3 Reasons Your Dog Might Have Bad Breath

We all love our dogs. While for some, they are their registered emotional support animal which can be taken around the world, for others, they are a part of their family and considered as an equal. Either way, they are loved by all. But we’re kidding ourselves if we don’t admit at least most of us have spotted their bad breath at one point in time or another.

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.

3 Reasons Your Dog Might Have Bad Breath

What Bad Breath Might Mean

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.

3 Reasons Your Dog Might Have Bad Breath

How a dog’s breath could reveal diabetes

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.

Kidney Disease

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.

3 Reasons Your Dog Might Have Bad Breath

How a dog’s breath could reveal kidney disease

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 discolour 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 wellbeing 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”

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