Happy dog licking woman’s face

9 Easy Home Remedies For Bad Dog Breath

You love your furry friend and adore their snuggles, but sometimes, their bad breath can make a cactus wilt. If you find yourself backing away from your dog’s bad breath, these home remedies can help freshen things up.

But first, let’s look at why your dog’s breath might be bad in the first place.

What Causes Bad Dog Breath?

Dog’s teeth and gums 

Halitosis, or bad breath, is a common concern among dog owners. While not ideal, this sign isn’t always cause for alarm. Several factors can contribute to bad breath, including:

If you’re worried about what’s causing your dog’s bad breath, a trip to the vet can help rule out any serious problems.

9 Home Remedies For Bad Dog Breath

If poor oral hygiene or eating habits are causing your dog’s bad breath, there may be a solution you can try at home. Adding simple remedies to your pup’s daily routine can help you manage this problem.

1) Give Your Dog Dental Treats And Chews

Dental treats and dental chews are designed to help fight tartar and plaque. Giving your canine friend these kinds of treats can help keep their teeth in tip-top shape and may even help prevent oral issues later on in life.

Your dog will love the natural ingredients in GREENIES™ Dental Treats. Their chewy texture helps keep your dog’s mouth clean to the gumline. The Veterinary Oral Health Council accepts these tasty treats for at-home dental care.

Giving your dog one GREENIES™ Dental Treat daily, along with their regular diet and plenty of clean drinking water, can help keep their breath fresh.

2) Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Dog licking a toothbrush

Brushing your dog’s teeth can make a big difference in their oral health. If you’ve never done it, today is a great day to start.

Pick up an appropriate-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. You can purchase a special toothbrush meant for dogs or use a clean human one.

However, you can’t use your toothpaste for your four-legged friend. Ingredients in regular toothpaste can harm canines, so head to a pet store or veterinarian's office and buy some specially formulated dog toothpaste instead.

Unlike your mint toothpaste, your dog’s will come in flavors like beef and poultry, which they’ll love. Be sure to keep the tube out of reach — they may try to eat it all at once!

Using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, gently brush your dog’s teeth with small, circular motions for about two minutes. As you brush, pay special attention to their back molars and gum line. This will help remove plaque and bacteria buildup.

Your dog might initially resist the toothbrush, but most dogs get used to it after plenty of practice and praise.

3) Check Your Dog’s Mouth

If your dog frequently chews on non-edibles, a tiny piece of one could have gotten lodged in their gums or between two teeth. Check their mouth for stuck foreign objects, discoloration, extra saliva, or pus-filled sores.

Hopefully, everything looks good in there. But if you notice something, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. It could be an abscessed tooth, an infection, or another dental issue that needs attention.

4) Evaluate Your Dog’s Diet

Small dog eating out of a pet food dish

Sometimes, your dog’s bad breath is a sign of gastrointestinal problems. If the problem persists, it’s worth evaluating their diet. Look at the ingredients in their current food and see if anything raises a red flag as a potential allergen.

Consider switching to high-quality food with fewer additives and more natural ingredients. Pay attention to the protein content, as too much or too little can affect your dog’s breath.

And, of course, you’ll want to run it by your veterinarian whenever you consider a diet change. They can advise you on how to make the transition without causing more harm to your dog’s digestive system.

5) Try Coconut Oil

Studies have confirmed that virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil has many benefits for dogs, including the ability to help combat bad breath. It’s also thought to:

  • Aid in digestion
  • Boost the metabolism
  • Improve mental abilities in older dogs
  • Improve your dog’s coat

However, it’s important to note that giving your dog coconut oil adds extra calories to their diet. This can lead to obesity in small animals, so be sure to take that into consideration when trying coconut oil, possibly even avoiding this remedy altogether if your dog is on the smaller side.

Additionally, if you give your dog too much coconut oil, it can also cause diarrhea and greasy stools. It’s best to start with a small amount and gradually increase as your dog adjusts.

As you increase the amount given, always watch for signs of gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or slimy poop. If you notice any of these, lower the dosage or stop giving it until you speak to your veterinarian.

6) Feed Your Pup Carrots And Apple Slices

Dog eating a carrot as part of a bad dog breath home remedy

Carrots and apples don’t just taste great; they can also help improve your dog’s bad breath. That’s because the crunchy texture helps remove plaque from their teeth as they chew.

Simply core and cut up an apple or a few carrots, and give them to your dog as an occasional treat. They should love the taste, and you’ll love knowing they’re getting additional dental benefits.

7) Increase Good Bacteria

How do you fight harmful bacteria? By adding some good bacteria to the mix through probiotics, which help increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract.

One way to help your dog get the probiotics they need is by giving them supplements. Dogs of all ages can benefit from supplement powder with billions of live and active probiotics to support their intestinal microbiome.

GREENIES™ Digestive Probiotic Supplement Powder for Dogs is a powder topper with probiotics specifically formulated to help maintain a natural balance within your dog’s digestive system. It’s made with high-quality ingredients and is formulated without artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors.

8) Let Your Pup Play

Did you know your dog’s play time can actually help keep their teeth clean? While not as effective as brushing, chewing on dog toys can remove soft plaque before it has a chance to harden into calculus, which is more difficult to treat.

Ropes, squeaky bones, and most other dog toys will work. You can even purchase specialty dental chew toys with ridges and knobs designed for the purpose of cleaning your furry friend’s teeth.

Note: When shopping for dog toys, avoid items hard enough to fracture your pet’s teeth. If it leaves an indentation when you push on it with your thumb, it’s probably too hard.

9) Puppy-Proof Your Home

What does your dog like to munch on? If they’re frequently eating poop or other gross stuff, of course, their breath is going to stink.

In this case, puppy-proofing your home is the best course of action. Keep trash cans out of reach, pick up after your other animals, and use a taste deterrent to stop them from eating objects they shouldn’t.

If your dog is particularly nosy, you may need to take extra precautions. Investing in some baby gates or keeping them contained in their kennel when you can’t supervise them is a good idea.

What To Do When Bad Dog Breath Home Remedies Don’t Work

Dog getting a dental checkup at the vet

While the above home remedies can often help improve your dog’s bad breath, there may be times when the smell just won’t go away no matter how many dental treats and chew toys you try.

If that’s the case, it’s time to call your vet to schedule an exam and a professional cleaning. They can evaluate your dog and help you get to the bottom of what’s causing the smell.

Say Goodbye To Your Dog’s Bad Breath With GREENIES™

Dog with a GREENIES treat on his nose

Home remedies can improve your dog’s bad breath and help you develop a sustainable oral hygiene routine for your pet.

As part of that routine, try GREENIES™ Dental Treats. Thanks to their unique texture, these dental chews clean down to the gumline to help fight plaque and tartar and freshen your dog’s breath.

Give the remedies we’ve mentioned here a try, and when your dog showers you with sweet, fresh-smelling puppy kisses, you’ll know your efforts have paid off!

American Kennel Club
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Oral Health Council