Has your pup ever greeted you with excited kisses, only for you to be smacked in the face with the smell of their sewage-like breath?
Many unlucky pet parents describe their dog’s breath as smelling like poop, causing them to pull away any time their pup wants to get close.
A dog’s breath may not smell like roses at all times, but it should not have an overwhelming odor similar to poop. To help you get to the bottom of your dog’s bad breath, we will discuss the possible causes of their halitosis below.
Should My Dog Have Stinky Dog Breath?
Before we dive into the details of poop breath in dogs and puppies, we should first answer the question of whether or not a dog should have stinky breath. Though your dog’s breath may not be minty fresh at all times, it shouldn’t have an odor that knocks you off your feet.
A dog with a healthy mouth should not have breath that is described as smelling like poop or feces, so a stench of this nature should always catch your attention.
If you are ever spending time around your pup and their breath is so strong that it causes you to immediately plug your nose, this is a sign that something is wrong. You may not love the smell of dog breath, but it should never be downright foul.
6 Reasons Why Your Dog’s Breath Smells Like Poop
Now that you are aware that foul breath in dogs is not normal, let’s discuss the many possible causes of poop breath in our canine friends. Ranging from poor oral hygiene to strange dietary habits, below we will discuss the potential underlying factors.
Your Dog May Have Dental Disease
The most common cause of chronic bad breath in dogs is dental disease.
Both gum disease and tooth decay can lead to overpowering fishy breath, and many pet parents even describe this scent as being similar to poop. Dogs with tartar and plaque buildup in their mouth will have an array of inflammatory bacteria present, and this bacteria often leads to a strong smell.
Aside from your dog’s breath smelling like poop, there are many other noticeable signs of dental disease as well.
Dental disease and infections can often lead to:
- Blood in their water bowl
- Blood on their chew toys or bones
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty eating kibble
- Crying out when their face is touched
- Facial swelling
If you notice any of these symptoms in your canine friend, we suggest having them seen by your vet for a dental exam.
Your Dog May Have Recently Eaten Poop
We know it sounds disgusting, but many dogs eat poop when given the chance. Whether it’s poop they encounter in your backyard or cat poop from a litter box in your home, many furry friends will choose this as their snack of choice.
If you happen to catch them immediately after their strange snack, you may notice that your pup’s bad breath smells like poop. Not only can a dog’s poop eating habits cause bad dog breath, but it is not particularly good for them.
Poop often contains an array of bacteria that can upset their stomach, and poop from the cat litter box is often coated in litter. Both options can be harmful for your dog’s gut health, so we suggest putting an end to this disgusting dietary habit from the start.
Your Dog May Have Been Vomiting
Anytime we are vomiting, most of us will immediately brush our teeth afterward due to the strange odor the vomit leaves behind. Our dog’s can’t immediately reach for a toothbrush after having a vomiting episode, causing their vomit breath to fester.
Due to this, a dog that is vomiting may have breath that smells like poop.
If your dog is vomiting to the point of having seriously bad breath because of it, we suggest reaching out to a vet for guidance. Vomiting in dogs can be a result of everything from dietary indiscretion to infectious illness, so it’s best to have them seen by a vet for care.
Your Dog May Have A Mouth Infection
If your dog’s breath smells like poop, they may be battling a mouth infection of some kind.
Mouth infections in dogs will lead to a collection of bacteria being present in their mouth, and this often comes with an overwhelming odor. Dogs can develop a mouth infection from things like dental disease, foreign bodies stuck in their mouth, mouth tumors, and mouth injuries.
These complications often mimic the signs of dental disease in dogs, but these pups will often display obvious signs of mouth discomfort.
If you think your dog could have a mouth infection, we always suggest reaching out to your veterinarian for guidance. If it is something that can be resolved easily such as a foreign object stuck in their mouth, you want to resolve the issue as fast as possible for your beloved pup.
Your Dog May Have Kidney Disease
If you have an older canine friend in your life, then your dog’s stinky breath could be a result of kidney disease.
A dog in the late stages of kidney disease can experience a toxin buildup within the body, some of which can be excreted within the mouth. These toxins can easily irritate your dog’s mouth and lead to ulcers, ultimately causing a foul smell that’s comparable to poop.
These ulcers will often get infected as well, and this will only worsen your dog’s bad breath.
If your dog’s kidney disease is serious enough to cause ulcer formations in their mouth, then they will often require aggressive medical intervention.
Other signs of kidney disease in dogs include:
- Weight loss
- Decreased appetite
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
If your dog is experiencing any of the signs of kidney disease, we always suggest having them seen by your vet as soon as possible. Some dogs can be offered more time when you intervene quickly, so it’s best to offer them care as soon as possible.
Your Dog May Have Diabetes
While this is not the case in all dogs with diabetes, some furry friends will develop bad breath that is almost sweet in nature. Most pet parents describe the smell of their breath as smelling sweet or like acetone, but it could always just smell strange enough to catch your attention.
This is often a sign of unmanaged diabetes or a complication known as diabetic ketoacidosis, which develops as a result of inadequate insulin supplies to control the dog’s climbing glucose levels. When their glucose levels are left unmanaged for extended periods, this can lead to the onset of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Signs of diabetes in dogs include weight loss, increased thirst, increased urination, increased hunger, lethargy, frequent infections, and a cloudy appearance of their eyes. If your pup is experiencing any of the symptoms of diabetes, we suggest having them assessed by your vet.
What If My Dog’s Poop Breath Isn’t Due To Dental Issues?
If your dog is having bad breath that smells like poop but their teeth are considered healthy, this could point to other underlying conditions.
As we discussed above, there are a list of health complications that can cause foul breath in our furry friends. The lack of dental disease will just mean that your vet needs to explore further, and this will typically involve many questions about their health and diagnostic blood tests.
Keep in mind that the only people that can tell you that your dog is free of dental disease is your veterinary team. The average pet owner is not trained in spotting gum inflammation and tooth decay, so we suggest having your vet take a look at their teeth before you rule out the potential of dental disease.
How Can I Cure My Dog’s Poop Breath?
The most effective way to treat bad breath that smells like poop in dogs is by taking care of their dental health.
A film of plaque sticks to our dog’s teeth each day after consuming meals, and this plaque can soon turn into tartar within 48 hours. Plaque can be removed with tooth brushing, but tartar cannot. This is why it is so important to clean your dog’s teeth each day.
The best way to manage dental disease in your dog is with daily tooth brushing, offering your pup dental chews as treats, and keeping up with any dental cleanings that your vet recommends. As long as you do this, your dog should have fresh breath in no time.
Because chronic underlying disease can also lead to bad breath in dogs, we always suggest keeping up with any annual exams and treatments that your vet recommends. By having them seen regularly by your veterinary team, you can catch developing disease before it leads to serious complications.
Frequently Asked Questions On Bad Dog Breath
How can I prevent bad breath in my dog?
The best way to prevent bad breath in dogs is by brushing their teeth every day, giving them dental chews that help to break down tartar, and by keeping up with their recommended dental cleanings every 1-2 years.
Why does my puppy’s breath smell like poop?
Puppies have a strange odor to their breath, often referred to as ‘puppy breath‘. This scent is not necessarily good, but it shouldn’t be fowl either.
If your puppy has foul breath that cannot be explained, they could have a brewing tooth complication. We suggest having them seen by a vet to rule out anything major.
Can I use human toothpaste for my dog?
No, you should only use a toothpaste made specifically for dogs. Human toothpaste can be harmful to your dog if swallowed, and it does not include the ingredients our pups need to fight dental disease. Always look for a dog approved toothpaste.