It never hurts to incorporate some natural and safe home remedies into our dog’s daily care. Here are some top DIY homemade tips to help dogs with bad breath.
Sometimes your pup’s breath needs a bit of sprucing up alongside their brushing regimen. Natural remedies for bad dog breath comprise ingredients you can find in your pantry right now. Yogurt and vinegar are some household staples that can clean your pup’s mouth, leaving it smelling fresh.
Natural remedies offer you peace of mind because they aren’t jammed with chemicals. You must understand the implications of these remedies before choosing to enlist the help of DIY solutions. We offer a listicle of various solutions you can make at home to take your pup’s oral health to the next level.
Home Remedies for Bad Dog Smell
Commercial products such as dog toothpaste are effective at keeping your dog’s mouth healthy. Cinnamon, fresh mint leaves, yogurt, and coconut oil are some natural products that clean your dog’s mouth. Most of these products offer more health benefits to your dog, like better digestion.
We can’t deny the numerous benefits of homemade solutions, but they may take time before you can observe significant changes. If the doggy-breath problem is getting too stubborn, you can incorporate commercial mouthwashes such as the PawSafe dog mouthwash. This water additive freshens your dog’s mouth using a dental formula made specifically for dogs.
These 6 home remedies freshen your dog’s mouth and are readily available in your kitchen. It’s essential to be cautious about the amount of each remedy you give to your pup. While these substances are perfectly pet-safe, they can become toxic to animals in large quantities.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is the king of natural solutions with cleaning properties. You may have it in your house right now because of the health benefits apple cider vinegar offers. This acid has antibacterial properties because it contains acetic and malic acids, which kill the odor-causing bacteria.
Adding half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water will help fight off bacteria that cause the nasty breath. If your dog can’t handle the taste of vinegar, cook it into homemade treats or food. ACV offers internal advantages such as reduced GI issues like gassiness when consumed by your pet.
Never give your dog undiluted apple cider vinegar because it’s highly acidic. Aside from it being extremely bitter to your dog, undiluted ACV can burn their esophagus and even their stomach. A disturbed digestive tract leads to stomach issues because of the interruption in digestion. Undiluted vinegar can corrode your pup’s teeth enamel, increasing the likelihood of decay and cavities.
DIY dental chews
Encouraging chewing is one of the solutions for bad dog breath, which we’ve discussed in the linked article. Some veggies, such as carrot sticks and apple slices, improve dog breath by scrubbing away bacteria and plaque buildup from your dog’s mouth.
Another great addition is homemade treats that contain pomegranate extract and propolis, as these two ingredients actively fight the build-up of bad bacteria.
These crunchy snacks stimulate the production of antimicrobial saliva, which mops up bacteria from your dog’s mouth. Moderation is vital in feeding your dog veggies, even those that are safe for dogs. Feeding your dog too many carrots can lead to vitamin A toxicity characterized by joint stiffness.
Most fruits and veggies contain high amounts of fructose, a natural sugar. Excessive consumption of these sugars can lead to obesity and dental decay –the very problem you’re trying to solve. Vegetables contain large amounts of fiber which can cause gastrointestinal issues like gassiness and stomach upset.
Celery is also a great and healthy snack to give to your pup. In addition to the teeth cleaning benefits DIY dental chews offer, they can help alleviate teething pain in puppies. Giving your puppy a frozen carrot slice will soothe the gums by reducing inflammation, swelling, and eventually, pain.
Coconut oil lives up to the hype of being an all-rounded health booster. Rubbing the teeth with coconut oil can transform your pup’s teeth because of its antimicrobial properties. This Ayurvedic treatment contains fatty acids, lauric acid, and monolaurin, which are antibacterial.
However, do not let your dog swallow or eat coconut oil. Contrary to popular belief, coconut oil is not good for dogs. A very small part of coconut oil, called medium-chain triglycerides, or MCT oil, has many health benefits for dogs. But only about 8% of coconut oil is MCT oil. About 70% is saturated fat, including lauric acid.
The problem is that saturated fat causes inflammation in the lining of a dog’s stomach, making it easier for bacteria and particles to get through. This is leaky gut syndrome. And, while lauric acid kills certain bad bacteria on the gut wall, in doing so, it releases a toxin from this bacteria that can then get into your dog’s bloodstream and cause inflammation and disease. These are called endotoxins, and dogs who consume coconut oil and other saturated fats have more endotoxins in their system than dogs who get more essential fatty acids from fish.
Stinky breath sometimes hails from the gut due to stomach issues. The gut microbiome refers to the trillions of bacteria and other microbiomes that work harmoniously to promote digestive health. Probiotics restore gut flora by decreasing the PH in the gut, encouraging good gut bacteria to thrive.
Bacterial imbalances in the gut result in gastrointestinal issues like gassiness. When your pup passes the excess gas, you’ll smell the stink in their breath. Always offer your dog unsweetened plain yogurt free from artificial sweeteners as they can harm your dog. Yogurts with live cultures are the best natural probiotics for your dog.
One specific probiotic to add to your dog’s diet is freeze-dried Lactobacillus salivarius as it has been shown to help create a healthy microbiome in the canine mouth.
Countless herbs are safe for your dog and freshen up your pup’s horrid breath. You can add a few herb leaves to your dog’s food or sprinkle some crushed herbs on the food. A great option is to crush some dried mint, parsley, and thyme and add it to some turkey to help your dog’s breath.
Be sure to consult your vet before giving your dog herbs because some can react with antibiotics and other medications.
Remember, some herbs and spices to steer clear of are garlic, onions, cocoa powder, and nutmeg, which can be toxic to dogs.
Other herbs to consider for your dog’s dental health include:
Cinnamon comprises a variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps break down food particles trapped between your dog’s teeth and prevents the buildup of bacteria in the teeth. Cinnamon lightly scents your pup’s breath; who wouldn’t want doggy kisses with a hint of cinnamon?
You get far more than the fresh breath in your pup with peppermint. It can ease stomach upset by improving digestion as well. It’s important to note that the liquid forms of herbs like peppermint are toxic to dogs. Avoid using peppermint essential oil to freshen your dog’s mouth as it’s poisonous.
Aloe is a go-to beauty product for many people, and dogs can enjoy its benefits too. You can make a simple aloe cleaning solution with the products listed below:
- One part aloe vera gel
- One part 3% hydrogen peroxide
The aloe latex, the yellow layer found between the green leaf and the clear gel, is toxic. Remove this substance before using aloe vera on your dog. The solution can effectively break down tartar and plaque after a couple of uses. The hydrogen peroxide provides a slight bleaching effect leaving your pup’s teeth whiter than usual.
Similar to mint, parsley lightly deodorizes your dog’s stinky breath. Parsley has a fresh scent and is high in chlorophyll content, suggesting it can effectively combat sulfur compounds. This herb can also reduce bloating, which causes increased smelly burps in dogs.
Lemon juice has acidic properties that help combat oral bacteria that accumulate to form tartar. Additionally, lemon is lightly scented which leaves your dog with fragrant breath. Lemon breath is much better than your pup’s breath smelling like rotten eggs or fish. Read the linked article to know why your dog’s breath smells like fish.
Using lemon juice is similar to the apple cider vinegar remedy. Squeeze one lemon to get the juice and mix it with your pup’s drinking water. Ensure your dog is adequately hydrated prior to adding this citric juice in case your dog is still getting used to the taste.
Keep the drinking water and bowl clean
It may seem okay to use the dog water bowl regularly without washing it. This common but improper practice allows the bowl to be a breeding ground for bacteria and other microbes. Wash your pup’s drinking bowl every time you change the water, which you should do daily.
When your pup drinks water, they rinse off any unpleasant substances that cause odor, such as poop. If your dog’s stinky breath is due to something rancid they ate, providing enough water reduces the odor. Sitting water is a host to countless bacteria, so don’t reuse drinking water because it’s clear to the eye.
Final Thoughts on Homemade Remedies
Various home remedies for bad breath in dogs are widely available. Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and herbs like parsley and peppermint are some natural products that freshen doggy breath. Home remedies are minimally processed and easy on the environment, making them excellent choices.
However, DIY treatments for bad breath are not substitutes for brushing or a good doggy mouthwash. You cannot forego brushing your dog’s teeth because you feed them dental chews; they will suffer for it. With proper oral practices, homemade remedies are good solutions for bad breath which aren’t chemical-ridden.
Tamsin De La HarpeAuthor
Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.
Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.