FAQ about Puppy Bad Breath

Puppy Bad BreathPuppies!  Everyone loves puppies, right?  But not everyone loves puppy bad breath.  And puppies do have bad breath sometimes. Here are some frequently asked questions about bad breath in puppies and what you can do about it.

1.  Why does my puppy have bad breath?

Puppies are not born with bad breath.  In fact, most people think that “puppy breath” is one of the greatest things in the world.  For the first few weeks of life puppies nurse and drink milk exclusively.  They have milk breath which is similar to the same milk breath as other newborns of other mammalian species.  However, once puppies begin to be weaned, they begin to eat solid food.  This food can vary depending on what they are fed. Some breeders may provide ground up adult food or puppy food.  The mother dog may regurgitate food for them.  Wolf mothers regurgitate food for wolf pups.  Some breeders provide a gruel mixture for puppies.  It just depends on the individual circumstances.

When you take your puppy home you will be feeding your puppy the diet you have chosen for him.  This will affect his breath.  Your puppy will also be very interested in exploring the world. This means that he will probably be picking up and chewing on anything he can find.  This will also affect his breath.  Some puppies may pick up and eat dog poop, for example.  Yuck!  So, your puppy may have puppy bad breath.

2.  Do all puppies have bad breath?

No, most puppies continue to have puppy breath for several months.  They have breath that smells a little milky, a little juvenile, until they are older.  The food you feed them, plus the things they taste out of curiosity, will start changing their breath, as well as their gastro-intestinal system.

3.  Why do puppies eat bad things?

Puppies eat bad things, and things that taste bad, mostly because they are young and curious and they want to explore.  They are in a learning phase and they explore by using their mouths.  So, like toddlers, they put everything they see in their mouths.  They chew it and eat it.  With puppies the result is often some very foul breath.

4.  Can I stop my puppy from eating things that make his breath horrible?

Yes, you can.  You can supervise his play, for one thing.  When he’s outside playing you can watch him and make sure he doesn’t eat things he shouldn’t.  If he’s eating poop, you can stop this practice by picking poop up in your yard as soon as it’s produced.  This is a good idea because sometimes once a puppy starts this habit it can be hard to break.

5.  Can I do things to make his breath better?

Yes, there are some things you can do to make your puppy’s breath better.  Get in the habit of brushing his teeth at least once a week.  There are special toothbrushes and toothpastes for dogs. You can find them at pet stores and online.  Give your puppy dental chews for puppies.  These will keep his teeth clean and make his breath fresh.  Give him doggy mints.  Spray his mouth with chlorhexidine solution.  This is the equivalent of a doggy mouthwash that makes a dog’s breath smell better and which removes tartar and plaque.  And, feed a dry dog food instead of a wet dog food.

6.  Will my puppy always have puppy bad breath?

No.  Most likely your puppy is going through a stage in which he’s tasting some nasty things.  He’s probably attracted to them because they have a strong odor.  He’s just curious.  As he gets a little older he will lose interest in them.  Your puppy doesn’t naturally have bad breath.  If you take care of his teeth and provide him with things to keep his breath fresh then he should have clean-smelling breath.

7.  Is there anything else I can do to make my puppy’s breath better?

The most important things to remember about keeping your puppy’s breath fresh are to supervise him when he’s exploring so he won’t eat things that taste or smell bad and get in the habit of brushing his teeth.  If you do these things, and provide him with some dental chews to keep his breath fresh, then your puppy should have breath that smells great all his life.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011 By: Sofia
Category: Dental
  • Mckoda1

    I am concerned. I just got a 7 week old mini poodle.

    Upon arriving home an playing with her I noticed an umbilical hernia that puffs up more when she strains, and it has reddish and yellowish undertones beneath the thin skin that covers the hernia. When I press it down it goes in, but I feel like there is something in there – not sure if it is a blood vessel or what.

    Further, she has a horrendous putrid smell emanating from her breath.

    The breeder says this is all normal.

    She cost me 1300.00 and I am worried that this may be serious. I have never met a puppy with such horrid putrid breath or with such visible hernia.

    Am I right to be worried?

  • imagine92

    My puppy is three months old, she is a PitBull and her bad breath is because she is losing her baby teeth. The bad breath is from the tissue being torn by the new teeth pushing the old teeth out. Its open/torn flesh and yucky blood that makes her breath smell bad. Its perfectly normal, anyone knows if they have a bad tooth that once its illuminated smell gets better. So if your puppy is teething and has bad breath get ready to find puppy teeth!!

  • jas

    I would definitely have a vet look at that hernia. It could easily get infected.