Causes and Remedies for Dog Breath

Causes and Remedies for Dog Breath

Dog licking owners faceWhile your dog’s breath might not always smell minty fresh, it also shouldn’t be so offensive that you want to get away. If your dog’s bad breath knocks your socks off, it’s probably not normal and should be addressed. So what’s causing that stinky breath and what can you do about it?


Before you can treat the bad breath, you need to understand what the root cause is. There are several potential reasons for bad breath in dogs, including:

Periodontal and dental diseases

Periodontal disease and gingivitis cause a buildup of plaque and tartar that can result in bacteria that causes foul breath. Periodontal disease is highly common in dogs, with more than 80% of dogs showing some signs of periodontal disease after the age of 3. Other oral hygiene issues, including oral masses and gingival hyperplasia, can also cause bad breath.


Some things your pup consumes might cause their breath to stink. If your dog gets into the trash, eats table scraps, or steals the cat’s food, that may contribute to smelly breath.


In puppies, bad breath can be caused by teething. In these cases, the bad breath is only temporary, and will go away when the adult teeth come in fully.

Medical Issues

While many causes of dog breath are easily preventable, foul breath can also be an indication of something more serious, such as gastrointestinal or metabolic diseases. If your dog’s bad breath is persistent or accompanied by other, more serious symptoms, it’s important that you bring them in for a visit to rule out other conditions.


Solutions will differ depending on the cause:

Tooth brushing and oral chews

If you aren’t already, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth every day. Just like humans, dogs require regular dental care to prevent gingivitis and dental diseases. Stock up on some doggy toothpaste (never use human toothpaste – it can be highly poisonous to your dog) and a toothbrush or finger brush, and get into the routine of giving your dog’s teeth a good one minute scrub.

You can also promote good dental health and hygiene by providing your dog with some delicious oral chews, designed to help clean your teeth through chewing. Ask us about our recommendation for a chew that’s right for your dog!

Veterinary dental cleaning

In addition to regular brushing, an annual professional cleaning can help keep the tartar and plaque at bay. Make an appointment with us to get your pet’s teeth cleaned.


Parsley is a healthy and natural way to help freshen up your pup’s breath. Add some to their food or make tasty parsley snacks to treat your pet and tackle their nasty breath.

Change in diet

Poor quality, canned foods, or table scraps can all cause bad breath in dogs. It’s also not good for them, so switch to something dry and healthier for your dog. Also make sure that your dog isn’t getting into the cat’s food or eating feces, and take the necessary actions to prevent this from happening in the future.

Schedule a visit to the vet

The best way to determine what’s causing the dog breath is a trip to the vet. Let us identify where the problem lies and rule out any serious conditions. We’re committed to making sure that your pup is healthy, happy, and dog breath-free!

$50 Off Your Pet’s Next Dental Cleaning Dental must be scheduled within 30 days of veterinarian recommendation.
Valid from Dec 3, 2019 - Dec 31, 2021

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    Dr. Gross

    Lead Veterinarian

    Veterinarian in Yorktown VA Dr. Gross is a 1983 graduate of Auburn University where he obtained a BS degree in zoology and a D.V.M. degree from the School of Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation, he moved into the Dare/Grafton area of York County. From 1983-1984, he was a full-time associate in a small animal practice in Newport News. From 1984-1986, he worked at a 24-hour veterinary hospital in Richmond, gaining experience in emergency as well as outpatient medical practice. From 1986-1994, he ...
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    Dr. Laura Neuhaus (Raiff)


    Dr. Laura Neuhaus is a graduate of the University of Missouri - College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, she completed an emergency and specialty medicine internship at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center in San Diego. She enjoys ophthalmology and has a special interest in avian medicine. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, and spending time outdoors. She is the proud parent of a cat and 2 parrotlets.
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    Caroline Parkhill

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    Caroline joined the GAH team in July 2018. Caroline grew up in Virginia but left home to explore the world; she has lived in Germany, Korea, Oklahoma, California, and Texas. She recently returned home to Virginia to be closer to her family. Caroline graduated from the University of Maryland and worked in the IT field for 15 years before following her passion and joining the veterinary field. She enjoys gardening and cooking in her spare time, as well as relaxing with her crew of senior dogs and ...
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    Carolyn has been with us as a groomer since 2001. Carolyn was born and raised in Upstate New York. She has a two-year certificate of completion in Computer Science from B.O.C.E.S. in Flint, NY. She also attended F.L.C.C. in Canandaigua, NY for Business Administration. Her main interests are her son, Matthew, and her daughter, Kelly. She really enjoys grooming pets, from the challenging ones to the cooperative ones…dogs and cats alike! Seeing how great they look and feel after a bath and clip is ...
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    Lucy joined the Grafton Animal Hospital reception team as the new Noisemaker bird in September 2016. After losing our long-time mascot, Croaker, earlier that year, we learned of a young Quaker parrot available for adoption at the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter and decided she might be a good fit for the clinic. Lucy quickly made herself at home and before long, she was showing the staff who was really in charge. She is generally pretty friendly, so you will often see the staff holding her. ...
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    Daisy & Duke

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    Daisy and Duke joined the GAH team in June of 2009. They were stray kittens that needed a home, and Squeaks was in need of a brother or sister. After some convincing, we were able to keep both. If you haven’t seen our kittens roaming the clinic, it’s because they are still learning their way around. For now, they are great morale boosters that keep us entertained during our staff meetings.