Kidney Disease, Diabetes Can Cause Dogs’ Bad Breath

Look beyond dental problems to solve bad breath in dogs.


Q. My healthy 2-year-old Coton de Tulear has the world’s worst breath. Truly, he smells like he is full of dead fish! I have other dogs, so I understand dog breath. He just went for his physical exam, and the vet tells me that he is perfectly healthy. His teeth are also fine. The vet suggested changing his dog food, but he wasn’t convinced that would change the breath issue. Are there any safe additives to his diet that would neutralize his breath? Help!

A. I find myself starting to gag just reading about the mouthful of dead fish your dog carries around. Hopefully he is not too generous with his licks and kisses!
Numerous products can help your dog’s breath, assuming there is no underlying disease.

In addition to dental disease, two other diseases cause bad breath. Most likely, you and your veterinarian would see other signs of either of these diseases. DKA, or severe diabetes, causes a change in breath due to a change in metabolism. The other disease that can cause foul breath is kidney failure, which leads to a buildup of uremic toxins in the bloodstream. Both of these can be ruled out with routine blood screening tests.
Greenies, mint-flavored CET Rawhide Chews, and other similar products will all help freshen your dog’s breath, and at the same time help maintain dental health due to the products’ scraping, abrasive qualities. A dry diet will help promote fresher breath as well. Sprinkling some ground mint leaves on his food certainly would not hurt.
Good luck and thank you for your question.


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JoAnne   Raccoon, KY

12/6/2011 10:43:23 AM

My mini schnauzer has very bad breath. I have had his teeth cleaned and brush his teeth nothing helps. The vet can not find any health problems. So please can you help me. He eats dry food. I have resorted to ordering the plaque spay nothing has helped.

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Martine   Sleepy Hollow, IL

11/22/2010 10:17:04 AM

My 3 years old female jack russell terrier was taken to the vet for a probable urinary infetion. The heavy duty antibiotic did not help...we had a 2nd urine sample no cloudiness, no crystals, slight wbc count..nothing to be alarmed about, however urine was slightly diluted. Today Smores had a urinary, bladder, kidney ultrasound. They said the kidneys looked slightly irregular and would get a culture and see if it grows which would be a good sign and can be treated with the correct antibiotic or it would be kidney disease, not treatable, just mainted with meds, we caught this early on and she is only 3..any advice. Or anything you could advise me on. We are heartbroken after losing our pomeranian 5 years ago due to old age. This is our first health related issue. We are all devastated..however my 12 yr old daughter will be crushed
Please give me your thoughts!

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Brittany   Boulder, CO

5/19/2010 2:55:54 PM

My boxer was diagnosed with kidney disease a few years ago, however she is still alive today because of a kidney support package I got from Ask Ariel! asp?ItemID=cat-kidney-disease-crf-treatment

If anyone's pets have the same problem mine did, try this! It really works wonders!

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cheryl   winamac, IN

1/6/2010 2:38:22 PM

i have 2 maltepoos 14 mo. old.they both have had fish breath for a month now.the only change i'v made is switching from frontline to biospot which almost killed them.after reading your comments i wonder if it has caused a kidney problem? still not outa the woods.

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