Bad Breath in Dogs

The causes and treatments of a dog’s bad breath.


Infectious disease: Periodontal disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis. Distemper, leptospirosis, and other diseases that cause oral ulcers or inflammation of lips, mouth tissues, or tongue.

Foreign bodies: Plant awns, fiberglass, bones caught between teeth.

Tumors: On gums, palate, or tongue.

Non-infectious/Acquired disease: Kidney disease, which can cause oral ulcers, or diabetes.

Irritation/Inflammation: From plants (dieffenbachia) or chemical agents.

Toxicity: Pesticides (metaldehyde, phosphorus).

What to do: Most cases of bad breath are not emergencies, but your dog still needs veterinary care. Call your veterinarian during regular office hours to make an appointment for diagnosis and treatment. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog is unusually distressed or shows signs of illness that seem to be getting worse.

Disclaimer:’s Dog Medical Conditions are intended for educational purposes only. They are not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your dog’s ailment. If you notice changes in your dog’s health or behavior, please take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

Have a health question about your dog? Ask our 
vet expert or ask other dog owners on our forums.


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Barbie Golding   Phoenix, Arizona

7/7/2015 1:51:28 AM

I have two kids (chihuahaus) and their toe nails are getting too long but, when I want to cut them they act as though Im killing them, I dont want to put them under that severe stress, in fear that i might give them a heart attack, Is their some kind of sedative I could give them so they can relax and not freak-out? Also it would have to be one that is safe. sincerely Barbie

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

1/4/2013 5:20:07 AM

When I brush my dogs teeth I also brush her tongue and her breath is always fine.

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Jane   Sacramento, CA

5/19/2012 11:55:56 PM

Great information.

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Ina   Mercer, ME

2/15/2012 11:55:54 AM

Would a medical condition cause my recently acquired 10 year old Australian Terrier dog to defecate two or three times during the night in the house?

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