What Can You Give Dogs for Bad Breath? (Home Remedy Treatment)

dog bad breath home remedy

We love it when our furry best friends lean in for cuddles or kisses. But when your dog has smelly breath, there’s probably nothing you dread more than bonding time. If you’re in a similar situation and want to know how to resolve your dog’s “stinky situation”, you’ve come to the right place.

So, what can you give dogs for bad breath?

There are several dog bad breath home remedy treatments that can help you tackle the issue. You can give them dental treats and chew toys, probiotic supplements, start a brushing routine, add herbs like parsley and mint in their food, and use apple cider vinegar, among many others.

Continue reading to find out why your dog’s breath suddenly smells terrible. I’ll also dig deeper into all the possible remedies you can try to finally get rid of their awful breath.

What do you give dogs for bad breath?

As sweet as your dog may be, if their breath smells horrible, all you’d want to do is keep them at arm’s length. Bad breath is a common concern among many dog parents.

So if you often feel like passing out every time your dog spoils you with kisses, or have to apologize to visitors whenever they get a whiff of your dog’s cringeworthy breath, you’re not alone in wanting to find an effective dog bad breath home remedy.

Sure, their breath can never be minty-fresh. But it certainly shouldn’t be foul to the point of making you push away their adorable face every time.

Before we look at what you can do or use to make your dog’s breath smell better, you need to know some possible reasons behind the horrendous breath. I’m talking about the following:

  • Oral health issues like periodontal diseases caused by bacteria-loaded plaque and tartar on the teeth.
  • Poor eating habits. If your furry friend eats almost anything under the sun — and by anything, I mean poop and garbage — the evidence will be on their breath.
  • An imbalance between the bad and healthy gut and oral bacteria
  • Diabetes, which often leads to an unpleasant, fruity-smelling breath
  • Kidney disease that makes a dog’s breath have a urine-like or fishy smell
  • Liver disease that causes their breath to reek of rotten stuff. If your furry pal has liver disease, you’ll also notice a yellowish tinge on his gums.
  • Diet issues. Yes, the cause of your dog’s breath might be what’s always in their bowl.

You need to take your furry pal to the vet for a health checkup before starting any bad breath remedy at home. Otherwise, all your efforts to bring their breath back to normalcy will be futile if you haven’t ruled out an illness or diet problem.

Dog bad breath remedy ideas

Let’s say you’ve seen the vet, and they’ve confirmed your furry friend doesn’t have an underlying health issue responsible for the persistent halitosis. And that their diet isn’t faulty. Great news!

Now you must tackle the smelly breath at home on your own. That’s alright — there are several effective remedies you can try.

Let’s go through each of them:

1. Squeeze lemon or apple cider vinegar into their drinking water

Apple cider vinegar or lemon’s mild acidity will boost saliva flow in your dog’s mouth. That’s a good thing because saliva washes away the smelly bacteria and food particles in their mouth.

Lemon juice and vinegar also have anti-bacterial properties. Adding either to your dog’s water regularly will kill the bad bacteria causing the nasty breath.

Be careful not to pour in too much vinegar or lemon juice. Your vet can guide you on the appropriate amount to use.

Handy Hint: Apple cider vinegar is also the best thing to stop your dog licking his paws.

2. Commit to a brushing routine — and use an enzymatic toothpaste

Make it a habit to regularly brush your dog’s teeth with a vet-recommended enzymatic toothpaste and dog-friendly toothbrush.

Brushing is the best way to keep plaque and tartar from sitting on their teeth for too long.

If you want your dog to have near-perfect oral health, don’t try out other breath freshening tricks and leave out brushing. And the best time to start their brushing routine is today.

3. Try a dental care water additive

Dental care water additives eliminate bacteria and tartar. They also keep dental diseases at bay and leave a dog’s mouth smelling clean.

You only need to add the recommended amount to your dog’s drinking water. As they hydrate, they’ll also be freshening their breath.

There are many dental water additives in the market. Be sure to consult your vet on what brand to use. Also, the additive shouldn’t replace brushing.

4. Rub toothpaste on their favorite chew toy

Your dog probably has an inseparable relationship with a particular chew toy.

Since the toy is normally in their mouth most times, you can rub a small amount of the vet-approved enzymatic toothpaste on it. This hack will keep your dog’s breath fresh during the day.

But never use human toothpaste on your dog’s chew toy — and when brushing them.

5. Consider dog dental treats

Dental treats come in different shapes and tastes, but have one thing in common: breath-freshening ingredients like mint to fight bad breath as your dog eats it.

There are many dental treat brands out there, so be sure to seek your vet’s advice on a quality dental treat. Let me also remind you that dental treats shouldn’t replace your dog’s brushing ritual.

6. Dental chew toys come in handy

Dental chew toys are designed to give your furry friend a “teeth cleaning” session while they enjoy their chewing time.

Chewing loosens the food particles and plaque stuck on their teeth. To avoid getting a dental chew toy that may put your dog at risk of a choking hazard, consult your vet on which one to go for.

As a general rule, never give your furry pal a bone to chew on. The bone may break into small sharp prices, which, if swallowed, can cause serious health problems.

7. Add herbs like fresh parsley, basil, and mint to their food

Parsley, mint, and basil offer a quick fix for dogs with stinky breath.

These herbs have lots of chlorophyll, which works well in neutralizing the odor-causing sulfur compounds in your dog’s breath — in minutes.  The food particles in your dog’s mouth emit sulfur compounds when the bad bacteria feed on them.

Plus, these herbs will leave their signature minty scent on your dog’s mouth.

8. Offer apple slices, celery, or raw carrots regularly

Apples, celery, and carrots have a crunchy texture that acts more like a natural toothbrush.

As your dog chews these yummy, dog-safe snacks, they’ll remove the old food particles on their teeth. These fruits and veggies also increase saliva in your dog’s mouth.

9. Coconut oil can be helpful

Another all-natural superhero against your dog’s smelly breath is coconut oil.

Adding a small amount to your dog’s food (or on their toothpaste during brushing time) will help get rid of the odor-causing bacteria in their mouth.

It’s important to consult your vet before adding coconut to their daily meal.

10. Probiotic supplements are a good idea

Like in humans, probiotics also help fight the overgrowth of the harmful bad breath-causing bacteria in a dog’s mouth. These supplements also lower the risk of oral diseases.

You should only use probiotics specifically formulated for dogs — your vet can guide you on this.

FAQs on dog’s bad breath

How can I get rid of my dog’s bad breath?

Besides having a brushing routine, you can offer them dental treats, dental chew toys, add a dental water additive to their water, give them apples and carrots regularly, and add herbs like parsley and mint to their diet, among many others.

But you should speak to your vet before starting a particular remedy.

How can I refresh my dog’s breath without brushing?

You can use dental treats, herbs like mint or parsley, give them dental chew toys, offer them snacks like apples and carrots, or add lemon juice and vinegar to their water. But it’s best if you combine brushing with these remedies.

Why does my dog’s breath smell rotten?

As discussed earlier, they may be having an underlying problem like liver disease, kidney disease, and periodontal disease.

It might also be because your dog is on a poor diet or has nasty eating habits like eating poop and garbage.


I hope one of these dog bad breath treatment remedies work for you. It might take a little time, but hopefully he or she will have minty fresh breath in no time at all!

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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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