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You might have heard that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human's. Well, not actually. The old folk tale might have stemmed from the fact that dogs lick their wounds. While this act may remove some dirt and debris, or even stimulate the area for healing, dog’s mouths have over 600 kinds of bacteria, just like a human’s.
While dogs might have different germs than humans, they still get bacteria which can cause periodontal disease and halitosis. So that’s why your favorite pup might have some nasty, stinky dog bad breath.
But you can do something about it!
Halitosis just means “bad breath.” In humans, the bacteria P. gingivitis generally causes gingivitis (swollen gums), plaque buildup, and bad breath. In our furry loved ones, the bacteria causing halitosis is most often the same one that decays their teeth--P. gulae.
Since really, truly bad dog breath may be a sign of periodontal disease, it may be a good idea to check in with the vet. Tooth decay or periodontal disease can be very painful for your pet, so it may be worth getting your vet to check. Sometimes dog bad breath can also be a sign of another health condition, such as kidney disease. So, if you are concerned about your pet’s bad breath, it might be worth a vet check.
Dental cleanings at the vet do generally require your dog to be put to sleep, so pet owners hoping to avoid anesthesia often look for other home remedies.
Fortunately, there are lots of great home remedies to improve dog breath--maybe even prevent periodontal disease and improve your dog’s overall health!
Here are 6 simple, at-home remedies for dog breath.
Use fresh herbs like easy-to-grow mint in your dog’s water for extra freshness. Mint may also help improve digestion! Mint grows in most US climates and can also be cultivated indoors.
Even more effective than mint in the water can be dog breath mints. Human breath mints should never be given to dogs! They may contain ingredients like the common sweetener xylitol, which is healthy for human teeth but toxic to dogs. Instead, give your dog a treat specially formulated for your four-legged companion.
Yes, puppies chew just about everything, but even as your pup ages, they need the chewing action to promote saliva and good dental health! Hard chew toys, especially, can also help scrape your dog’s teeth to prevent plaque build-up. It may be gross to think about dog spit, but all that salivating can help improve your dog’s breath! Just be sure to avoid toys that can harm your dog’s teeth.
A dog with persistently bad breath may also be eating food that isn’t good for her. Make sure Lady isn’t eating table scraps that might be toxic for dogs. Some human foods are fine for pets, but human food can also lead to doggy obesity, tooth decay, or even death. The AKC has a great list of human foods dogs can and cannot eat here.
Another way to boost Buddy’s digestive health (while combating his halitosis) is with a doggy probiotic. Just like humans, a big part of a healthy digestive system and healthy immune system comes from gut health. So, probiotics have the added benefits of making your dog’s fur coat glossier, digestion more regular, and overall health better.
If you start your pup off young with tooth brushing, they tend to be more willing to let you scrub those molars as they age. For small pups, a dog toothbrush that slips over the finger works well. Dog toothbrushes for bigger dogs work just like a human toothbrush, and a little persistence with one can pay off! Just be sure to only use dog toothpaste. Just like with human mints, human toothpaste can be toxic for dogs.
For a dog breath mint that also works as a reward, check out our Bad Dog fresh breath biscuits. Made with dog-favorite ingredients including chicken, these minty treats also contain several breath-freshening herbs like rosemary, parsley, and mint. With a little CBD (and zero THC), these treats also help restore doggy homeostasis--a treat for your whole pet!