A dog getting his teeth checked out at the vet.
A dog getting his teeth checked out at the vet. Photography © vadimguzhva | Thinkstock.

Bad Dog Breath — 8 Home Remedies

Bad dog breath isn't normal — it's a sign of an unhealthy mouth. Try these home remedies for bad dog breath to turn those puppy kisses from smelly to sweet.

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I share my life with a pack of super-affectionate dogs who love bestowing kisses — and, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings by refusing a sloppy smooch, I’m motivated to keep their mouths healthy and halitosis-free. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few home remedies for bad dog breath that really work.

What are the signs of a dog tooth infection?
There are simple home remedies for that bad dog breath! Photography ©alexei_tm | Thinkstock.

1. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly.

Bad dog breath isn’t normal. In fact, bad dog breath is actually a sign of an unhealthy mouth. Left untreated, sick teeth and gums quickly lead to life-threatening health problems. So please, brush your dog’s teeth regularly— at least once a week.

If you have a dog with a small, pushed-in face or a brachycephalic dog, such as a Shih Tzu, you really need to be brushing those teeth every single day, because the conformation of their little mouths leaves them extra-vulnerable to decay. Ply your pets with treats to help them associate tooth torture with tasty treats, and use toothpaste made just for dogs. Pick a paste with a flavor you actually like — vanilla-flavored Triple-Pet toothpaste with tea tree oil is a great choice ($6.23, Chewy).

2. Dental chews help keep bad dog breath at bay — just know which ones to choose.

Dispensing a delicious dental chew lets your dog help you do some of the work to stave off bad dog breath. Not all dog dental chews are created equal, however: Look for one that contains breath-freshening chlorophyll, cinnamon and clove. (Don’t freak out when you notice your dog’s poop is a bit on the greenish side — that’s just the chlorophyll doing its green thing.)

3. Speaking of chlorophyll, wheatgrass is another good home remedy

I clip off some of the fresh wheatgrass I give my cats and add it to the dogs’ food. That raw source of chlorophyll is an excellent remedy for bad dog breath.

A closeup of a dog drinking water.
Your dog’s bad breath can also be solved with what you put in his water, too. Photography ©Chalabala | Thinkstock.

4. Dogs can also drink bad dog breath away.

Chewing isn’t the only way pets can polish up their own teeth. Dogs can also drink their way to fresh-smelling breath with Healthy Mouth Dental Water, an all-natural cocktail made of enzymes, chlorophyll and other ingredients designed to blast away bad dog breath. Simply replace your pup’s regular drinking water with Healthy Mouth-spiked wet stuff, and you’ll notice a difference within days, as the active ingredients work to kill bad bacteria in the mouth.

Yikes! Dealing with bad breath yourself? Check out these bad breath remedies >>

5. Probiotics are another line of defense against bad dog breath.

Speaking of bad bacteria, you’ll want to be sure that your dog’s mouth is populated with beneficial bacteria that way outnumber the harmful, halitosis-causing kind. That’s where probiotics come in. Use a probiotic made especially for dogs, and you’ll notice a big difference — not just in keeping that bad dog breath at bay, but in your dog’s overall well-being.

(Helpful hint: Probiotics are also great for keeping human breath smelling sweet — take them every single day and you’ll swiftly see results. Oragenics, maker of EvoraPet, is a great brand for both pets and people.)

6. Coconut oil can help with bad dog breath.

Ah, coconut oil. It doesn’t just boost digestive, immune system and metabolic functions — it also helps to combat bad dog breath. Put a lovin’ teaspoonful over your dog’s food every single day, and you’ll soon sniff sweeter breath— plus dogs love the taste; for them, coconut oil is a sweet treat. Some dog lovers even brush their pets’ teeth with coconut oil, making the chore an offer even ornery canines can’t refuse!

7. Neem is another good home remedy for bad dog breath.

Like coconut oil, neem (an extract of the neem tree) is one of those brilliant botanicals that have many positive effects on dog (and human) health. Besides being great for the skin and coat, neem is also excellent for promoting oral health in hounds and humans. My dogs take Supercritical Neem Leaf Extract by Organix-South; I add one little black capsule to their food twice weekly and take one every day myself.

8. Cinnamon is another common household item that will freshen up dog breath.

I add a sprinkle of breath-sweetening cinnamon to my dogs’ meals at every feeding.

Thumbnail: Photography © vadimguzhva | Thinkstock. 

This piece was originally published in 2015.

Read Next: When Do Dogs Stop Teething? What to Know About Puppy Teething and Dog Teeth


57 thoughts on “Bad Dog Breath — 8 Home Remedies”

  1. Pingback: Bad Dog Breath — 8 Home Remedies – SkyLinePets

  2. This is one of the more frequent problems we see with some of our client’s doggos, smelly breath. Owners think its normal and only try to fix it with dental chews instead of making an effort to FIX the situation rather than put a band aid on it. Keep up the good work with the articles!! will have to look more into this NEEM extract remedy you mentioned

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  5. In my opinion this the most commonly overlooked problem. There are a fair amount of dogs that are overweight but gum disease is everywhere. Pet owners understand that their dog needs washing and grooming but completely forget about their teeth. As humans we generally brush our teeth twice a day, why do you wait weeks for a groomer or annually for the vet. I understand that your dog will feel uncomfortable doing it, it’s uncommon for them. Wear them out at a park and then brush their teeth after with positive reinforcement. Make it a common occurrence and it will become normal to them. Thanks for the article Julia, I will be sure to try out the dog dental wash.

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  19. The main cause of a dog having bad breath is constipation not moving there bowels enough which backs up and is the actual cause of bad breath . Same with people .
    Also, food between the teeth that isn’t dental flossed is another cause which isn’t a problem with dogs because their teeth are spaced apart .

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  21. Mint and parsley are also good ways to reduce bacteria, I add it right into my dog’s raw food. Feeding a raw diet is substantially better for dental health than the kibble diet that I used to feed. The enzymes in raw meat help naturally reduce bacteria and don’t leave behind residue like kibble and canned foods do. I still brush his teeth regularly though, nothing will ever replace that.

    1. Same here with the tea tree oil. Don’t give your dogs anything containing tea tree oil, to them it’s a neurotoxin.

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  23. In the Apple Cider Vinegar if I have a 2.5 gallon water bottle that they empty every other day how much should I put in. I have A 3yro Boxer 6yro Cow Dog and a 18yro Shih Tzu. The Shih Tzu has the worse breath, I think because of her bad habits (she cleans up her on potty messes in house* tee-tee* and out and has done so since a pup) the Vet said let her IDK why. So what do you recommend. I’ve tried the other water supplements without luck. I was about to go to raw beef bones because I heard a breeder tell my Aunt that about her Pom. Please help Desperately wanting to be able to not turn my babies away when they want loving kisses

    1. Hi Joyce,

      You may want to ask your vet for specific advice. This article might help provide some insight, too:

    2. Feed them all pineapple-apparently it makes the stool taste awful to them. We’ve done it when we had a problem and it seemed to work. We recently moved to the country and got horses, unfortunately horses poop dog candy because we can not get them to stop eating it!

    3. Is the Apple cider vinegar working. My dog definitely has bad teeth and I believe it’s coming from his gums as well. His breath is the worst ever and he is a kisser. But now it’s getting to the point it’s getting worse and worse. Please tell me what you know. I really want to help him because I love him so much! Just looking for a way to make this better. I would appreciate it if you can contact me.Thank you so much

  24. Can the type of dog food cause excessive plaque which leads to bad teeth and smelly breath ?? Are there dog foods that stop this ??

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Yes, there are therapeutic diets (oral care) made especially for dogs with teeth/tartar issues. You can get them through your veterinarian. They reduce plaque, tarter and freshen breath.

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  27. I have bad mouth smell since few yearr on and off ..butpresently it is there sinsce 10 days…if i keep calm observing my breath it will reduce …pl do help me in knowing the cause for this bad smell…

    1. constipation is the cause and not dental flossing between the teeth once a month . Drink more water to eliminate the constipation .

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  29. plain yogurt.. no sugar…. just a tiny bit after meals.. keeps breath fresh in dogs.. added benifit – good for healthy mouth bacteria and intestional bacteria

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    1. Have you tried any of the home remedies for your dog??? Like the cinnamon one??or have you tried the coconut oil?if so how ddid they work and how long it take?? If possible can you share with me if you’ve done any of them and you had success.
      …… .. Thank You Very Much.
      Nm Mary OConnor

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