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Believe it or not – one of the most commonly searched terms on the Internet is “dog bad breath cure”. Because bad breath in dogs is such a common problem, there are literally thousands of products on the market to treat or help bad dog breath. There are dozens of commercials and infomercials promoting dog bad breath products that “cure bad dog breath.” This has led me to test many of these products over the past decade. Products include various foods, treats, chews, water supplements, pills, capsules, powders, liquids, herbal therapies, and more.
First, an important question is “how do you identify what is causing your dog’s bad breath” and “how can you cure it?” Which products really work?
First, let’s identify what can cause bad breath.
How To Identify What’s Causing Your Dog’s Bad Breath
To identify the underlying cause of your dog’s breath may require a visit to your veterinarian.
Your vet may ask you the following questions:
- How long has your dog had bad breath? Was it recent or has it been months?
- What do you feed your dog? What brand and flavor of food are you feeding? What treats are you giving? Has there been any recent change in the food?
- Does your dog have exposure to trash, dead animals, compost, the litter box, or other items that can be ingested, chewed, and that could lead to bad breath?
- Does your dog have other symptoms? Respiratory diseases or infections, lung tumors, nasal tumors, and diabetes can all cause bad breath in dogs. Is your dog sneezing? Coughing? Having trouble breathing? Exercise intolerance? Increased thirst or urination? Has there been any recent change in weight e.g. unexplained weight loss or gain?
- Is your dog vomiting or having diarrhea? Diseases involving the esophagus, stomach or intestines can cause bad breath.
Please discuss any abnormalities or concerns with your veterinarian.
Once your vet has a good history on your dog, they will likely perform a physical examination that includes listening to the heart and lungs, feeling the abdomen, and most importantly evaluating the teeth and mouth. Diseases of the teeth, mouth, and gums are the most common causes of bad dog breath. Learn more about the causes of bad breath in this article My Dog’s Breath Stinks: What Are the Causes of Bad Breath? This article is also helpful – Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Like Fish?
What Kind of Treatment Will Help Eliminate Your Dog’s Stinky Breath
The best things you can do to help your dog’s bad breath is to see your veterinarian and allow them to help you determine the underlying cause of the bad breath. Based on the cause, they can recommend a dog bad breath cure. For example, if the cause is a respiratory infection, the treatment cure may be antibiotics. If the underlying problem is diabetes, they can treat your dog with insulin. If the cause is dental disease, the best treatment cure is a dental cleaning or other procedures to fix the underlying tooth or gum problem.
The ideal way to treat and cure stinky dog breath is to prevent it before it starts. Before your dog has dental disease, brush your dog’s teeth at daily. Plaque forms daily and takes 24 to 48 hours to turn to tartar. By brushing daily, you can remove the plaque and prevent it from turning to tartar.
The ideal time to begin brushing your dog’s teeth is either after a dental cleaning or when your dog is young and teeth are new and clean. In puppies, the ideal way to start is by touching your dog’s teeth and gums and give positive reinforcement for good behavior. Puppies do get bad breath as well. Learn about What Causes Bad Breath in Puppies?
To begin your tooth brushing routine, you will need a soft toothbrush and veterinary toothpaste with a flavor appealing to your dog. Do not use human toothpaste. Pick a time that works with your schedule so this can be part of your daily routine. Do not begin by brushing all your dog’s teeth in one session. Begin slowly by offering your dog the toothpaste only and provide plenty of praise when your dog responds positively. Gradually work up to a full 30-second brushing of all the teeth over a few weeks. For more details – go to “How to Brush Your Dog Teeth”. This article includes excellent information written by a veterinary dentist. Even with daily brushing, your dog may need thorough periodic professional dental cleanings.
There are additional options that can help dog bad breath. Learn more about 11 Home Remedies for Your Dog’s Bad Breath with this link.
Here are a few home remedies that can help bad doggy breath:
- Fresh herbs such as mint, parsley or coriander
- Daily tooth brushing – you can even create your own home remedy kit
- Feed a high-quality diet
- Offer fresh clean water daily
- Cleaning the dog bowls daily
- Provide safe chew toys
- Apple cider vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Coconut oil
In addition to the list above and teeth brushing, there are hundreds of products that are advertised to “cure” bad breath. Our team has tested dozens of these products with limited success. Our best luck has been with products approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) evaluates and recommends products that meet standards of plaque and tartar retardation in dogs and cats. Products are awarded the VOHC Seal of Acceptance following review of data from trials conducted according to VOHC protocols. Products that pass are displayed with the VOHC Seal. To see a list of products, see this link, Many veterinarians use their recommendations as a basis for recommending and selling products to pet owners.
Three of my favorite products are:
- Merial OraVet Dental Hygiene Chews for Dogs. These are oral chews that when given daily help minimize the formation of plaque and tartar.
- Perio Support. This product is a power that can be sprinkled on food that also prevents tartar build up.
- Virbac CET® VeggieDent® Chews for Dogs is another oral chew that can help plaque and tartar.
How To Know If A Vet Treatment Is The Best Option
Many pet owners want to know the best option for curing your dog’s bad breath. The answer is to ask your veterinarian. Ideally, you need a partnership with your vet to determine the underlying cause of the bad breath and decide the best treatment. If your dog has a bad tooth, you won’t fix the bad odor with a fresh herb. In this case, your dog needs a professional dental cleaning and treatment for that tooth.
We hope this article gives you more information on how to cure your dog’s bad breath.