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Dog’s Breath Smells Like Poop [How to Prevent]


If our dogs are the same, your dog may constantly crave attention too. Mine has the habit of forever sticking her little face into mine. We quickly noticed that she had bad breath.

At first, we thought it was her food that made the dog’s breath smell like poop. After changing her diet, the problem persisted. We tried products to freshen her breath, but that was only a quick fix.

Stumped, we went to the vet. Shockingly, he informed us there were underlying problems, and if not treated immediately, it may shorten our dog’s life considerably.

Cindy Grant

What to Consider if Your Dog's Breath Smells Like Poop

Let’s review common explanations for canine halitosis:

“Poopy” Chow

All dogs lick their bits and sniff the derrieres of others. Your large dog may also like taking a drink from the toilet. Besides that, a good reason why your dog’s breath smells like poop is because your dog may eat poop.

Coprophagia is common among many species. In households with several dogs, it has been found that pooches are more likely to develop this habit. There are ways you can stop your dog from eating poop. Motives for your pooch snacking on poop are:

  • Moms and puppies
    New mothers will encourage her litter by licking them, and when cleaning, she would automatically consume their fecal matter. Puppies may also eat their own poop and the feces of other animals. This is only a passing phase which lasts about 9 months.
  • Malnutrition
    Malnourished dogs may eat poop, particularly if the feces contain undigested food.
  • Stress
    Just like us, dogs may feel stressed, which could cause them to start eating poop. For example, when you are moving house, they are being adopted by a new family or there is a disruption in routine.
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Stress could lead your dog eat poop

While the occasional poop meal is relatively harmless (especially if it is your dog’s own) you may need to start worrying if your dog eats other animals’ droppings. Your dog might contract diseases, parasites, contaminants and other nasty things.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Your pup may develop halitosis because of bad oral hygiene. Tartar can cause gingivitis and periodontitis if bacteria start growing. Even something stuck in your dog’s oral cavity could cause abscesses or inflamed gums. Check your dog’s mouth regularly to see if his/her teeth and gums are healthy.

Your Dog’s Diet

Often, your dog might have unpleasant breath if something they are eating simply doesn't agree with him/her. The food could be causing a buildup of gas. Try changing what you feed him/her, including dog food brands.


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Dogs with long hair around the snout are at risk of bad breath

A Dogs breath that smells like poop is not necessarily related to any particular breed, but there are contributing factors. Dogs with long hair around the snout, or inbred pets prone to getting sick, may be at risk of developing bad breath more often.


How to Stop It


You should teach your dog from a young age to get used to brushing. For older dogs, make sure they get used to you examining their mouth first.

You can then gradually introduce them to a toothbrush and the toothpaste, before beginning to brush their teeth. Brush your dog’s teeth for short periods of time, increasing the time as the get used to it.

  • Pro Tip
    Canines are creatures of habit, so develop a brushing routine. This could be daily or 2-3 times a week depending on your dog’s overall oral health.
  • What You Need
    - A small/large toothbrush depending on your dog’s size. In the beginning, you may want to use a trainer brush
    - Toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste. Buy one that is made for dogs and in a flavor (like poultry) that your dog will like
  • How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth:

STEP 1: Apply a small amount of toothpaste onto the toothbrush. The size of a pea is recommended. Remember you can always add more as you brush.

STEP 2: Lift your dog’s upper lip and start brushing the front teeth and the gum line. Do this in a steady and slow circular motion. Always brush gently because brushing too hard will both hurt your dog and cause injury to the gums especially if they are already in a bad shape.

STEP 3: Move on to the side teeth. The easiest way is to first use the brush in a straight line from back to front along the gum line. You can then move down and start brushing the outer back teeth softly using small circular movements.

Ideally, you would want to brush the one side for about 30 seconds. Apply more toothpaste and repeat on the other side.

STEP 4: There is no need to brush the inside of your dog’s teeth. Your dogs licking will ensure that his/her teeth will be effectively cleaned for there. No rinsing is necessary either. Canine toothpaste is safe to be digested.

STEP 5: Always reward your dog with a treat after brushing. You need to do this as well if you are still building up to full brushing. The experience must be fun for your pet and they will willingly cooperate if being rewared a treat for their participation.

Chewies and Food

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Dogs' producing saliva through chewing can make their breath better

Various dog foods, especially the premium brands, are easier to digest. Doggy treats and certain toys also have benefits in regards to oral hygiene.

The idea is to actually help the dog produce saliva through chewing as the natural enzymes break down plaque. The more plaque builds up, the more opportunity it creates for bacteria to thrive, particularly at the gum line.

Other Oral Products

Gels, mouthwashes, and additives that you mix with their drinking water will assist in promoting better oral hygiene. It can help with mucus, food residue and saliva from forming a film inside the mouth. 

Bacteria may also be eliminated which help your dog from getting infections. Sprays which aren’t antibacterial only mask with the smell and is a short-term solution. Besides, not many pups may be fond of peppermint or spearmint.


When to Visit a Vet

Your dog should be at the vet for regular checkups. This will help to identify any other health problems as soon as possible. If one of the reasons mentioned earlier is not why your dog’s breath smells like poop, a visit to the vet is vital.

It may be recommended that your dog needs professional teeth cleaning or must have rotten teeth extracted which are all done under anesthesia. Other bad or odd breath smells that can indicate a specific health issue are:

  • If your dog’s breath smells like pee, this may be an indication of kidney problems
  • Diabetes could cause your dog’s breath to smell fruity or even sweet

If your dog has any of the following symptoms, in addition to persistent bad breath, it is imperative to take him/her to the vet without delay. Underlying problems could also be lethal and concern areas like the gastrointestinal tract, tonsils, liver, lungs, sinus and more.

This could also be the result of some sickness, viral infection, or even cancer. Gum disease can also affect many of your pet’s organs adversely.

  • Weight loss
  • Little/no appetite
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Extreme drooling
  • Continuous pawing of the mouth area
  • Yellow corneas or gums
  • Swollen and/or bleeding gums
  • Compulsive chewing or licking of the nose
  • Teeth that have fallen out or are broken

If your dog’s breath smells like poop we hope that you have found out why and have been able to fix it. Some of these steps will not only help with this particular problem but will promote the overall wellbeing of your dog.

Please remember that your furry friend does require regular checkups at the vet and that you shouldn’t wait until there is a problem before you take him/her. With a fresh breath and a clean bill of health, you and your best friend can spend so much more good times together.

If you enjoyed this piece and found it helpful please share with your friends. Additionally, if you have a useful tip in regards to how you dealt with this kind of problem, feel free to comment on NolongerWild.com.

About the Author Cindy Grant

A pet lover from Boston, USA who is extremely passionate about all cute little pets, especially puppies, kittens and birds. I created NolongerWild as a community where all pet lovers around the world can meet and share their passion with each other.

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