A big, sloppy smooch from your puppy can be very sweet unless it comes with a smelly breath. Unlike normal puppy breath, this unpleasant odor can easily “perfume” the whole room and make you gasp for fresh air.

So, why does my puppy’s breath stink? While there are many reasons, the most common one is that your puppy ate something stinky. But if your puppy’s bad breath doesn’t go away, it can indicate health problems. In that case, the best you could do is take a trip to the vet. Let’s learn more on the topic:

What’s a Normal Puppy Breath Like?

Puppy breath is hard to define since everyone associates smell with different things. Still, many dog owners describe it as a sweet, pleasant aroma that unfortunately doesn’t last long enough. They often associate this intoxicating smell with optimism, innocence, happiness, and joy.

In contrast, others don’t appreciate puppy breath and even find it a bit sour. It’s always been a controversial question, but who are we to judge?

Puppy breath results from a combination of multiple factors. In essence, puppies have a sweet-scented breath because:

  • They have clean teeth.
  • They drink their mother’s milk.
  • Certain bacteria are present in their mouths.

So, when does puppy breath go away? Enjoy it while you can. It usually lasts only during the first few months of life. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your dog’s breath will go from smelling great to awful in a split second. And if that still happens, you should find out the reason.

Causes of Bad Breath in Puppies

So why does my puppy’s breath stink? While some of the possible reasons can be pretty serious, they usually aren’t. You’ll likely cure the stink in no time.

Although many dog ​​owners think bad puppy breath is normal, it really isn’t. It shows you that something isn’t quite right with your pet and needs attention.

Here are the possible causes of bad breath in dogs:


The number one reason why a puppy’s breath may have a metallic smell is teething. Some dog owners worry when it happens, but there’s no need.

Bad teething breath is usually temporary and ends when all the teeth erupt. The following timeline shows some of the essential puppy teething facts:

  • By week two, baby teeth start to erupt.
  • Around week five or six, all baby teeth are out.
  • During weeks 12–16, baby teeth start falling out.
  • By the end of the sixth month, all permanent teeth erupt.

But why does puppy breath smell when teething? That’s because the gums can bleed a bit during teething, and a warm, moist environment is perfect for bacteria growth.

It’s a pretty common cause of the issue. But if bad puppy breath during teething continues after the teeth erupt, it could indicate an underlying health condition.

Eating Habits

Puppies love to explore. But during their little adventures, they often ingest stinky things like garbage, dead animals, or poop.

They get into everything, but the good news is that it’s only temporary. Stinky puppy breath will go away within several hours of eating something bad, and everything will be back to normal.

Hygiene and Dental Issues

Another common reason for bad breath in puppies is poor oral hygiene, leading to periodontal disease

Bad breath is caused by bacteria that develop from plaque and tartar build-up. Aside from periodontal disease, oral tumors and abscessed teeth can also leave your puppy with smelly breath.

Mouth Injury

While teething, puppies tend to chew on everything, so mouth injuries are pretty common. But pieces of sticks and splinters from broken bones can cause oral tissue trauma, leading to an infection that causes bad breath.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Smelly puppy breath can go beyond the mouth as underlying digestive problems can also cause it. A well-balanced diet can help prevent a bad odor from the GI tract, so make sure to provide high-quality food for your pup.

Respiratory Problems

Bad breath can also be a side effect of respiratory infections. You can notice it when your puppy exhales or coughs. If you’re worried about your dog’s health, book an appointment with your vet.


If your dog’s breath smells sweet and fruity, diabetes is a possible diagnosis. Despite being a serious condition, the good news is you can do a lot to ease the symptoms. Other signs you should look for include frequent urination and water drinking.

Kidney Disease

Unless your dog ate some, if puppy breath stinks like urine or poop, that might indicate kidney issues. If a dog’s kidneys don’t work properly, toxins and waste materials could build up, causing unpleasant smells and other problems.

Liver Disease

Like the kidneys, the liver filters the blood from toxins. If you notice your dog has bad breath all of a sudden, and it’s accompanied by vomiting, lack of appetite, or diarrhea, you should take it to the vet clinic as soon as possible.

Remedies for Bad Breath

If your puppy’s breath smells like skunk, you’re probably wondering about the best remedies. Here’s what you can do to fight its bad breath:

A dog playing with dental chew

Dental Chews

Puppy dental chews can help improve teeth health and even freshen the breath. Recommended and accepted by the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council), Greenies Natural Dental Dog Treats on Amazon are a perfect option for your beloved pet.

Regular Teeth Brushing 

The best dog bad breath remedy, besides dental chews, is regular teeth brushing. Ideally, you have to brush your puppy’s teeth daily, but a minimum of three times per week is also fine.

The list of puppy essentials may be long, but investing in dog-safe toothpaste is always a great idea. Even though brushing may seem like a struggle at first, it’s necessary. Good oral hygiene will certainly help with bad breath. We recommend Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste on Amazon.

A Balanced Diet

Another way to fix dogs’ bad breath is a healthy, well-balanced diet. Feeding your puppy nutritionally balanced meals with top-quality ingredients will ensure a strong immune system.

You can also supplement your puppy’s diet with probiotics. The benefits of dog probiotics go far beyond regulating constipation and diarrhea. They also keep oral bacteria balanced and the puppy’s breath smell fresh.

Natural Remedies — Parsley & Carrots

If you want to learn how to improve dog breath more naturally, the good news is that some herbs and vegetables can do the trick. Carrots and parsley are two great solutions for a dog’s bad breath. Still, keep in mind that spring parsley is toxic to dogs, and make sure to avoid it.

Tips for Handling Stinky Puppy Breath

Even owners who absolutely adore their dogs sometimes struggle with a puppy’s breath that smells like skunk. Let’s explore a few ways to handle it: 

Keep the Trash Away

Restrict your puppy’s access to trash, and it will stop eating it. If your dog loves unsupervised snacking, securing your trash can by keeping it in a cabinet is a simple solution. Another great option is training your puppy to stay away from stinky temptation.

Provide Fresh Water and Clean the Bowl

Providing your puppy with fresh water daily and cleaning its water bowl can prevent stinky breath, too. Other than that, if a puppy breath smells bad, you should consider Oxyfresh Pet Dental Water Additive on Amazon. By adding additives to your pet’s water, you’ll eliminate harmful plaque and kill bacteria.

Regular Vet Check-Ups

Sometimes the best product for a dog’s bad breath is a trip to the vet. No matter how seriously you take your puppy’s at-home dental care, regular vet check-ups are necessary. Prevention is better than cure, so try not to avoid them.


Although sweet-scented puppy breath doesn’t last forever, that doesn’t necessarily mean your dog must have bad breath as it gets older. Finding out the cause is half the job.

So why does my puppy’s breath stink? If your pet’s teething or has just eaten something bad, it’s normal to have a smelly breath. Prevention is always better than cure, so make sure to keep its pearly whites in good condition.

By regularly brushing your puppy’s teeth and providing dental chews, freshwater, and a balanced diet, you can improve your dog’s breath smell. But if the foul odor doesn’t go away, you better visit the vet sooner rather than later.

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