that needs to be checked out.

Once other health problems have been ruled out, try the solutions in this article.

5 foods to freshen breath

  1. Coconut oil is naturally anti-fungal. One teaspoon, mixed with your dog’s food, will help his digestion and immune system, and is good for his skin, bones and brain. Coconut oil can also be used in lieu of doggy toothpaste.
  2. Raw carrots are another option that dogs love. Chewing a carrot lets saliva wash away any food particles and acts as a cleanser to remove plaque and help his breath stay fresh.
  3. Brown rice added to your dog’s food helps improve his digestion. The added fiber and antioxidants are good for overall health, and can be a big help with those bad breath burps. Again, digestion plays a big role in whether or not his breath is sweet-smelling or gives you a knock-out punch.
  4. Parsley isn’t just for a garnish. Add a few sprigs to your dog’s food for a natural breath freshener.
  5. Yogurt has high levels of calcium, which are a boon to oral health; it also reduces hydrogen sulfide, which is a cause of bad breath. Be sure to use plain yogurt, without added sugar or sweeteners.

If a kiss from your dog is what wakes you up in the morning, these simple suggestions can make it a pleasant experience. They’ll also boost his overall health. He may not understand why, but he’ll know a snuggle feels better than a loud “yuck!” when he licks your face.

Natural breath-freshening products

Also look for effective and natural no-brush products that reduce or eliminate bad breath.

  • “Oratene makes dental care easy because it’s brushless,” says Deirdre Putman, Marketing Manager for Pet King Products. “It’s available in a toothpaste gel, a water additive, or a breath-freshening spray, and is veterinarian-recommended for helping you maintain your dog’s health and fresh breath.”
  • PetzLife offers sprays and gels in peppermint or salmon flavor. Their dental chews are free of wheat, corn and soy, with no artificial flavors or colors.
  • Available in a spray or as a water additive, Bluestem Oral Care works to break through dental biofilm to expose bacteria hidden from brushing.
  • For dogs who love treats, Zuke’s Enhance Fresh Breath Functional Chews are made from ingredients like cinnamon, dill, fennel, myrrh, parsley and sage in either a chicken or peanut butter formula.


Sandra Murphy lives in St Louis, Missouri. When she's not writing, she works as a pet sitter.