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Why might your dog have bad breath?

Written by Zoey Brooks


Posted on October 23 2018

Puppy Kisses

Does your dogs breath just make you want to gag? Bad breath in dogs can be for all kinds of reasons. If your dog is healthy maybe try some bad breath doggie mints. We have a recipe here

Even if you have a dental care regime in place for your dog, persistent, changing bad breath could be a sign of an underlying health problem.


Most often, bad breath is caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar.

Establishing a daily routine at home of brushing teeth and regularly chewing toys or treats designed specifically to help a dog maintain healthy teeth and gums, will help to keep teeth free of plaque and tartar.

However in other cases, bad breath - or specifically breath which changes smell- could be a sign that something deeper is going on and the new smell could be a key sign of exactly what.

Here are two main health problems that persistent, changing bad breath could be a sign of, according to Jo Moyes.

She investigated the subject for us after discovering that her 9 year old Golden Retriever, Daisy, could be at risk of developing diabetes and that her dog’s breath could be a key symptom.


Diabetes is a disease that’s on the rise, sadly.

Some vets suggest that diabetes may be more common in overweight or female dogs who risk developing after the age of 6, while others say a dog’s breed may leave them predisposed. My dog, Daisy, is a Golden Retriever, and one of the breeds predisposed to risk.

Diabetes can be more common in older dogs and because of this, often owners mistake their dog toileting inside as being a result of their age, when in fact it can be one of the most common symptoms of diabetes in dogs.


If a dog has diabetes, another common sign is that their breath may smell a sweeter than usual. This is because of the ketones building up in their bloodstream.”

Read more about the symptoms of diabetes here.


Just like us, a dog’s kidneys carry out many important tasks. They help to remove toxins, regulate blood pressure and maintain a balanced metabolism.

Any condition which stops the kidneys working in their normal fashion is referred to kidney or renal disease.

Kidney disease is classified in two ways; acute and chronic.


If a dog’s breath smells of ammonia, it could be a sign of kidney disease. This is because when a dog’s kidneys fail, toxins such as ammonia and nitrogen can build up in their bodies.

A number of other signs of kidney disease are also shown through a dog’s mouth - for example, their tongue can discolor and turn brown, a dog’s teeth may loosen and they may develop mouth ulcers.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s health and well-being as a result of bad breath, contact your vet for a check-up.

Prit Powar, Head of Pet Insurance at Direct Line, says, “If you are in need of medication for any of the above, online pet pharmacies can offer significant discounts on the prices charged by some veterinary surgeries.

"The average pet insurance claim for a dog last year was more than £1,200, and we appreciate that whilst owners love their animals, they will continue to seek value when treatment is needed. As a result, we have teamed up with Pet Drugs Online to help our customers get the best value from their insurance policy limits”

-This article was seen on K9 Magazine. 



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