Should I be concerned about my dog’s bad breath?

bad breath can be a sign of problems in the teeth
Image by MeHe on Pixabay

Katie McCaul (BSc DipNat VN ANutR), an expert nutritionist at Tuggs, talks about the health concerns that hide behind doggie breath – and about the breeds most at risk…

“Brachycephalic dogs (those with short noses) tend to have a higher risk of bad breath as the teeth can be forced closer together, allowing food to be trapped and result in unpleasant smells,” said Katie. “This can also include dogs with less exaggerated flat faces, like Boxer and Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. A build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth can lead to bacterial growth, causing a foul odour. If left untreated, it can progress to gum disease and tooth decay”.

But it’s not just these breeds that are at risk. According to research made by Tuggs, dental disease is the most common disease seen in veterinary medicine, with 80 per cent of dogs in the UK suffering from bad breath, which can be caused by a plethora of issues – some more sinister than others.

Tuggs’ recent research also revealed that 2,000 internet users have been searching for ‘smelly breath in dogs,’ as pet owners are looking to find reasons and solutions for bad breath in their pets. Their experts warn that if your pooch has persistent and foul-smelling breath it’s a good idea to have the vet check them over to identify the cause.

Katie McCaul reveals the reasons behind bad breath in dogs and offers her top tips on how to combat the issue:

Poor Dental Hygiene
“Before becoming domesticated, dogs would naturally clean their teeth by chewing on carcasses. As dogs’ diets have changed over time and the foods that they consume have become softer, it’s become more common for dogs to experience a build-up of tartar which can lead to gum disease and bad breath.”

“Find a quality chew that your dog chews on for at least half an hour a week. Teach them to tolerate tooth brushing, and look at some natural products that contain seaweed as these are proven to reduce plaque.”

Medical Conditions
“Persistent and foul-smelling breath, can be an indication of underlying medical conditions that produce gases causing foul odours. It can be a sign of a poor microbiome or digestive and gastrointestinal issues. Other problems can include kidney disease, diabetes, liver problems and respiratory infections.”

“Seek advice from a vet if your dog is displaying unusual behaviour, or if the smell continues to worsen. Add probiotics to improve your dog’s digestive health, or try switching them to a fresh diet in order to improve their oral microbiome.”

“Foods that have strong smells, such as fish or liver, can cause temporary bad breath in dogs. A poor-quality diet can also cause dental and overall health problems, resulting in bad breath in dogs.”

“A fresh, well-balanced diet will improve a dog’s overall well-being and reduce bad breath. Tuggs’ insect-based recipes are made sustainably with 100% fresh ingredients, meaning no bad breath, sore tummies or extra baggage as insects provide a well-balanced, complete meal and are packed with essential amino acids, fats and minerals – making insects nutritionally comparable to meat and fish.”

Chewing Habits

“Chewing on the wrong things can irritate a dog’s gums, break teeth and even cause loose objects or materials on the toy – like a rope toy for example – to break away and become lodged in your dog’s mouth, leading to infections that can cause bad breath.”


“Introduce toys, such as natural chew toys or rubbery toys, that can help remove tartar and plaque on your dog’s teeth. This will also help to keep them entertained for hours.”

This is a guest post by Tuggs. Want to write for us? Visit or email


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