12 Reasons Why Puppy Breath Smell Bad?

New puppy owners often observe that their cute pet has a bad breath smell. Although an unpleasant smell is associated with puppies’ bad breath, this is common. However, the most important question remains why does puppy breath smell so bad? Here we’ll delve into the reasons for puppy breath and what you can do to keep it nice.

Why Puppy Breath Smell Bad?

What is Puppy Breath?

The unique breath smell comes from a puppy’s mouth. The odor is usually defined as sour or musty smell, which can be overpowering and very strong. This is nothing more than a natural part of the process of puppy development and every dog owner has probably already encountered it. Additionally since puppies tend to engage a lot with the world primarily using their mouths, the interaction between their saliva and the oral environment adds to this one of a kind scentSometimes the smell will go on your hands as you play with your pup, or they just licked you. Despite this being an unfavorable odor at first, many pet owners began to love and even miss this current scent after their puppies became adult dogs.

Puppy Breath Duration?

In 80% of cases, puppy breath can last until around 5-6 months old approximately. By this period puppies lose all the milk teeth and only the permanent adult teeth appear. At this stage, most of the puppy owners realize that there is a huge difference in their pup’s breath. This phase is marked as best replacement period from bad breath to good breath. Effective oral care will provide positive influence on period of the repulsive smell and keeping clean breath during this developmental period. However, when your puppy bad breath remains beyond this period or worsens, it might be a sign that he has some health problem and it is better to check up with the veterinarian.

12 Reasons Why Puppy Breath Smell Bad

Now that we know puppy breath is a normal occurrence, let us dive into the reasons why it may have an unpleasant smell.

Causes of Bad Puppy Breath

The Diet Factor

Mother’s Milk: Puppies eat mother’s milk, which is the most common food source for them. It contains proteins and fats that can significantly affect their breath odor. They get bacteria from their mouth as they suckle making it smell in a bad manner. In addition, this is a normal way of developing puppies’ immune system against different microorganisms contained in the mother’s milk.

Transitioning to Solid Foods: The puppies’ diet undergoes major changes upon starting solid food. When they chew and swallow, the particles are stuck between their teeth along the gum line, which creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to develop. This transition presents new bacteria into puppy’s digestive organs, which changes the odor of their breath. There would be an interaction between these new foods and the oral and gut microbes, which in turn can give your puppy’s mouth unusual smells.

Ingesting foreign objects: Puppies are very curious in a natural way and they explore everything by tasting or putting them into their mouths. These may include items not meant for eating like rocks or sticks that cause smelly breaths in dogs. If you see your young dog chewing on non-food items or having halitosis, watch closely and prohibit access to them to minimize health hazards.

Understanding the sleeping patterns of pets is crucial. Discover more at “How Long Do Puppies Sleep at Night?”, a comprehensive guide for pet owners.

Oral Health and Hygiene

Teething: It starts at about 3-4 months old in a puppy and can continue until about 6-7 months old. This procedure can also encourage too much saliva production resulting in a combination of food residues trapped in newly developed teeth leading to bacteria growth. These bacteria make the unpleasant smell detected during teething.

Oral Hygiene: In the absence of gentle and regular tooth brushing, plaque and tartar formation on a puppy’s teeth can lead to gum disease and serious breath odor. Maintaining oral hygiene will involve frequent brushing, and professional cleanings by dentists among others that will reduce dental problems risks, freshen your breath, as well as early diagnosis and therapy of dental problems may help your little friend be happy and healthy.

Bacterial Composition

Digestive System Bacteria: Puppy bad breath can also be indicative of underlying digestive issues. Patients with diseases such as infections, worms, or an imbalance of the digestive system can develop an increase in foul-smelling gases in the digestive, that are released through the breath. If a puppy’s bad breath does not improve, then owners should monitor his/her digestive system closely and consult a vet for further advice as this could signal major health issues.

Mouth Bacteria: Several bacteria found within a puppy’s oral cavity can also cause bad breath. The mouth contains the anaerobic and aerobic bacteria that thrive best under moist warm environments thus making it an excellent breeding location for them. It involves both aerobic and anaerobic types that release sulfur compounds as products of metabolism leading to the unpleasant odor.

Health-Related Causes

Parasites and Worms: Parasites and worms in puppies are common. If your puppy has parasite infestation or internal worms, they can disturb the usual working of their digestive system, which may lead to an abnormal smell coming out through their mouths.

Mouth Injury or Infection: Puppy mouth injuries or infections can result in swelling, painful inflammation or constant bad breath. This can happen because of the cutting of sharp objects and bacteria entering the mouth through cuts or wounds. Routine appointments with a vet can assist in detecting and fixing various problems early enough.

Other Health Issues: Sometimes, bad breath in puppies is a symptom of a more serious disease. Problems, like the ones discussed here, such as respiratory infections, liver or kidney disease or diabetes can lead to an abnormal scent on your dog’s breath. The owner of the dog should take the vital step of monitoring the changes in the breath of the dog and should not hesitate to consult a doctor if they suspect any health issues.

Skin Issues or Infections: These areas include paws, ears, and around the mouth and can cause a change in breath odor that can be smelled. These problems can result in a particular smell, which someone might assume is coming from bad breath. Constant grooming and routine check-ups are effective ways of discovering and responding to problems connected with the skin that can cause the smell.

Un-Hygienic Conditions

In some cases, young dogs can have offensive breath due to other factors besides oral hygiene such as a dirty environment, skin diseases, lack of bathing and so on. If the puppies stay in an unhygienic environment, they may develop odor from the dirt, bacteria, and possible yeast on their bodies and coats. Insufficient cleanup of the living rooms, food dishes, and toys can harbor harmful bacteria that might get into the dog’s system, and as a result, the dog might have some peculiar smells.

How to Keep Puppy Breath Fresh?

  1. Brushing and Oral Care: Regular brushing with specially formulated pet toothpaste is necessary for maintaining good oral hygiene of puppies. This habit if started early will ensure that it prevents any long-term dental issues as well as ensuring that your puppy has fresh breath.
  2. Proper Diet: Always feed your puppy with high-quality balanced diet. This can contribute to their good health along with fresh breath. Do not give it leftovers and stick to a consistent feeding schedule.
  3. Chew Toys: Appropriate chew toys for your little friend will help soothe its natural chewing instincts while promoting healthy teeth gums too. Avoid giving them anything too hard or small which could break their teeth or present choking hazards.
  4. Clean Living Environment: Washing your puppy’s living area and their food bowls and toys regularly can reduce the growth of bacteria, which can contribute to bad breath.
  5. Regular Vet Visits:  See your vet frequently to check the overall health of the dog and treat any dental or digestive problems that may cause bad breath.


In conclusion, a case of puppy breath is quite normal in the course of a pup’s growth and development. You can keep your dog smelling nice when you take care of their dental health while also paying attention to overall healthiness. Many dogs emit unique scents so once again if you are a dog lover embrace this unique scent because before you know it your puppy will become an adult with an entirely different smell! Therefore, you should take time to appreciate the beautiful aroma coming out from young pups’ mouths when they are still small by giving them enough love. Happy puppy parenting! “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

Useful Resources

  1. How to Get Rid of Stinky Dog Breath – American Kennel Club
  2. AVMA: “Doggie breath” could be a sign of serious disease
  3. Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies | Danbury Vet
  4. AVMA: Dog Dental Care FAQs

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *