How to Prevent a Dog's Bad Breath

Easy
5 - 10 Minutes
1 Day

Introduction

Your dog goes bounding over to company, tail wagging, all excited--a new friend!  Your guest smiles, reaches down to pet and hug your dog when suddenly they get a whiff of his breath, and whoa! Your guest recoils in horror at the smell, and your poor pup has no idea why his new friend is suddenly retreating as fast as she can.  

Dogs may not have sweet smelling breath at the best of times, but if your dog has foul or bad breath, it could be an indicator of a health or hygiene issue that needs addressing--and it will make your dog super unpopular with people who will not want to get close to his foul-smelling breath. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent bad doggy breath. As bad breath is usually the result of poor dental hygiene, products like dog toothpaste, wipes and dental chews can alleviate bad breath, as can professional cleaning and dental care when necessary. Gastrointestinal issues can also contribute to bad breath.

If your dog’s bad breath is a problem that does not respond to regular care, take him to a veterinarian to ensure that he does not have a medical condition or dental issue that requires veterinary care. 

Dog's Perspective

Your dog may not care about his bad breath, but chances are you--and everyone else--does! Bad breath can result in a lot less affection and attention for your dog. Regular dental care is important to prevent not only bad breath and the unpleasant smell that makes everyone keep their distance, but regular dental care will keep his mouth healthy, resulting in stronger teeth and fewer uncomfortable dental issues in the long run. Dogs quickly get used to having their teeth cared for and usually adapt pretty well. Some bad breath solutions, such as the use of chew toys and dental chews which taste good, will be readily embraced by your canine chum.

The Brush Teeth Method

Effective
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Step
1
Use the right toothpaste
Use a plaque enzyme toothpaste recommended by a veterinarian. Start brushing your dog’s teeth from a young age, as a puppy if possible, to get him used to teeth brushing, although an older dog can become accustomed to the process as well. Pet toothpaste is often flavored like meat or other favorite tastes. Do not use human toothpaste, which is not safe for your dog to swallow.
Step
2
Expose teeth
Lift your dog’s lip up and away to expose gums and teeth.
Step
3
Apply
Apply toothpaste or gel to the outside of teeth, and massage into the base of teeth and gums of your dog with a soft toothbrush, a cotton swab, or a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger.
Step
4
Reach all teeth and gums
Work your way around your dog's mouth, reaching all tooth and gum surfaces as well as you can.
Step
5
Leave on or rinse off
Most dog toothpastes are the leave-on type. The enzyme toothpaste attacks soft plaque to prevent it from hardening. You can also wet toothbrush or cloth and wipe or brush to rinse off the teeth. You may need to obtain professional cleaning to remove hardened tartar on a regular basis in addition to home cleanings.
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The Brushing Alternatives Method

Effective
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Step
1
Use wipes
For dogs that do not tolerate teeth brushing, or when time is limited, use dental wipes specially designed for dogs. Wipes are handy and can be used to wipe down teeth and gums before or after meals. Dental wipes may contain baking soda to provide abrasion to remove soft tartar or pomegranate or other extracts to make teeth slippery so food and plaque do not cling to the surface of teeth.
Step
2
Use dental chews
Give your dog dental chews. These flavored chews often have edges that provide abrasion and get between teeth and rub against gums while your dog chews on them.
Step
3
Use hard surfaces
Give bones, hard kibble and/or chew toys. The act of chewing on hard kibble, bones and chew toys loosens dental debris, tartar and plaque to prevent it from building up on teeth.
Step
4
Use breath freshners
Use doggy breath freshener. There are commercially available sprays and dogs mouth washes available. Check with your veterinarian or local pet supply store for appropriate products.
Step
5
Food and water
Good nutrition and adequate hydration are essential for your dog's overall health, including his breath!
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Caution & Considerations

  • Do not use human toothpastes, which can have ingredients that are harmful to your dog if swallowed.

  • Regular dental care by a veterinarian to address abscesses and hard tartar buildup may be required.

  • Check for health conditions if regular care and maintenance does not resolve bad dog breath. Remember, good general health, diet, and hydration are essential for preventing bad breath.

  • Make sure toothpaste, wipes, and mouthwash used are dog-appropriate.

  • Be careful when brushing your dog’s teeth not to press too hard or injure your dog’s mouth with cleaning implements.

  • If you are using gauze or cotton swabs to brush teeth, make user that your dog does not ingest materials accidentally.

Conclusion

No one likes bad breath. Your dog will be a lot more pleasant to be around if you address his dental hygiene to prevent this condition. Lots of natural dental hygiene methods such as chews and bones will be pretty popular with your pooch. Other methods, like brushing, will be well tolerated if you take time and patience to get your dog used to having his teeth cleaned regularly. Putting some sparkle into your dog’s smile will keep him healthier, and a lot less smelly.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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