If you’re a dog parent, you already know what it’s like to go in for a smooch only to be knocked over by that wall of stink.
Whew! Doggy breath!
Dogs are notorious for their stinky breath, but it’s not always their fault. Sometimes, bad breath is simply a sign that you need to take better care of your dog’s teeth. Other times, it can be a sign of a more serious health issue for your canine counterpart.
However, most of the time bad breath can be remedied with some daily dental hygiene and good old doggy breath fresheners.
If you’re set on the canine toothbrushes and dental wipes but Fido still has you running with his breath, then keep reading.
We’re here to help you out with a long list of dog breath fresheners that work.
But First, Why Do Dogs Have Such Stinky Breath?
Just like humans, dogs get bad breath due to tartar and plaque buildup in their mouths.
To be fair, not all dogs have stinky breath. However, we don’t know many owners who haven’t complained about their dog’s less than fresh smiles.
For the most part, dog breath is unpleasant because it’s your dog’s breath. Your dog’s diet can also be a cause, as can a build-up of tartar and plaque.
Just like humans, dogs require routine dental care in order to keep their teeth and gums healthy and their breath minty fresh. (Or bacony fresh…whichever doggy toothpaste flavor your dog prefers, really).
As dog parents, we also need to take some responsibility for our dog’s stinky breath. Dogs don’t have the ability to brush their own teeth, afterall, and they rely on us not only for food, water, exercise and love, but also for all things health-related.
Sadly, dental disease (AKA Periodontal Disease) is one of the leading causes of canine health issues, according to the VCA.
And Periodontal Disease can cause much more than just stinky breath. Dogs who don’t have their teeth cared for properly are susceptible to suffering from a multitude of serious and sometimes even deadly health issues including:
- Heart Disease
- Liver Disease
- And Kidney Disease
Unfortunately, it’s tough to completely prevent early stages of Periodontal Disease. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 80% of all dogs suffer from at least the early stages of Periodontal Disease, which is basic buildup of tartar and plaque.
This is why routine dental care is so important for our furry family members, as is staying vigilant. And while it is perfectly safe to use dog breath fresheners alongside routine dog dental care, experts warn against using dog breath fresheners alone as this will just mask the odor as opposed to treating the root cause of it.
When Bad Breath Is A Sign Of Something More Serious
As we’ve previously stated, bad breath in dogs is more common than not. However, if your dog suddenly developes bad breath or his bad breath is, well, strangely bad, this could be a sign of something else going on, including:
- Advanced Stages Of Periodontal Disease
- A Foreign Object Stuck Inside Your Dog’s Mouth
- Food That Has Gotten Wedged In Your Dog’s Teeth
- A Growth Or Tumor
- Kidney Disease
- Liver Issues
You might not always be able to tell what is causing your dog’s bad breath, but experts suggest giving your dog a good oral examination and contacting your local veterinarian for a checkup if you’re concerned.
Some causes can be remedied simply by removing an old piece of food that has gotten stuck in your dog’s teeth. Other remedies include changing your dog’s diet and brushing your dog’s teeth twice daily after meals.
However, severe bad breath should be taken seriously, and your vet is your best resource to ensure your dog is healthy and any issues are caught early.
And with all that noted, let’s now move on to talk about dog breath fresheners. What are they, are they safe, and how do they work?
Let’s find out.
What Are Dog Breath Fresheners And How Do They Work?
Dog breath fresheners work by helping reduce plaque and tartar buildup and by leaving a fresh smelling odor behind.
There are a variety of dog breath fresheners you can choose from, which is fabulous considering not all dogs are as eager to indulge in oral hygiene as they should be. Some dog breath fresheners come in the form of treats or chews, while others are flavored toys with ridges. Some dog breath fresheners even come in the form of odorless, tasteless drops that you can add to your dog’s water.
The great thing about dog breath fresheners is that they often not only help freshen your dog’s breath, but they also work to remove or prevent tartar and plaque buildup that cause bad breath in the first place.
Of course, like any type of toy or treat you offer your dog to chew on or eat, you’ll want to ensure you are looking for quality products that are safe and healthy.
Let’s talk about what to look for in the best dog breath fresheners for Fido.
Are Dog Breath Fresheners Safe For Your Dog?
To ensure your dog’s breath freshener is safe, do plenty of research and only choose high quality products.
The more we learn about our canine counterparts, the more we discover they are a bit more sensitive than originally thought. What works for your bad breath and oral hygiene will not work for your dog, and any product you purchase or invest in for your dog to keep his teeth and gums healthy should be dog-safe.
The best way to ensure your dog breath fresheners are safe, according to experts, is to invest in products through trusted sources including your veterinarian or your local pet shop, or by investing in trusted brands you know have done their due diligence and testing.
You can also invest in natural dog breath fresheners, which are made with organic and natural ingredients and are designed to protect your dog’s gums and teeth without any additives, chemicals, dyes or fillers.
When looking into dog breath fresheners, it’s also important to consider your unique dog. Is your dog allergic to certain ingredients or foods? Does he have stomach sensitivities? Is your dog on a limited ingredient diet that could be compromised by introducing certain dog breath fresheners into his daily food intake?
You should also be careful to monitor your dog while he is chewing on a dog breath freshener. Some dog breath fresheners are designed to prolong chewing and gnawing, as this helps promote the breakup of tartar and plaque. While many dog breath fresheners are meant to be consumed over time, they can also present choking hazards if dog’s break off too big of pieces, so keep this in mind.
It’s up to you as your dog’s parent to do plenty of research when considering a dog breath freshener. It’s also important to make sure you are not using dog breath fresheners to replace daily dental care and brushing.
Remember, just because your dog’s breath smells fresh after a dog breath freshener doesn’t mean it is. But we’ll talk more about that further down.
For now, it’s time to talk about some of our favorite dog breath fresheners, starting with dog breath fresheners for small dogs.
Best Dog Breath Fresheners For Small Dogs
Smaller dogs may require breath fresheners for small breed dogs specifically.
Small dogs are different from large dogs in a variety of ways, and one of those ways is metabolism. Smaller dogs have a faster metabolism than larger dogs, which means they require specific foods, supplements and vitamins designed for their particular size and weight.
This could also affect the type of dog breath fresheners you opt to purchase for your small dog.
Furthermore, because smaller dogs have smaller teeth and jaws, it may be more difficult for them to chew or gnaw on certain materials. Dog breath fresheners for smaller dogs should be specified for their size and weight, just like their dog food is.
It’s also important to read the ingredients and instructions before offering your small dog breath fresheners to ensure you are giving them the proper amount.
If you’re not sure where to look for the best small dog breath fresheners, we have listed a few of our favorite products below.
Oxyfresh Dental Care Water Additive
First on our list of dog breath fresheners for small dogs is a water additive by Oxyfresh Dental Care. We’re big fans of this easy way to not only keep your small dog’s breath fresh, but also to ensure you are taking care of your dog’s teeth.
This water additive works as a two-in-one for canine doggy dental health. It helps reduce and protect teeth against tartar and plaque buildup and reduces dog breath by cleaning teeth. This is a no-brush option for dogs with stinky breath, though it’s still important to routinely inspect your dog’s mouth for any foreign objects or growths now and again.
While we love this product for small dogs, this is also one of our dog breath fresheners that can be used for dogs of all sizes. In fact, it is so safe that it can be used for a variety of pets including dogs, cats and even birds!
This is a great product for anyone with not only a multi-dog household, but a multi-pet household.
OraVet Dental Hygiene Chews For Small Dogs
OraVet is a well known brand that we trust when it comes to canine dental health, so we’ve listed their dental chews for small dogs on this list. Like many dog breath fresheners you’ll find here, these dental chews not only help prevent stinky dog breath, but they also help reduce plaque and tartar buildup, kill bad bacteria in the mouth, and reduce calculus and halitosis.
They are specifically designed for smaller dogs between 10 to 24 pounds and are easy to chew. That said, they do require some gnawing, but this gnawing is what really helps to break down that tartar, plaque and other bacteria to reduce bad breath and clean teeth.
Each bag of these dog breath fresheners contains 30 dental chews, and the instructions direct owners to give their dog one dental chew a day.
We should note that this dog breath freshener contains an ingredient known as Delmopinol HCI, which is an ingredient used in human dental care products as well.
That said, this product has been vetted and found to be safe and effective for dogs, but again your vet is your best resource if you are concerned.
Warren London Doggy Dental Spray
One of the easier dog breath fresheners you can use is a dog dental spray. We have tried a few products and like the Warren London brand. It includes a water additive and fights plaque build up, tartar buildup, and can even help prevent gum disease without even using a toothbrush.
We like this product because it contains all natural ingredients including peppermint, cinnamon, water, honey, cloves and aloe vera. You can use it two different ways, which makes it even more versatile in our opinion!
You may simply add it to your dog’s water bowl or spray it directly on your dog’s gum line. We found that spraying it in our dog’s mouth worked best as it does make the water taste different, and some dogs don’t like that.
Of course, as with all dog breath fresheners, it’s important to read the ingredients before using it to ensure you are giving your dog the proper amount.
Just because there are no medical ingredients listed in the product does not mean that too much won’t cause digestional upset.
We also caution against using this product if your dog is sensitive to any of the listed ingredients. As with most of the products on this list of dog breath fresheners for small dogs, you can also use this dog breath freshener spray for medium and large breed dogs, making it great for those of you in a multi-dog household.
Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste
Another product we’ve tried and like quite a bit are these Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste dog dental chews. Of course, we still advise that you brush your dog’s teeth daily with a toothbrush or at least a dog dental wipe when using this product, but you’ll be amazed at how these dental chews help freshen breath.
They are quite hard, however, so you may need to break them into a few smaller pieces if your dog has difficulty chewing.
Otherwise, they work well and are a 4-in-1 dental chew that tackle a few different issues. The outside is ridged to help clean stubborn tartar and plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth while the inside contains a dog-safe toothpaste to help freshen dog breath.
These dog breath fresheners also provide protection against future tartar and plaque buildup.
Best of all, these dog breath fresheners are made with all natural ingredients that are safe for dogs, gluten free, and even vet recommended. They are best for dogs under eight pounds, but you can order them in different size specifications if your dog is a bit bigger.
Best Dog Breath Fresheners For Large Dogs
Large breed dogs can do well with more heavy duty chews that help freshen their breath and clean their teeth at the same time.
Just like small dogs, larger dogs have specific needs when it comes to diet, supplements, vitamins and dog breath fresheners. They may require a more durable chew or a larger treat, or even a higher dosage in dog breath fresheners added to their daily meals or water bowls.
Before you invest in a dog breath freshener for your dog, be sure to do your research. Read the instructions and consider your dog’s dental health as it is. Remember, some dog breath fresheners not only help with stinky breath, but they can also help promote teeth and gum health, which is a double win for dogs and their propensity for canine Periodontal Disease.
Here are some of our favorite dog breath fresheners for larger dogs below.
Blue Buffalo Dental Bones
Most of you already know that Blue Buffalo is a high-quality dog food brand, but did you also know they create a line of treats and dog breath fresheners? For larger breed dogs, we like these dental bone dog breath fresheners that are not only fun for dogs to chew, but also help clean teeth and reduce plaque and tartar.
The bones are made without the use of wheat or other additives, and instead contain ingredients that will entice your dog to chew. Each package contains eight bones, and the instructions recommend you give your dog one bone a day.
If your dog is on a limited ingredient diet, you’ll be happy to learn that these dog breath fresheners contain no chicken, which is known to exacerbate food allergies in some dogs.
Dogswell Dental Jerky
What dog wouldn’t love dog breath fresheners that come in the form of jerky? That’s why we’ve listed these jerky dog breath fresheners by Dogswell Dental. While these may not be ideal for dogs with food sensitivities, (they are made with chicken), they are ideal for dogs who are finicky about having their teeth brushed.
The jerky is made with quality ingredients in the United States that include coconut oil, spearmint oil, dried seaweed and parsley. They are safe for a variety of dogs in all their life stages, but we like them for adult large breed dogs.
Be sure to read the directions and only provide your dog with the proper amount of jerky. While these are considered dog breath fresheners, they are also still treats and can be high in calories.
Arm & Hammer Nubbies
Arm & Hammer is a well known brand not only for human dental care but also for canine dental care. We have used a number of their tooth brush products for dogs so we stand by their dog breath fresheners as well.
These nubbies are designed with ridged edges and are made with baking soda and other ingredients that help fight tartar and plaque while freshening breath.
The flavor is peanut butter, which will keep your dog actively chewing until the nubbies are gone. You can use these dog breath fresheners for dogs of different sizes, though we prefer them for medium to larger dogs because the nubbies are especially hard.
As with all dog breath fresheners that are designed for dogs to chew and gnaw, it’s important you monitor your dog while he is chewing these products until they are fully consumed to reduce a potential choking hazard.
Greenies Original Dental Treats
And last we have Greenies. These famously popular dental treats come in a variety of sizes, but these particular ones are best for dogs between 25 and 50 pounds. Each package includes 36 Greenie sticks, and we like that these dog breath fresheners not only prevent plaque and tartar buildup but are also vet recommended.
They are made with quality ingredients and even include vitamins and minerals to promote all over body and immune health. Of course, do not give more than one Greenie at a time or more than is recommended in a day based on your dog’s size.
Always read the directions and do not give Greenies to your dog if he is sensitive to certain foods or ingredients.
Other Products That Can Help Keep Your Dog’s Breath Fresh
You can also help keep your dog’s breath fresh by investing in dental care tools.
As we’ve discussed a few times now, your dog’s bad breath may not be remedied by dog breath fresheners alone. You’ll likely need to invest in products for overall canine dental hygiene like toothbrushes, mouth wipes and more.
Of course, not all dog dental hygiene products are created equal, so we’ve done some research and listed a few of our favorite products you can use in conjunction with your dog breath fresheners to help keep your pup’s mouth happy and healthy.
Take a look.
Arm & Hammer Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste
If you haven’t already, we highly recommend investing in a canine tooth brushing kit that includes a toothbrush, a finger brush and dog-safe toothpaste. The above kit by Arm & Hammer includes everything you need and comes with step by step instructions on how to ensure our dog’s teeth are kept healthy.
Dog Dental Wipes
For dogs who are finicky about having their teeth brushed, we have found that dental wipes are a good alternative. The above Pet MD dental wipes not only help reduce plaque and tartar build up but also help to freshen breath and enhance gum health.
The dental wipes include 100 pre-soaked wipes and are flavored with apple and mint to ensure your dog enjoys the experience.
Why Dog Breath Fresheners Should Not Replace Routine Dog Dental Care
Keeping up with your dog’s dental health is important and can help prevent certain health issues from cropping up in the future.
Remember, your dog’s dental hygiene is synonymous with his overall health. Without proper dental care, dogs can be prone to a number of serious and sometimes deadly health issues that are not only devastating, but financially draining.
That said, canine Periodontal Disease is quite common in dogs, and becomes more common and serious as your dog ages. To help prevent tooth decay and keep your dog’s mouth healthy, it’s important not only to use dog breath fresheners, but also to implement dental care into your dog’s daily grooming routine.
Experts recommend you brush your dog’s teeth twice a day using a dog safe toothbrush and toothpaste. To ensure your dog becomes used to this routine, it’s best to start while they are young. If your dog is finicky about toothbrushes or your hands near his mouth, you can always invest in toothbrush chews or dental wipes.
Many veterinarians suggest brushing your dog’s teeth after meals, just as you would your own teeth. Brush for two minutes if you can, and offer your dog a treat afterwards to ensure he begins to associate tooth brushing with something positive.
Never punish your dog for fidgeting while you brush his teeth. This will lead to your dog becoming fearful of the process and may even lead to anxious or aggressive behaviors down the road.
Instead, be patient and work with your dog on his terms.
You might also consider consulting with your veterinarian regarding your dog’s dental health. Many vets recommend routine professional dental checkups and cleanings to help reduce potential illness that can result from canine Periodontal Disease.
And remember, while dog breath fresheners can certainly save you from your dog’s stinky breath, they should not replace routine or daily dental care for your furry family member.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on the best dog breath fresheners! Were you able to find a solution on our above list of dog breath fresheners that will work for your fur kid?
Tell us which product you think is best in the comment section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.