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What’s the Deal with Dog Breath?

Pee-ew! What is that smell? If the answer is your dog’s breath, it’s time to do something about it. Every bark and pant from your puppy might not smell like roses, but if it’s making you cringe away, then it’s time to buckle down and take care of your pup’s mouth.

When is bad breath too bad?

Dog with a ball in his mouth.
All kinds of things go in your dog’s mouth.

It’s a common misconception that dogs have innately bad breath. In reality, when dogs are puppies and their diet consists entirely of their mom’s milk, their breath smells almost identical to human babies who are breast feeding. The smell of your dog’s breath is almost entirely about what they eat. So if you find yourself wrinkling your nose as your furry friend comes in for a lick, it’s time to do something about it.

What is my dog eating?

If you’re noticing bad breath, chances are your puppy is eating more than just their food. Remember, young dogs in particular will go to chew on just about anything, including their own poop. When you are walking your pup, take care to redirect them if they go to eat something off the ground. And when you’re at home, make sure you aren’t leaving food out that your dog could find.

What else might be going on?

If you are certain your dog’s breath is not from what they are eating, there are a few more possibilities. The most common of which is teething. When a pup is teething, which typically lasts about four weeks as their adult doggy teeth come in, their breath will naturally smell fishy or even rotten. At this stage, your best bet is to just stay a bit away from your pup’s mouth: not only is it smelly, but those new teeth are sharp!

The other possibility is that your pup’s dental hygiene is less than spotless. Dogs need teeth cleanings just like their owners do. If it’s been a while since your dog has been to the dentist, a sour smelling mouth might be your cue to bring them in for a cleaning. Remember, if dental hygiene is the cause of your pup’s “doggy breath” then it is important to get it dealt with right away. Dental diseases in dogs can develop into more serious health issues and cause your pet pain and long-lasting harm.