What's That Smell? Why Your Dog Has Bad Breath

If your dog suddenly has breath that could stop a truck, it might need more than a breath mint. Bad breath can be a sign of serious health issues, especially if you've ruled out things like garbage eating, or cat box raiding. If you've tried everything, and your dog still has bad breath, it's time to talk to the veterinarian. Your dog could be suffering from one of the health conditions described below.


If your dog has a sinus infection, it could be at an increased risk for developing bad breath. This happens for a couple of reasons. First, if your dogs sinuses are clogged, it will need to breathe through it's mouth more. When that happens, it won't produce enough saliva to keep wash away the bad breath germs. Second, sinus infections can cause mucus to drip down the back of the throat, leading to a buildup of bacteria that can cause bad breath. If your dog has been sniffling and sneezing, or it sounds congested, schedule an appointment with the vet. It could be suffering from sinusitis or a sinus infection.

Kidney Disease

If your dogs breath has started smelling like a toilet, or more specifically, like urine, it could be in the early stages of kidney disease. This is particularly true if you've noticed other unusual symptoms such as a loss of appetite, a change in the amount of water it drinks, or the number of times it urinates each day. As the kidneys deteriorate, they can cause a variety of health problems, including bad breath. If your dog is exhibiting any of the signs described above, or has become tired and weak, you need to take it to the veterinarian for an exam.

Liver Disease

If your dogs bad breath is accompanied by yellowing of its eyes or gums, severe vomiting, or weight loss, it may be suffering from liver disease. Watch it for a couple of days. If the symptoms get worse, or your dog begins to lose its appetite, or is experiencing muscle weakness, a trip to the veterinarian is called for.

Gum Disease

Canine gum disease is another reason why your dog may have developed bad breath. Gum disease can be particularly dangerous for your dog. It can lead to heart disease, and it can cause damage to your dogs internal organs, such as the kidney and liver. Look at your dogs gums. If they're red and swollen, or if you can see a greenish discharge from around the gum line, your dog's bad breath is probably caused by gum disease.

Contact a vet hospital, like Healthy Paws Veterinary Hospital & Housecalls, for more help.