Puppy Teething Bad Breath: Causes & Remedies

Puppies will usually have reasonably good smell breath. After all, they are young enough to mean they don’t have tooth decay or other dental hygiene issues. However, puppies can get bad breath when teething, and it can very stinky.

But what exactly causes puppy teething bad breath?

Puppies do get bad breath when teething because of small bits of food getting stuck between growing teeth and inside bleeding gums. Bacteria gets stuck on the gumline and is hard to shift. It’s the bacteria that mainly causes puppy teething bad breath.

The good news is that puppy teething bleeding bad breath only lasts as long as they are teething. The bad news is that puppies can teeth for up until they are 6 to 8 months of age.

If you cannot bear to smell your puppy’s bad breath when teething, then there are some things you can also do as a remedy when you know the symptoms. All this and more are detailed below.

Do puppies get bad breath when teething?

We’ve established that puppies can get bad breath when teething. The best remedy is to understand why because you can then help lessen or prevent it.

What’s the deal with puppies and sudden smelly breath?

Well, teething is the number one culprit. All puppies go through teething, so it’s correct to assume that every puppy develops smelly breath when they start to teeth.

A lot goes on in a puppy’s mouth during the teething phase.

You’re likely aware that puppies are born without teeth. They normally develop deciduous teeth, or “milk teeth,” at around three weeks of age.

do puppies get bad breath when teething
Puppies can get bad breath when teething due to all the chewing.

When your little furry friend is about three months old, these razor-sharp teeth will begin to fall off to make way for a new set of healthy, permanent adult teeth.

Most puppies usually have adult teeth when they turn six months old. Some must wait slightly longer, about seven to eight months, to get their full set of adult teeth.

Let’s just say that teething-triggered bad breath in your puppy will be no more when your canine friend enters adulthood. In other words, if your furry friend has unpleasant breath during adulthood, teething won’t be to blame.

A puppy going through teething has it rough. Teething is not only painful but also marks the start of smelly breath problems.

Here are some of the teething issues that lead to puppy teething bad breath.

1. Swollen gums and teeth shedding

Having to deal with inflamed gums is perhaps why the teething period is often such a painful time for puppies.

When the temporary milk teeth loosen and drop, adult teeth will start poking through. Your puppy will feel as though their gums are on fire, literally!

Swollen gums are often larger than normal size.

As the adult teeth emerge, there will be tiny spaces left between the swollen gums and protruding teeth. Food particles in your young dog’s mouth will hide in these spaces, eventually rotting and causing bad breath as your puppy is teething.

2. The chewing menace

Nothing can test your patience better than your teething puppy. Since they have difficulty coping with the swollen gums, they will resort to chewing anything and everything they find to soothe the soreness.

Your sweet furry pal will turn into a little destructive monster.

And let’s not forget that a puppy’s curiosity is often at its peak during puppyhood. They love to roam the house to discover new things with their mouths.

Unfortunately, your puppy’s breath will pay the price of these reckless chewing behaviors. As your young canine friend chews on anything they find, they’re at risk of:

  • Cracks on their fragile teeth (or end up with broken teeth).
  • Oral injuries. They may develop cuts on the gums, cheeks, or tongue from chewing hard or sharp objects.
  • Stuff getting stuck between their growing teeth.

When your puppy has chipped teeth or an oral injury, food leftovers in their mouth can quickly accumulate on these cuts or cracks. The odor-causing bacteria in the mouth will act on these food remains, causing bad breath whilst teething.

If something gets stuck between your puppy’s teeth as they chew inappropriate objects, it can pierce the sensitive gums between the teeth spaces.

Outcome? Oral bacterial infections that will leave your puppy’s breath stinking.

3. Bleeding gums

The most obvious sign of puppies’ teething is minor gum bleeding.

You’ll often notice little blood stains on your puppy’s chewing favorite toy. Don’t fret, though. It’s a normal (and temporary) part of the teething process.

Minor bleeding happens as the milk teeth fall, leaving the tooth surface bare. And as the adult teeth try to push their way through your puppy’s sensitive gums, this will result in bleeding.

Your puppy’s breath will likely give off a nasty metallic odor because of the blood in their gums.

4. Blood and saliva on chew toys

Our little furry best friends would rather gnaw on their favorite rubber toy than keep you company on the couch.

If you always find your puppy with a particular chew toy in their mouth, they’re simply trying to massage their gums and ease the discomfort. Chewing is also great as it helps wash off the food particles around their teeth and gums.

The only problem is that the blood stains and saliva on their favorite toy can dry out, making the toys smelly after some time.

Remembers, puppies drool more than usual when teething because of the pain. So that means they’ll coat their favorite toys with more saliva than they would if they weren’t teething.

As they chew on these smelly toys, they will transfer the foul odor back to their mouth.

Puppy teething bad breath remedy

Thankfully there are some remedies that will teach you how to get rid of puppy teething breath.

While your furry friend’s breath will get better once the teething nightmare is over, there are a few steps how you can freshen a puppy’s breath from teething.

Seek vet treatment

Have a chat with your vet if you notice any oral injuries, cracked teeth, or excess blood on your puppy’s chew toys. Excessive gum bleeding or cuts during teething will worsen your puppy’s breath. Vet treatment will often be the best puppy teething bad breath remedy.

Brush your puppy’s teeth and take care of hygiene

Prioritize gently brushing your furry friend’s emerging teeth to get rid of bacteria and plaque. You can start by gently rubbing a small amount of vet-recommended toothpaste on their teeth and gums using a thin, soft cloth or a finger toothbrush (ensure you wash your hands before and afterward) to freshen the breath. Here’s one on Amazon.

Switching to a puppy-friendly toothbrush will be easier once they get used to the rubbing effect on their teeth and gums. It’s a good idea to get more guidance from your vet on how to clean your puppy’s sensitive teeth.

You could also consult your vet on puppy-safe dental chews or water additives to include in your puppy’s daily oral hygiene practices.

Use chew toys

Ensure your puppy has several puppy-friendly chew toys. That way, they won’t chew on tough objects that may damage their gums and teeth, causing foul breath.

Always remember to clean your puppy’s toys regularly as they will get smelly and that will transfer to them as bad breath.

Use mint or parsley in their food and breath friendly snacks

Sprinkle a little fresh mint or parsley leaves in their meal regularly. Your puppy doesn’t know when it’s time to pop in a breath freshener, so you can do it on their behalf by adding a natural breath freshener to their meal.

They will possibly think their food tastes better too!

Offer them breath-friendly fruits like frozen apples or frozen carrots, known to contain vitamins that fight foul breath in dogs. Chewing on these cold snacks will help relieve your puppy’s teething pain.

The crunchiness of these fruits will scrap away the odor-causing food particles on their teeth and gums. As always, seek your vet’s guidance before giving your puppy a frozen snack for bad breath.

Handy Hint: Teething isn’t the only reason why your puppy’s breath might smell bad. Here are other possible reasons for stinky breath.

FAQs on puppy teething bad breath

Why does my puppy have bad breath all of a sudden?

That’s because they’re going through teething. As discussed earlier, the teething experiences in puppies trigger a smelly breath.

Why does my 5 month old puppies breath smell so bad?

Your dog is in the teething phase of puppyhood, which comes with bad breath problems. Their breath will improve by the time they enter adulthood (when they grow adult teeth).

What does puppy teething breath smell like?

Puppy teething breath can smell fishy or like ammonia, it’s not pleasant, especially if they lick you and the stink transfers onto your skin! You might be interested to know that I published a guide which explains how to get rid of your dog’s fishy smell.


You’re probably here because you’ve noticed your little canine friend suddenly has stinky breath and wonder what could be the cause. Is it a teething issue? Do all puppies experience unpleasant breath?

If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, or something similar, then I hoped my notes helped.

The teething period in puppies comes with many frustrations for puppy owners, including enduring awful puppy breath. The stinky breath results from the teething-related problems that all puppies go through in puppyhood.

It’s tough though as there aren’t many things as adorable and cuddly as puppies.

You’d want to spend most of your time getting up close with your cute fur baby. But if their breath stinks, you may be tempted to love them from a distance.

With puppies, everything happens so fast.

One moment they have this sweet-scented puppy breath your nose appreciates. Then a few weeks later, their breath smells so horrible, your nose can’t stand it.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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