Tips, tricks and remedies you can use TODAY to improve your dogs breath
Written by holistic pet practitioners, this guide is chock-full of effective, all-natural and mostly free methods to quell that smell coming from your dog’s mouth!
Does bad breath prevent you from enjoying your canine companion’s company? Do you dread doggy kisses because your pal’s breath will knock you out? You’re not alone – many other dog owners have dealt with breath so bad it could kill flowers and send people running from the room.
The bottom line is we want happy, healthy and sweet smelling dogs to cuddle with. The better your dog smells, the more hugs he or she will receive. So that’s the inspiration behind this guide, 50 ways to improve your dog’s breath so that he/she will be more kissable and healthier.
Enjoy the ride to fresher breath!
- TAKE A PEEK! Open your dog’s mouth, are there any unidentifiable objects or growths lodged in there? Bad breath is sometimes due to a piece of food that’s been stuck in there for sometime, that’s basically rotting away. While you’re in there, check for tumor growth. If you notice one, have him examined by his vet ASAP
- Visit the vet! Your dog’s vet is the best person to determine the exact cause of your pet’s bad breath. If you try many of the tips in this guide and nothing works, go see the vet.
- BRUSH BRUSH BRUSH! Brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day. Did you know that most kiwi dog owners NEVER brush their dog’s teeth? Not only does regular care improve the breath, but it actually also reduces the chance that your dog will suffer from heart and other organ disease. Brushing your dog’s teeth at home on a daily basis helps eliminate plaque, lessens tartar build-up, and keeps her breath smelling nice. If you are able to brush once a day (or once a week for that matter) you’ll save a lot of money at the vet. Dental cleanings and teeth extractions will set you back north of $500! You’ll need a regular doggy toothbrush small enough to fit comfortably inside her mouth, plus canine toothpaste like an all natural, vanilla-flavored toothpaste.
Warning: Don’t use your own toothpaste, it will make your dog ill, you should only use toothpaste that’s formulated for pets (we spit out our toothpaste, but dog’s cant’ spit!)
As you brush your dog’s teeth, concentrate on the upper teeth because plaque usually begins to build up there first. The best time to start brushing your dog’s teeth is when he’s young because he’ll become accustomed to it. If you aren’t currently brushing your dog’s teeth, there’s no better time to start than right now!
Before you embark on your canine dental health endeavors, first get your dog used to having a finger/brush inside his mouth. You can do this by:
- dipping your finger in beef bouillon and allowing your dog to lick it off by placing your finger in his mouth.
- Next dip the toothbrush in the same beef bouillon and make small circles around your dog’s teeth.
- Eventually you will be able to graduate to using toothpaste on the toothbrush.
- EMBRACE IT! Use a 3-sided toothbrush. These unique brushes get all three sides of the dog’s tooth in one go. Not only is it easier for you, but it cleans the entire tooth in one stroke, so no chance of you missing any yucky bits that might cause unpleasant breath!
What to do WHEN YOUR DOG REFUSES TO HAVE HER TEETH CLEANED WITH A TOOTHBRUSH
- USE A FINGER! If your dog absolutely refuses having her teeth brushed with a normal toothbrush (after several attempts on different days), use a finger toothbrush. For many small dogs this is a trick that works as they feel more comfortable with your finger in their mouth, especially if the toothbrush head is too big. (photo of Kissable finger toothbrush in action)
- POUR IT IN! Add a water additive into your dog’s water. They not only help freshen breath but help loosen plaque and inhibit the growth of odor causing bacteria. Water additives can be poured directly into your dog’s bowl so that whenever she takes a drink, their various organic components can freshen her breath and loosen any food particles or plaque build-up attaching to her teeth.
- SCRUB IT OFF! Dental Wipes are textured cloths that have been pre-moistened with ingredients to help remove plaque and tartar. For many dogs with smaller mouths, this is the way to go. Also, dogs that resist brushing may be more likely to allow the owner to wipe their teeth over using a brush. Check out the Dental Wipes from Kissable.
- FOAM AWAY! Dental Foams (think mouse) adhere to the teeth to gently clean, sanitize and loosen plaque build-up without a toothbrush. The ingredients reduce bacteria which causes bad breath.
- SPRAY AWAY! Sometimes all your dog needs is a minty breath freshener, such as Dog Smog Remedy . Not only does it contain Spearmint and Peppermint, it also contains natural fennel and parsley extracts as well. Simply spray 3 to 6 squirts of Dog Smog Remedy, depending on the size of your dog, onto your dog’s tongue and let the natural herbs work their magic on your dog’s breath. As an added bonus, Dog Smog Remedy also helps to minimize doggy flatulence!
- Floss your dog’s teeth! If your dog will let you, you can floss his teeth just like you floss your own. Keep in mind, the sooner in their life you start flossing their teeth, the better.
- Food Additives– These products are ingested and work systemically. The natural compound in the product comes out through the saliva and works to break down the bacterial biofilm that forms on the teeth and gums. This is how the natural bacteria in the mouth take hold onto the teeth and gums, colonizing and creating the oral problems of plaque and tartar, bad breath and gingivitis.
- Use an Herbal Dental Gel for dogs that already have some tooth and gum disease. The best products contain herbs like echinacea, myrrh, oregano oil and goldenseal. Our favorite is Clean Well Dental Gel.
- Probiotic sprays keep your dog’s mouth balanced and healthy by reducing plaque-causing bacteria, which can cause bad breath and gum disease. Plaque is live (bad/not-beneficial) bacteria. The spray replenishes the good bacteria in the pet’s mouth. The good bacteria flourishes and kills off the bad bacteria through competitive exclusion.
BONES, CHEW TOYS & DENTAL TREATS
- TOYS OH BOY! Give your dog a safe chew toy to gnaw on. The natural process of chewing will help clean your dog’s teeth. Many chew toys have a toothpaste flavour so as your dog chews she’ll get used to the flavour and the hardness of the toy will help loosen the plaque from his teeth. Be sure to also check out rope toys as they’ll help dislodge any food that’s stuck in-between the dog’s teeth.
- DENTAL TREATS. Specialized dental treats help freshen breath and loosen up plaque on the teeth. A popular dental treat that’s been on the market for many years is the Greenie. Greenies are charcoal-based treats that can help eliminate bad breath, and they can be purchased from most pet stores.
- GIVE YOUR DOG A BONE. Raw meaty bones are not only a nutrient-rich tasty treat but they’re great for massaging the gums and preventing tartar build up. The friction caused by her teeth working the hard surface of the bone scrapes away any left over food particles and plaque, and tartar build-up. Additionally, certain protein enzymes found in raw bones inhibit the growth of oral bacteria, thus keeping your dog’s breath smelling fresh. Make sure the bone is big enough for the dog to chew for at least 10-20 minutes as it requires that long for it to really help. Also, the bone should be large enough so you dog doesn’t swallow it whole and choke.
For puppies and small dogs, chicken necks are a good option but remember to never give your dog a cooked bone to gnaw on because it can splinter – causing potential damage to the intestinal linings of your pet.
For medium and large dogs try lamb shanks, marrow, venison or beef knuckle bones
- WASH UP! You wash your plate after every use, don’t you? I can’t imagine you would put your dirty plate back in the cupboard! It’s no different for dogs. Food and bacteria can accumulate quickly that contribute to bad breath, so wash food and water bowls on a regular basis.
- Change the water daily: Dogs don’t just daintily sip their water, they slurp it up — leaving slobber, grass, grime and dirt in the bowl. Make sure to add fresh water daily, especially when bowls are kept outside.
- DRINK IT UP. By drinking lots of water, you can keep your dog’s mouth moist which will help flush out some of the odor causing bacteria.:
FRUITS & VEGGIES THAT PREVENT STINKY BREATH
Hard vegetables and fruits serve to rid the mouth and teeth of plaque and tartar, and are healthy treats providing vitamins and nutrients necessary. Slice them up and give raw as a treat or dice and add to their meals,
- Carrots. Baby carrots (or carrots that are cut up) are a low fat treats for your dog and believe it or not, even the pickiest of dogs like carrots. Since they are crunchy they help remove plaque!
- Lettuce. Eating lettuce a few times a week helps to sweeten your dog’s breath. The lettuce works through your dog’s teeth as she chews, scraping off food particles.
- An Apple a Day! Give apples as a treat. Apples are very crunchy, and as your dog chews it scrapes off particles.
- Celery. Give celery as a treat. celery is very crunchy, and as your dog chews it scrapes off particles. Many dogs don’t like celery very much, so cut it up in small bits and put it in your dogs food. Or give carrots instead.
- Broccoli. Give broccoli as a treat. Be sure to cut it off into manageable pieces. If your dog doesn’t want it, dry dipping it into some chicken or beef broth which will absorb into the crevices.
- Cauliflower. Give cauliflower as a treat. Be sure to cut it off into manageable pieces. If your dog doesn’t want it, dry dipping it into some chicken or beef broth which will absorb into the crevices.
- Sweet Potato. Give Hard Sweet Potato as a treat. Sweet potato is so healthy but be sure to cut it into manageable sized pieces.
There are many schools of thought when it comes to a dog’s diet, so these are just guidelines. What is clear is that a healthy diet (and what is actually healthy is a much debated) is necessary to build your dog’s immune system so that it’s strong enough to fight off certain bad-breath causing bacteria.
- Grain-Free Kibble.The crunchy nature of kibble helps keep teeth clean and grain free food is also helpful for dogs with itchy skin. We love Grain-Free DOGSFOOD from DOG for DOG. Not only is it a super healthy food, but for every bag you buy, they give one to a dog in need.
- Feed A Raw Diet: A raw food & bones diet is the absolute best for your dogs’ teeth, and arguably for you dog in general. Of course feeding raw takes some research and dedication although these days commercially prepared freeze dried and frozen food is available for those not inclined to cooking for their dog every day. If you are interested in learning more about getting your dog on a raw food diet, check out this unbiased article as a starting place: http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/raw-dog-food-dietary-concerns-benefits-and-risks
- Eat Cheese! There’s not shortage of cheese in the world, particularly cheddar cheese. Eating cheese drops the pH level in the mouth which helps fight plaque and protects tooth enamel. Cheddar cheese contains the highest levels of alkali making it the best cheese for attaining better pH levels in the oral cavity.
- Yogurt or Kefir Yogurt contains active cultures and when added to your dog’s food over time can reduce the potency of the odor-causing hydrogen sulfide in your dog’s mouth and will create an inhospitable environment for those stinky bacteria. Give your dog plain yogurt (no strawberry or tiramisu varieties) with active cultures, or better yet Greek yogurt or kefir. You can combine it with your dog’s food. To learn more about yogurt and how to choose a good product for your dog or cat you can check out this article: http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/07/dairy-products-cheese-kefir-yogurt-are.html
HERBS & SPICES THAT FRESHEN BREATH
- Look no further than your kitchen cabinet or fridge for breath freshening herbs & spices! Many have germicidal properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Just finely chop the fresh herb and add them to your dog’s food. To make it bind with the food (if feeding dry) you can toss the herbs and kibble with a little olive oil.
- Parsley is excellent for digestion and for sweetening breath.
- SAGE – The antiseptic properties in sage help reduce oral bacteria when the leaf is rubbed over the teeth.
- Cilantro/ Coriander is a wonderful natural ways to clean teeth, stimulate gums and freshen breath.
- Cinnamon (Ceylon Cinnamon) – Sprinkle it on your dogs food. Dogs love the taste of cinnamon, so ground cinnamon can be sprinkled on top of your dog’s food. It helps dissolve food particles and aids with the digestion of food.
- Mint, Peppermint and Spearmint are natural breath fresheners. Just chop the fresh herb up into fine particles and sprinkle into your dog’s food. if they’re small enough your dog might not even notice. But if you have a picky eater, and you’re feeding dry food, then toss the food and mint with some olive oil so it binds together.
- Homeopathy, Essential Oils & Other Natural Treatments
- Colloidal Silver. Silver is thought to make the immune system more active and thereby more effective at killing bacteria and fending off disease.. Use a cotton ball to gently apply colloidal silver water or gel to the affected areas of the gum.
- STRAWBERRIES! Fragaria Vesca 30X , is a homeopathic remedy which is made from strawberries and used for softening and removing tartar and dental plaque off teeth. Fragaria Vesca prevents formation of calculi while softening and helping to remove tartar from teeth.
- Vitamin C. A deficiency of vitamin C in the diet can lead to gingivitis, periodontal disease and a reduction in the body’s ability to fight infection. Mix some warm water with ½ tsp of powdered vitamin C (or grind-up vitamin C tablets to create a powder; Use the liquid to brush your dog’s teeth.)
- ENZYMES work by attacking the bacteria on the teeth and mouth, and reducing the buildup of tartar. Enzyme-enhanced products include water additives, mouthwashes,gels and toothpastes.
The following tips were provided by Karen, the Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer, who is an amazing wealth of information. http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.ca/
- COCONUT OIL Bad breath odor in dogs can be reduced or even eliminated by adding a couple of spoonfuls of organic virgin coconut oil to their food (also good for a healthy coat and skin, and helps with digestion). How? The lauric acid in coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties that attack bad breath and gum disease causing bacteria.
- Make a Tincture! Using a cotton swab, gently and generously apply tincture of Oregon Grape, or Myrrh or, Goldenseal to your dog’s gums. This will inhibit the growth of bacteria that causes plaque and tartar. In addition to being antiseptic, Goldenseal, Myrrh and Oregon grape also stimulate new tissue growth of the gums.
- Use Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
- Dampen a tooth brush with a little warm water;
- Dip the brush in baking soda (just a little soda is required – do not load the brush with soda);
- Gently brush your dog’s or cat’s teeth – baking soda is an abrasive so do not apply pressure when brushing.
- Tip provided by http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.ca/
- Baking Soda and Ceylon Cinnamon
- In a glass combine 1 tsp of baking soda with 1/8 tsp of cinnamon;
- Mix the soda and cinnamon;
- Dampen a tooth brush with a little warm water;
- Dip the brush in the cinnamon/baking soda powder mix (just a little is required – do not load the brush with soda);
- Gently brush your dog’s or cat’s teeth – baking soda is an abrasive so do not apply pressure when brushing.
Ceylon Cinnamon, Kefir and Honey
To relieve your dog’s oral discomfort…make a paste of:
- 1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon powder;
- 1 tsp Kefir (optional)
- 5 tsps Manuka Honey.
- Apply the paste to the aching tooth. You may apply this paste up to 3 times per day until the pain is arrested.
Coconut Oil & Oregano
- 2 to 3 drops of oil of oregano, with;
- 2 tsp of coconut oil;
- Mix thoroughly;
- Use a cotton ball to gently apply the mixture to the affected areas of the gum.
- Stick out your tongue. Lots of gross stuff lives on your dog’s tongue. There are specially designed tongue scrapers just for dogs. Just search online for ‘tongue scraper for dogs’
- Scrape it off! Specially designed tooth scalers for dogs help you remove plaque and tartar build-up thus removing the obvious culprits of bad breath.
- Hard Biscuits and Cookies scrape along and under teeth to help clean away plaque and massage the gum-line adn the chewing actions helps to dislodge food particles just make sure there the treats are sugar free. Your dog will love you. Check out these cookies from The Dog Bakery: http://www.thedogbakery.com/products/barkers-dozen
- Homemade Cookies! If you prefer to make your own be sure to add cinnamon! Cinnamon is non-toxic to dogs and cats and helps to eliminate bad breath causing bacteria in the mouth.
- Last but not least…drool
DROOLING DOG! Believe it or not, both excessive drooling and not enough salivation can be issues that contribute to bad breath.
Dogs that don’t salivate much and eat dry food can end up with dental concerns. Since there is not moisture in their mouth there is nothing to wash the bacteria away after eating. Remedy this by add some chicken stock to the food bowl.
Excessive drooling can be the result of tooth abscesses, fractured teeth, oral infections and inflammation. Take your dog to the vet immediately!
Disclaimer: This free guide is being provided as a public service. It is very important to understand that the information contained in this guide does not replace the advice of your veterinarian. If you have concerns about the health of your pet, please seek the advice of your veterinarian. Only your veterinarian can make an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition and then provide you with the best course of action for your situation.
You can download a pdf of the guide by clicking below