When a puppy begins eating solid foods, his breath will smell according to what he eats. Think about your breath after eating garlic or onions — it isn’t pleasant either, is it? As with wolves, mama dogs may regurgitate food for their babies to eat.
It’s important to note that canines aren’t born with mouth odor. For the first few weeks of their life, they thrive on mother’s milk. They have milk breath, just like our newborn babies have.
As puppies begin exploring their new world, they tend to chew on anything they can find, including poop. And let’s not forget about the canine’s natural instinct of grooming, including cleaning the anal sac.
Regardless of a puppy’s world of discovery missions, teething is the most common cause of bad breath in puppies.
Teething smells are sometimes “fishy” or “rotten.” The entire process lasts for about 4 weeks, so if you can keep your nose pointed away from your pup’s mouth, you’lll be fine. Also, your puppy’s new little teeth will be sharp, so be cautious if you do put your face close to your pet’s mouth.
Brush Your Puppy’s Teeth
Eliminating bad breath in a puppy is as simple as brushing his teeth once a week with a little Arm & Hammer baking soda.
In this video, Dr. James Talbott, DVM, explains how you can brush your puppy’s teeth:
If the puppy has bad breath and is off color, please see a veterinarian. Bad breath can also be a sign of digestive problems or even worms. It can also be caused by a foreign body wedged between teeth.
Dental chews may also help keep your puppy’s teeth clean while also giving him fresher breath.
Spraying inside his mouth with chlorhexidine solution (which is like a doggy mouthwash) will also sweeten his breath. This solution removes tartar and plaque from an adult dog’s teeth as well. Feeding dry dog food will also be of great help.
Chances are, your puppy will outgrow his killer breath. To help protect yourself from BBS (bad breath syndrome) during your pet’s growing stages, keep a watchful eye out, scooping up poop as quickly as possible and removing any “stinky” items lying around before he discovers them.
This pet health content was reviewed for accuracy by a veterinarian, Dr. Pippa Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS. It was last reviewed and updated Feb. 4, 2019.