We love our dogs: their loyalty, their cuddliness, playfulness, and goofiness. One of their less appealing qualities, however, is bad dog breath. They can’t help it, but as a savvy, caring dog parent, you can. See the 5 tips below to help your dog’s breath turn from something awful to a more tolerable smell!
1. Have Your Veterinarian Do a Teeth Exam
Dogs’ teeth should be examined once to twice a year, so be sure to bring this up in their annual visit. Your vet is an excellent resource to help determine why your dog’s breath may smell more than usual and how you can improve it.
Your vet may suggest a professional teeth cleaning if your dog has excessive plaque buildup or irritated gums. While more expensive than other options, a professional cleaning is the best way to maintain your dog’s oral hygiene. This option will be more effective than options you can try at home, but aren’t always necessary.
2. Brush your Dog’s Teeth Once a Day
Your dog may not like getting their teeth cleaned, but it is a vital part of fighting bad breath. Dog toothpaste comes in flavors that appeal to dogs, like chicken, vanilla, and more. Plaque tends to build on dogs’ upper teeth first, so start there and work your way to the bottom teeth. Establishing a daily habit of teeth brushing when your dog is young can increase your dog’s tolerance to it over time.
3. Provide your Dog with Safe Chew Toys
Chew Toys are not only an excellent way to entertain your dog, they can help prevent bad breath! As your dog chews and bites their toy, they rub off tar and plaque and massage gums.
Look for toys with various textures like nubs or bristles to help reach different parts of the teeth. Crocheted cotton toys also provide natural flossing action. These can prevent long-term plaque buildup and help clean teeth after eating.
4. Offer Natural Dental Dog Chews
Bully Sticks are an excellent way to clean your dogs’ mouth. The chew scrapes against your dogs’ teeth, removing plaque and buildup. Chewing on bully sticks generates saliva, which decreases dry mouth, a common cause of bad breath.
5. Give your Dog Fresh, Healthy Snacks
Carrots and green beans are just a few vegetables we can give our dogs in moderation that are healthy and can also help improve breath. Raw carrots or fresh green beans can help clean teeth as your dog chews. Not all dogs love plain vegetables, so try mixing some in with their regular food. If you wish to give your dog canned vegetables, make sure to only use kinds with NO added salt.
Fresh herbs such as parsley, sage, and mint can be chopped up and sprinkled in your dogs’ food to fight bad breath. If the herbs aren’t sticking to the dry food, add a small amount of olive oil or yogurt.
Before giving your dog new foods, always make sure it is okay for them to eat. For a list of safe, fresh foods for dogs, see our 20 Pet Friendly People Foods for Dogs.
If your dog is still experiencing unusually bad breath, another visit to the veterinarian may be in order, as it could be the sign of a medical condition.
For more dog health tips, check out our blog!