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What's causing my dog's bad breath?

Dr Pete Wedderburn / 19 June 2018

A reader wonders why her dog's breath is always bad, despite having no tooth problems.

Dog with bad breath
A dog's bad breath can be caused by more than rotten teeth


My dog’s breath is terrible but my vet says there is nothing wrong with her teeth. What could be causing it?


Halitosis in dogs is commonly caused by three issues. Dental problems are most common so it’s good that the vet has ruled this out. Lip fold infections are also often to blame, especially in breeds with droopy lips (e.g. spaniels), but the vet would have spotted this.

The remaining possibility is that the odour comes from her stomach, due to digestive gases. Put her onto a new diet, choosing a “highly digestible” product: you will find premium-type foods like this at your vet’s, and in pet shops. They are pricier, but their high quality means that your dog should thrive on such a diet, and her breath should smell sweeter.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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