Why has my senior dog got bad breath

Why has my senior dog got bad breath?

Last Updated: August 20, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Poor dental hygiene is the main cause of nasty dog breath. Dogs eat at least once or twice daily, and without regular cleaning, plaque and tartar (dental calculus) can build upon their teeth. A combination of salts present in saliva and a collection of bacteria that live on food in the mouth. There should be no extreme concern when the buildup is just on the top of the teeth, but it can become a much bigger problem if it gets into the gums.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Why has my senior dog got bad breath?“.

Our pets are very important to us and we do our best to keep them healthy and happy throughout their lives. Since our dogs are so energetic and curious as young puppies it seems they can do almost anything without suffering too many serious consequences. Those seemingly invincible qualities begin to fade as they grow older. They become frail and brittle. In order to continue providing them with the love and care they deserve we must learn to adapt accordingly.

Why has my senior dog got bad breath

Similarly to humans as dogs age they become more susceptible to numerous unwelcome health issues. One of the most common illnesses and conditions your pooch is likely to suffer is halitosis. We have all had those moments when playing with our fluff balls is going perfectly fine until they get right up in our faces with stinky dog breath. Odors can sometimes be mildly unpleasant but can often reach an unbearable level. Unfortunately this is a reality for many people. The smell of a dogs breath often gets worse as it ages. Its not necessarily unavoidable though. Your hounds can have the best dental hygiene you can afford with a little extra care.

What are the causes of bad breath in dogs?

Poor dental hygiene is the main cause of nasty dog breath. Dogs eat at least once or twice daily and without regular cleaning plaque and tartar (dental calculus) can build upon their teeth. 

A combination of salts present in saliva and a collection of bacteria that live on food in the mouth. 

There should be no extreme concern when the buildup is just on the top of the teeth but it can become a much bigger problem if it gets into the gums. 

Inflammation and gum disease can result from the bacteria build-up in the gums. It can also continue on into the sockets of the teeth and even worse it can spread into the bone and cause a serious infection (osteomyelitis). 

Infection of the gums might not seem that serious but if left untreated the bacteria can travel to the bloodstream and cause kidney problems heart disease blood poisoning and even septic shock. 

In addition to the possibility of severe conditions arising an infection can cause a great deal of pain for your pet and may result in a loss of appetite. It is possible to determine your dogs overall dental health by how bad their breath smells.

It is possible for poor doggy breath to simply be caused by something getting lodged in their teeth and rotting. 

It is not uncommon for dogs to scavenge for strange foreign objects in the garden or around the house. While some dogs enjoy eating dead rats birds and sometimes even feces others suffer from something called pica. 

They tend to eat almost anything that catches their eye regardless of whether it resembles food or not. In any case if you find that your dogs breath emits an unpleasant odor make sure that nothing is decomposing in their teeth.

Aside from metabolic disorders such as renal failure and diabetes the foul breath may also occur as a side effect of metabolic problems. If your dog suffers from kidney failure the odor from his mouth might be metallic-smelling. Since the kidneys are not working properly numerous toxins collect that would otherwise be filtered out. The smell of diabetes can vary from person to person. Sugar excess in the blood may cause your breath to smell sweeter. Bacteria thrive on sugar causing the smell to have a sour note due to excessive bacterial growth.

Halitosis can also be caused by respiratory problems. There can be pus in the nose from nasal infections tumors and sinusitis (a mixture of blood bacteria and decaying white blood cells). It can easily spread to the throat and produce an unpleasant odor. Vomiting and other digestive problems can also contribute to bad breath. If you suspect that your dogs digestive system is having an adverse reaction to their food you might want to try changing their diet. Your hounds stinky breath may also be a result of dehydration a simple but often overlooked factor.

What are some of the ways you can improve your dog’s smelly breath?

Less threatening conditions can usually be treated at home aside from more serious conditions that will require professional medical advice from your veterinarian. 

To maintain the dental health of your pooch you can take some basic steps. Try to brush your dogs teeth at least twice or three times a week if you can not brush them every day. Donot use toothpaste from human beings! Browse the market and see what toothpastes are available for dogs such as Petsmile.

In order to dislodge any bits of food or plaque along the gum line brush down and away from the gum line. If you are having trouble getting your dog to cooperate while you are brushing its teeth you may want to ask someone to help you. 

If you’re still having trouble you should consult your pet groomers. They’ll likely offer teeth cleanings as part of their services.

The best way to clear up the gunk on your dogs teeth is with rawhide special dental treats as well as certain chew toys. 

Even if you can not afford regular groomer visits sneaking doggy toothpaste into a treat or chew toy can be a useful way of applying toothpaste and the treat or toy will also act like a toothbrush to remove some of the plaque. In addition to its antibacterial properties parsley can impart a refreshing herbal touch to your dogs breath making it a helpful tool for fighting bad breath. 

For dogs suffering from stomach problems such as indigestion ginger tea is another option. Add a few pieces of ginger to some boiling water let the water cool remove the ginger and see if your dog is willing to try it. If they do not seem to be too interested you may have to disguise the tea as part of their normal meal.

There are also dental sealants and water additives that could help. Adding special water additives to your dogs water can combat nasty breath and might be an easy way to keep bacteria from growing since you only have to add them to the water. Another option is to apply dental sealants such as SANOS which can help prevent plaque from adhering to your teeth and gum line.

It has also been suggested that yogurt can help your dogs breath smell better. You should use plain (regular) yogurt if you’re going to try this recipe. Sugar alternatives such as Xylitol should be avoided as they can be deadly for dogs. You should not need to add more than one or two teaspoons to your dogs regular meal. Check to make sure your dog can handle dairy products as he or she may be lactose intolerant. As many experts maintain that animals and humans are not designed to consume milk beyond a certain point in their development this is a controversial option.


You should always make sure your dog receives appropriate care from your veterinarian on a regular basis. This will allow you to identify whether your pets bad breath is caused by gingivitis or if it is a sign of a potentially more serious health condition.

Ensure your dog is getting the right nutrients from his diet by providing high-quality food. Similar to humans halitosis can be caused by dehydration so keep a fresh water supply available throughout the day for your beloved animals.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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