Advice for curing canine halitosis


Dear Davi,

I love my dog, but his mouth smells like straight-up poop. How can I banish his bad breath for good?

Harry the Human


Nothing ruins a cuddle with your canine like a blast of bad breath. Doggie halitosis is one of the worst things a dog can have and it’s often a telltale sign of gum disease. That stench from his mouth means there’s a colony of disease-causing bacteria living and thriving inside. Not only does it lead to dental pain and tooth decay, it can spread to other parts of his body, causing inflammation, sickness and even death. Diet can also cause that stinky smell, especially if your dog feasts on trash, table scraps and animal poop. While it’s true that bad breath can indicate a more serious illness, the main culprit is usually poor dental hygiene.

Daily brushing is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your dog’s dental health. Few pooches will actually step up to the sink for a good tooth-scrubbing, but the few seconds a day it takes to whisk a brush across his pearly whites will pay off in better health—and sweeter smooches.

Regular brushing is your first line of defense against bad breath and gum disease, but there are more ways to help clean a canine’s choppers:

Chew Toys Gnawing on chew toys can rasp away tarter while massaging gums and keeping teeth strong. Select toys that are made from durable, nontoxic materials.

Dental Chews Humans have floss, dogs have chews. The treats help clean teeth, remove debris and freshen breath. Products with a VOHC-approved stamp are recommended.

Water Additives The oral care solution helps tackle bacteria, reduce plaque and freshen breath. It’s safe to use and can eliminate bacteria in the water and in your pet’s mouth.

Professional Cleaning Veterinarians can thoroughly clean your pet’s teeth, check for cavities and restore teeth to a clean, polished condition.

If you’re looking for a natural solution, walk in your garden. Some common herbs can help crush bad breath and add a tasty kick to your pet’s meal.

Mint Peppermint and spearmint are natural breath-fresheners you can chop up and put in your dog’s bowl. A little mint can also settle an upset stomach and help relieve stress.

Cilantro This herb is a wonderful natural way to freshen breath, stimulate gums and clean teeth. Just sprinkle a pinch atop of the dog’s food.

Sage This plant, well-known for its antiseptic properties, can rid your dog’s mouth of odor-causing bacteria.

Parsley Fresh parsley can sweeten your dog’s food—and his breath—naturally. It can also help digestion and inflammatory issues, such as arthritis and cancer.

Taking an active role in your dog’s dental care can help keep foul breath under control. Follow a dental care routine—he’ll have a winning smile, fresh breath and happy gums, which contribute to a longer, healthier life.

Stay smiling!

Davi the dachshund has the sweetest breath at the dog park.

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