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Get Rid of Bad Dog Breath

Updated on May 23, 2016
Me and my boy (without the cloud of dog breath that used to be present)
Me and my boy (without the cloud of dog breath that used to be present)

The Backstory

Dogs are rarely known for smelling like roses but dog breath can be particularly bad in some cases. If you are a pet owner and have an animal with bad breath then read on as there may be a solution here for you.

A few years back I rescued a beautiful Siberian Husky. He had been through 3 owners each of which had been abusive or neglectful to some degree. He was overweight, lacked training but worst of all his mouth was in a terrible state. Initially he had to have 8 teeth removed as they had multiple lesions all the way down to the soft inner material. The vet and I decided that we would see how he went for a while after the initial extractions to determine what action should be taken as we wanted to save as many teeth as possible. After the gums from the first lot of tooth extractions had healed and with him being on a properly balanced dog food he regained his appetite and with my training and exercise scheme in place he improved drastically.

However even after the 8 teeth had been extracted and the remaining teeth having been scaled and polished there was still a fair amount of gum disease remaining and his breath continued to be rank. Over the next few months I tried many different things from changes in food types (I had been told that dry kibble rather than wet food helped to crack up the plaque build up on teeth) all the way to dog toothbrushes and toothpastes.

Going onto dry food did help a bit but not to a degree that I was satisfied with. His gums would still bleed on occasion after eating. Additionally the worst teeth in his mouth were those at the front of his upper jaw (incisors and canines) which aren't used much in a domestic setting.


On the vets recommendation I tried a range of chews ranging from nylon bones and rawhide chews to stag bars (sawn up antler). He really liked the stag bar particularly and for that reason alone they are worth buying. The Nylabones he liked for a while but after they got chewed up a bit he somewhat lost interest (I think because they felt bad on his exposed gums).

In the wild dog dental hygiene is largely moderated by chewing but there were several problems with it in my situation:

1. He had lost teeth and so was not able to chew as effectively as a dog with full dentition.

2. Gum disease had long been set in before I took him on and so chewing was not going to be enough on its own at this point.

3. The incisors and canines are not used in chewing bones and the like and instead are cleaned in the wild by the ripping and tearing of skin, tendon etc. For him most of the problem was localized around the upper front of his jaw as the teeth are more or less redundant in everyday life with humans.

Even if your dog does not have bad breath chewing is a great way to help keep your dog entertained and healthy.

Dog Toothbrushes and Toothpastes

The next step was to try an array of dog toothpastes and toothbrushes. I started out with a very small soft brush to get him used to it and in time moved up to a larger more robust dog brush. He made the entire process almost impossible by trying to lick the toothbrush or get as far from it as possible. We persevered for several weeks but I was not noticing any significant improvement (perhaps due to how hard it is to brush a dogs teeth who doesn't want you to) and so stopped it.

I could not find the toothpastes or toothbrushes that I used online so wouldn't feel confortable offering a recommendation. Ask your vet and they will probably be able to help.

IMPORTANT: NEVER USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE ON YOUR DOG. It is very different and extremely bad for them.

After a little more time the biggest issue I was having was that where he had had the teeth removed he would dribble very slightly which kept the fur on his lower jaw permanently moist and after a short time this begun to get sweaty and sore. The vet gave me a pet friendly antiseptic to use on it but although the problem didn't get worse I couldn't shift it. We went back to the vet and it was decided that 2 more teeth needed to be removed. Around this time I became aware of a new product that I figured I would give a try.

Vet AquaDent

Vet AquaDent is a solution designed by vets to go into your pets water and essentially act as a drinkable mouthwash. It contains substances that limit bacterial build up and reduce plaque. The solution is not only designed to be palatable (and I tried it to see what it is like; really not unpleasant) but also to leave a fresh minty smell.

What you do is put a measured volume into your dogs water each day that is dependent on your dogs body weight (for my dog at about 30kg it is up to 15ml per day) and that is it!. Dog drinks water, water makes breath minty and teeth cleaner and hey presto, happy, non-stinky dog.

Right from the get go I started to notice results. His lip problem cleared up and within a week or so his breath was improving drastically. I have used AquaDent ever since and have had not only no recurrence of problems but not even a whiff of stinky nasty dog breath since. My dog seems much happier and no longer has a sore muzzle or any problems eating even dry food.

I would recommend this to anyone who has an animal with bad breath. The solution is designed for cats and dogs with everyday use in mind. Speak to your vet if you have any concerns about problems specific to your pet. All I can say is this worked wonders for my dog and I have been using it daily ever since.

After the Breath...

Remember getting rid of bad breath is only the beginning. It is important to keep your pets dental hygiene good for their well being and just because their breath is not stinky does not mean that they don't need to chew things and keep good oral hygiene. By using a mix of the methods detailed here regularly it should be possible to keep your dog with fresh breath all the time.

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If you have any comments or thoughts on the matter of keeping your pets breath fresh and teeth healthy then please feel free to post in the comments section at the bottom of this article as I would love to hear from you.

All of the information in this article is based on my own experiences and knowledge. Although I achieved the result that I wanted I am not a veterinary professional and if you are unsure in anyway about your pet specifically then you should see a trained professional.


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    • profile image

      Millie 2 years ago

      This was really helpful - I'll do pretty much anything to stop my dogs breath stinking my house out - the aqua dent sounds promising. Will give it a try - thanks.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 3 years ago

      He's lovely! I just do not understand how anyone could abuse and neglect any animal. I'm glad your lucky boy has his problems behind him.

      Teeth brushing doesn't seem to solve my dog's stinky breath issues. I'm going to try the AquaDent to hopefully help clear the air and maintain her oral health between vet cleanings. Thanks for your very informative hub.