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I share my life with a pack of very loving dogs who love to kiss – and because I don’t want to hurt anyone by rejecting a sloppy hickey, I’m motivated to keep their mouths healthy and free from bad breath. Over the years, I’ve found a few home remedies for bad breath that really work.
1. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly.
Bad dog breathing is not normal. In fact, poor dog breathing is a sign of an unhealthy mouth. Untreated, diseased teeth and gums quickly lead to life-threatening health problems. So please brush your dog’s teeth regularly – at least once a week.
If you have a dog with a small, dented face, or a brachycephalic dog like a Shih Tzu, you really need to brush these teeth every day as the conformation of their small mouths makes them particularly prone to tooth decay. Add treats to your pets so they can associate tooth torture with tasty treats, and use toothpaste made only for dogs. Pick a paste with a flavor you really like – vanilla-flavored triple-pet toothpaste and tea tree oil are a great choice ($ 6.23, Chewy).
2. Teeth chewing helps keep bad dog breath at bay – just know which one to choose.
When you give a delicious tooth chew, your dog is helping you do some of the work to prevent bad breath. Not all dog chews are created equal, however: look for one that contains breath-freshening chlorophyll, cinnamon, and cloves. (Don’t freak out if you notice your dog’s poop is a little greenish – that’s just the chlorophyll doing its green thing.)
3. Speaking of chlorophyll, wheatgrass is another good home remedy
I cut off some of the fresh wheatgrass I give my cats and add it to the dog food. This raw source of chlorophyll is an excellent remedy for bad breath.
4. Dogs can drink away bad dog breath, too.
Chewing isn’t the only way pets can polish their own teeth. Dogs can also pave their way to fresh-smelling breath with Healthy Mouth Dental Water, a natural cocktail of enzymes, chlorophyll, and other ingredients that help blow off bad dog breath. Just replace your puppy’s normal drinking water with wet stuff spiked with healthy mouth and you will see a difference in a matter of days as the active ingredients kill bad bacteria in the mouth.
Ouch! Deal with bad breath yourself? Check out these bad breath remedies >>
5. Probiotics are another line of defense against bad breath.
When you talk about bad bacteria, you should be sure that your dog’s mouth is colonized with beneficial bacteria well above the harmful, bad breath type. This is where probiotics come into play. When you use a probiotic that is made specifically for dogs, you will find a world of difference – not just when it comes to keeping the dog’s bad breath at bay, but when it comes to your dog’s general well-being.
(Helpful hint: probiotics are also great for keeping human breath sweet. Take them every day and you’ll see results quickly. Oragenics, maker of EvoraPet, is a great brand for pets and humans.)
6. Coconut oil can help with bad breath in your dog.
Ah, coconut oil. It not only strengthens digestive, immune and metabolic functions, but also helps fight bad breath. If you put a teaspoon over your dog’s food every day, you will soon be sniffing sweeter breath – and dogs love the taste. For them, coconut oil is a sweet treat. Some dog lovers even brush their pets’ teeth with coconut oil, which makes housework an offer even ornery canines can’t refuse!
7. Neem is another good home remedy for bad breath.
Neem (an extract of the neem tree), like coconut oil, is one of those brilliant botanicals that has many positive effects on dog (and human) health. In addition to being good for the skin and coat, neem is great for promoting oral health in dogs and humans. My dogs are on Organix-South Supercritical Neem Leaf Extract; I add a small black capsule to their food twice a week and take one myself every day.
8. Cinnamon is another common household item that helps freshen the dog’s breath.
Every time I feed my dogs, I add a pinch of breath-sweetened cinnamon to my dogs’ meals.
Thumbnail: Photography © vadimguzhva | Thinkstock.
This piece was originally released in 2015.