Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Like Poop?
If your dog’s breath suddenly smells like poop, you are likely searching for answers that can explain this puzzling occurrence. Dog breath may not be particularly pleasant, but it should not be overwhelmingly pungent at any time.
So what could cause your dog’s breath to smell like poop?
In this article we will discuss the details of bad breath in dogs, and help you banish your dog’s poop breath for good!
Is Bad Breath Normal In Dogs?
You have likely heard the term “dog breath” used to describe a dog with a bad case of halitosis. A dog’s breath may not smell like roses at all times, but it should not be pungent enough to catch you off guard at any point.
Bad breath that is strong or particularly foul is not normal in dogs, and usually is due to an underlying cause.
Though you may chalk your pup’s poop smelling breath to normal dog breath, it could be a sign of something more!
What Could Cause My Dog’s Poop Breath?
If your dog’s breath smells like poop, there is likely an underlying cause leading to this foul odor. Ranging from your dog’s dietary habits to bacteria within their mouth, halitosis in dogs is often a result of a few common factors.
To help you get to the bottom of your dog’s bad breath, let’s discuss the most common causes below.
Dietary Habits Contribute To Bad Breath
If your dog’s breath smells like poop, it may be due to a strange canine habit; eating poop. Coprophagia is a term used to describe dogs that eat stool, and it is actually quite common among the canine population.
Though misconceptions have led many to believe that dogs eat poop due to lacking nutrients in their standard diet, it is now believed that most pups eat stool due to simply enjoying the activity.
Some dogs will eat their own stool, other stool found outside, or even cat poop in the litterbox within their home. If your dog has just finished consuming any stool that crosses their path, this can easily lead to breath that smells like poop.
If you think your dog’s breath may be due to this unsettling dietary habit, it’s best to keep a close eye on your dog each time they go outside.
This can not only allow you to see whether or not they are eating poop, but can also allow you to stop the behavior when it occurs.
If you think your dog is getting into your cat’s litter, it’s best to move the litter box to an area of your home that your dog can’t access.
Dental Disease Causing Bad Breath
Dental disease is the most common cause of bad breath in our canine friends. With nearly 80% of the canine population developing dental disease by the age of 3, it is considered the most commonly treated medical condition in our furry friends.
Many dog owners are unaware of the importance of regular dental care in dogs, leading to this common complication in so many pups.
If a dog does not receive regular tooth brushing, this will lead to a buildup of tartar and plaque on the teeth. It only takes a few days for the accumulated plaque to mineralize, leading to a thick buildup of rough tartar over time.
As time passes, the plaque on the teeth will begin to cause a buildup of bacteria within the mouth. Not only can bacteria in the mouth lead to destruction of the teeth over time, it can also lead to painful gum inflammation.
The destruction of the teeth and gums can cause a terrible odor in itself, but so can the build up of bacteria that is present.
Bacteria can release sulfur compounds that are known to be extremely pungent, leading to dog breath that may smell similar to poop.
This smell will only worsen as time goes on, leading to overpowering dog breath that knocks owners off their feet.
A dog with dental disease may experience:
- Bad breath
- Blood in their water bowl
- Blood on their chew toys
- Difficulty eating
- Facial sensitivity
- Facial swelling
If your dog is experiencing any of the signs of dental disease, it’s likely time to schedule an appointment with their veterinarian.
Foreign Material In The Mouth Can Cause Bad Breath
If your dog’s breath smells like dog poop, it could be due to a foreign body in their mouth. An oral foreign body refers to anything in the mouth that should not be there, often becoming lodged in the teeth or gums.
When objects become trapped in a dog’s mouth, this often leads to bacterial buildup around the object or secondary swelling. Once this happens, bad breath will soon follow.
Dogs with an oral foreign body may experience:
- Foul breath
- Pawing at their face
- Facial sensitivity
- Blood in their water bowl
- Blood on their chew toys
- Difficulty eating
- Pain when attempting to eat
- Facial swelling
If you discover a foreign object lodged in your dog’s mouth, or fear the potential of an oral foreign body in your dog, it’s best to contact your vet for further care.
Kidney Disease Can Cause Bad Breath
Kidney disease in dogs is another potential cause of breath that smells like poop. Though you may be surprised to learn that kidney disease in dogs can impact their oral health, this is actually a common result of late stage kidney failure.
When a dog’s kidneys are not functioning properly, this can lead to a build up of toxins within the body. Not only can systemic toxins build up within the bloodstream, but they can also be present in the mouth as well.
This toxic buildup can not only cause a metallic scent coming from a dog’s mouth, but can lead to the development of oral ulcers over time.
These ulcers are the perfect environment for bacteria to brew, leading to foul breath that may smell like poop over time. Not only can these ulcers be smelly, but the secondary infection they cause can lead to a stench as well.
A dog in the late stages of kidney disease may experience weight loss, anorexia, vomiting, increased thirst, increased urination, and bad breath.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your canine friend, it’s best to contact your veterinarian.
Diabetes Can Cause Bad Breath In Dogs
Canine diabetes can lead to a sudden shift in normal dog breath. A dog with unmanaged diabetes can experience sudden spikes in their blood sugar, leading to a powerful and sweet odor coming from the mouth.
Though this may not smell like poop in most dogs, it can be a strange scent that catches an owner off guard. A dog with diabetes can even have breath that smells like acetone when it has progressed to diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be another unexpected shift in breath scent.
A dog with diabetes may experience an increase in thirst, increased urination, weight loss, anorexia, skin infections, and chronic UTI’s.
If you fear diabetes in your furry friend, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for further advice.
Tumors In The Mouth Can Cause Bad Breath
Our canine friends are not immune to cancerous tumors that impact their overall health. These tumors can develop anywhere in the body, including a dog’s mouth.
When a tumor begins to grow in a dog’s mouth, this can lead to serious shifts in a dog’s oral health. Whether these tumors grow from the bones or the tissues that line the gums, this will lead to a slew of concerning symptoms to follow.
Oral tumors in dogs are essentially foreign bodies in the mouth, as they are not supposed to be there. These growths can not only collect bacteria in the tissue as they progress, but can even lead to tissue death in the area.
Both possibilities can lead to foul breath in a dog, potentially smelling like poop in some cases.
Tumors of the mouth in dogs can lead to bad breath, difficulty eating, excessive drooling, blood in their drool, facial swelling, and signs of pain.
If you think your dog may have a tumor in their mouth, it’s best to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
How To Fix My Dog’s Bad Breath
If your dog’s breath smells like poop, there are a few ways to banish this overpowering odor for good. Most of the solutions to bad breath in dogs involve getting to the source of the smell, and preventing the same complication from occurring again.
Nobody wants to be around a dog with a bad case of halitosis, so let’s list some of the best solutions below.
Fix Dental Problem
Dental disease is the most common cause of bad breath in dogs, meaning dental care will likely be the most effective solution.
Proper dental care involves making an appointment with your vet, having a dental exam, scheduling a dental cleaning if needed, and moving forward with a dental health routine.
This can not only greatly improve your dog’s bad breath, but prevent complications in the future as well.
Not only will your vet perform an oral exam to assess the level of dental disease they have, but can check for any oral foreign bodies or tumors as well.
If they find anything in the mouth that shouldn’t be there, they can determine the best plan of action going forward.
Examine Your Dog’s Dietary Habits
A dog’s dietary habits can lead to bad breath in some cases. Monitoring their eating habits includes preventing them from eating poop, keeping them out of the trash, and making sure they are not eating anything outside of their approved diet.
Dental Chews And Treats
Whether your vet has diagnosed dental disease in your dog or not, dental chews and treats can help to prevent tartar buildup in the future.
Dental chews are designed to help remove build up on the teeth, and even dissolve tartar in some cases. Speaking with your vet about approved dental chews is the best option when finding the right one for your dog.
Regular Vet Exams
Regular vet exams are a wonderful way to not only catch the cause of bad breath as it occurs, but to also prevent bad breath in the future.
By going to your vet, they can diagnose dental disease, oral tumors, oral foreign bodies, and a list of metabolic diseases.
What If My Dog’s Poop Breath Comes Back?
Many dog owners are left scratching their heads when their dog’s breath continues to smell even after offering daily dental chews and other forms of dental care.
As we mentioned before, poop smelling dog breath is not normal. If your dog’s breath continues to have a pungent odor no matter what you try, it’s best to have them seen for a thorough veterinary exam.
Not only can your vet perform an in depth oral exam, but they can perform blood diagnostics to search for any metabolic causes.
Not all cases of bad breath in dogs are as simple as brushing their teeth, so it’s always best to follow up with a professional.
A dog with poop breath is always a valid cause of concern. If you notice your dog’s breath smelling more than normal over a long period of time, it might be time to get them checked for any additional underlying condition.
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 10 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! Read more about us here.