Can bad breath in dogs be a sign of illness?

Chronic bad breath may indicate a bigger health problem. Most often, it’s caused by dental or gum disease, and small dogs are especially prone to plaque and tartar. However, ongoing bad breath can indicate medical problems in a pet’s mouth, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract or organs.

Bad breath is quite common in our canine companions, especially as they age, and can be a sign of serious health issues in your pooch. Do you find that you recoil from your dog when they come in for a cuddle or apologize to guests for the smell? Here, our Apple Valley veterinarians discuss the potential causes of your dog’s bad breath and how to treat or even prevent it.

Chronic Bad Breath in Dogs

When bad breath, also known as halitosis, persists in a dog, that is the first indication that it may be a sign of a larger issue. Plaque buildup, decayed teeth, and other gum problems can all contribute to bad breath, which can range in smell from mildly unpleasant to putrid. A quick examination of the mouth can quickly identify the issue, including tooth decay, yellowing teeth, inflamed gums, chicken meat or bones between the teeth, etc. The issue is typically resolved by brushing the dog’s teeth or by making a brief visit to a veterinary dental specialist.

In contrast, if the source of bad breath is not immediately apparent or if the issue returns despite your best efforts to treat it (i e. (brushing/dental work), then a visit to the veterinarian may be necessary.

Diseases That Cause Bad Breath in Dogs

Halitosis in dogs can occasionally be a sign of a serious condition that results in gum sores, alterations in blood chemistry, or the release of unpleasant-smelling gasses through the mouth. The following conditions can cause a dog’s breath to smell.


Dogs with diabetes don’t exactly have unpleasant breath. Instead, they will have an unnaturally sweet breath smell like fruit or candy. This is brought on by the dog’s bloodstream having high levels of glucose and ketones. Pay close attention if the dog exhibits excessive thirst and urination along with sickly sweet breath. Together, these three are sure signs of canine diabetes.


What diseases cause bad breath in dogs?

Although there are a variety of potential reasons why your dog has bad breath, kidney disease, liver disease, and oral health problems are the most typical ones.

Why does my dog’s breath smell rotten?

Having poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease are the two most typical causes of bad breath in dogs. The development of the bacteria that cause bad breath can result from the accumulation of plaque and tartar, just like in humans.

Can a dogs stomach cause bad breath?

Stomach Problems A bacterial imbalance in a dog’s digestive system can also result in bad breath. Dogs with these conditions may also have smelly farts and loose stools in addition to bad breath.

What can I do if my dog’s breath smells bad?

Having said that, you shouldn’t assume the cause of or that a change in your dog’s breath smell is normal whenever you notice one. As soon as you can, take your dog to the veterinarian so they can examine and diagnose it because several causes of bad breath can be very serious medical conditions.