Bad Breath in Pets: Natural Remedies

| Modified on Mar 04, 2023
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What greater joy exists than a pet that is so happy to see you that they bowl you over licking you to death?  Unfortunately the experience becomes somewhat less joyous when the pet is stricken with a horrible case of halitosis or bad breath, as it is more commonly known.  A dog or cat with bad breath can cause any pet owner to turn the other way in an attempt to avoid those loving licks.  And even though we all love to wake up to a nice, slobbery, facial wash, sometimes that breath is just too much to take first thing in the morning.Dog

There may be a specific reason for the bad breath, and again there may not be.  Particular issues like periodontal disease can often cause halitosis.  Look for symptoms such as swollen or tender gums, plaque build up and yellow or brownish stains on the teeth.  Though we can give you some tips on how to manage your pet's bad breath, issues such as the ones mentioned should not be ignored.

To suppress that stinky breath try giving your pet Garlic and Fenugreek Tablets that you can pick up at an herbal or health food store.  The tablets contain 16mg of powdered fenugreek and .22 mg of essential garlic oil.  A daily maintenance plan of approximately 1 tablet per 10 kg animal (to a maximum of 4 tablets daily for giant breeds) should help to combat the problem.

A bean-like plant, fenugreek comes from its native India and Southern Europe and is made up essentially of the small seeds from within the pod of the plant. 

Baking Soda

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Piper (Toronto) on 01/29/2013

For cat bad breath. I took my 14 year old cat in to vet - he was doing poorly. Losing weight, poor appetite, really bad breath. Did blood tests - but none of the usual ailments present. The vet told me that with bad teeth - they have bacteria in their mouth that is picked up by the blood and carried around their body.

As nothing conclusive came up in bloodwork, I decided to work on his teeth. I started to brush his teeth daily with a small amount of baking soda. I put a little bit on a child's toothbrush and just brush gently but firmly.

He doesn't particularily like it. He also doesn't rush to get the taste out of his mouth either. I think the time that the baking soda is in his mouth it is killing bacteria.

After doing this for a couple of days, his appetite returned. He seemed to have more energy and his fur seems nicer. His breath isn't terrible.

I should note I might have tried something added to his water, but he will only drink out of the tap.

Coconut Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Christine (Missouri) on 03/04/2023

I read in a post to use Coconut Oil in the dog's water to help with bad breath. Amazing! It worked. And my dog loved the water. I put about 1/8 tsp in her cup of water and changed it everyday. I backed off to every other day (because her poo was coming out faster! ). Her breath is now natural and it is helping her teeth remove tartar naturally (and they were bad). Thank you! I love natural remedies!!


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Esprit64 (North Yarmouth, Maine) on 02/21/2011

I have owned dogs and cats for years and the way I keep them well (having fresh breath, non-smelly stools and clean teeth--indicators of good health) is to feed them a no-grain diet, both wet and dry, supplemented by raw meats, occasional fresh fruits/veggies. I am not a nutritionist, so I always purchase a good quality manufactured pet food as the basic food source (not any of the popular brands found in supermarkets, even those touted as healthy or natural or "top of the line" --rather, purchase from select pet stores--likely not any of the box pet stores--which stock foods having only healthy ingredients.

My pets "brush" their teeth by eating raw, not cooked, beef/chicken/rabbit/etc., meats on the bone. Chewing raw--not cooked--bones is nature's natural toothbrush.

As a result of good eating and food habits, your pet's breath should be fresh, they should pass no gas, and their stools will not be horrendous smelling.

Replied by Erin
(Seattle, Wa)

My pomeranian has oxalic bladder stones, and we've already been through one uncomfortable doggie up until one very expensive surgery. I heard about the raw dog diet and started him on it once signs of the oxalic stones were back. We had him on a holistic dog food diet and they still came back, albeit a year under schedule (go holistic food! ). However, I have had him on a raw dog food diet for two weeks now and now shows no signs of the oxalic bladder stones that were there previously. His breath is almost scentless, he has more energy, and less eye discharge. Apparently, fleas do not like raw dieted dogs, either, which will be a blessing since he is severely allergic to fleas as well, which I am also treating this year with garlic and brewers yeast pills and so far he has not needed expensive flea meds... We'll see.... I will give a progress update in a month or two. Meanwhile, anyone who has a dog with medical problems or just seeks to maintain optimal health should add the book "raw dog food" to their arsenal of pet care literature. Out of all the other things I have tried, this diet has warranted the quickest and most profound change in our dog's health.

Replied by Rilo B.
(Crescent City, Ca)

Just a tsp. A day of coconut oil , and not only will your dogs breath improve , but also cures "hot spots", their coat becomes shiny and skin problems vitually disappear!!! Dogs that have a "wet dog smell" to them ( labradors especially) coconut oil @ just tsp. a day will rid your dog of odors. You and your dog will LOVE IT!!! My dogs come running when they hear me opening the coconut oil jar. I've read articles about VCO (virgin coconut oil ) help w/tumors also. I loaned the magazine out (whole dog journal) that had the article in it, and now cannot locate it in whole dog journal archives, but it was fantastic account of all the benefits VCO provides for dogs. It won't hurt them...

So before you spend $$ on vet for skin , breath or coat problems, begin giving them a tsp. daily. See the improvement in just few weeks!!! I have 6 small dogs -4 love it, 2 can take it or leave it... Can be melted on poured over food... But 4 of them eat right off spoon. Give it a try -your dog will love you ~ even more... Rilo B.

Replied by Dreamystr1
(San Diego, Ca)

Organic virgin Coconut oil is great for dogs and humans. My Schnauzer Mix loves it. It will help to remove toxins in the mouth and remove fat deposits in blood and in general its great to eat. I just give my dog loves it straight off the spoon. It helps with cracked skin since it's a great moisturizer, I just spread some on their paws. Also for grooming, I spread very little in his coat to help with this curls after grooming. (simply rub in your palms and spread accross their hair. :D

Helps the coat and skin.

Replied by Heather
(Meadville, Usa)

Onions and garlic in all forms -- powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated -- can destroy a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia. That can happen even with the onion powder found in some baby food. An occasional small dose is probably OK. But just eating a large quantity once or eating smaller amounts regularly can cause poisoning. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, little interest in food, dullness, and breathlessness.


2 User Reviews
1 star (2) 

Posted by Nathalie (Laval, Quebec) on 05/18/2011

This site suggest giving your dog garlic for your dogs breath. DO NOT.. Garlic and onions are unhealthy to your dogs blood count!!!!!!


Replied by Mel

Small amounts of garlic are appropriate, it is only in large amounts it is dangerous. Small amounts are actually beneficial.

Replied by Monica

There is academic research showing that garlic is not dangerous to dogs. According to these studies, a dog that weighs 30kg would have to eat more than 2 pounds of garlic per week to get ill. So small amounts are definitely not harmful.

Posted by R.... (Anaheim, California, USA) on 12/27/2008


Warning to those who would take the advise of using garlic for their cats' bad breath. I surfed the net for toxic plants and food for cats. At least three websites posted the same thing: garlic, onion, chocolate, raisins, among other very common food ingredient... were said to be poisonous to cats - they may not be for dogs, but accordingly, garlic for instance kills red blood cells in cats if I remember right... and since cats are different in that they have very slow metabolism, the bad effects would not quickly manifest. ...good for humans but never for cats!!!

Grapefruit Seed Extract, Water, Caramel Extract

5 User Reviews
5 star (1) 
1 star (4) 

Posted by Diane (Saratoga Springs, New york) on 02/24/2009

What is carmal extract? Do you mean caramel?

EC: Must be -- no such thing as carmal extract!

Replied by Diane
(Saratoga Springs, N.Y.)

Thank you EC.

Replied by Diamond
(Merrimac, Ma.)

Alan; the artificial sugar used in sugar free gum has caused millions cancer along with many other severe ailments....

Grapefruit Seed Extract, Water, Caramel Extract
Posted by Alan (USA) on 07/06/2006

We use: Grapefruit seed Extract. H20, carmal extract, xylotol for sweetness -- found in sugar free gums. A solution of 20 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract with 10oz. H20 and carmel extract for taste has cured incoming dogs to the pet rescue of bad breath and tarter build up. This took about 2 days of having it sprayed into the mouth for bad breath and a week to notice loss of tarter. Daily maintenace of 4 drops in water also showed a reduction in weight in our heavier dogs. Give chew toys or carrots to dogs during this time to assist with the cleaning process. GSE is an excellent anti bacterial element and has many uses for people and pets. Great for raising the pets PH level as well.

Replied by Claire
(Spring, Texas)


I was recently at the vet's office, for my dog's minute breath problem. She told me to NEVER give my dog anything with XYLITOL in it, as it is EXTREMELY harmful to them, and yes can even cause death. I am not sure it's effects with Cat's but please, NEVER GIVE ANYTHING WITH XYLITOL IN IT to your dog!!! I would also reccommend seeing your veterinarian before giving ANYTHING to your pet. They may be more expensive than buying something over the counter, but the effects can be worth a precious life! Please be cautious.

Replied by Tamara
(Baton Rouge)


Do NOT use products with Xylotol in them for your pets. It's toxic in very small amounts.

Replied by Candice
(Victorville, CA)


Hello. I was reading a remedy for Halitosis, from: Alan and he writes, "We use: Grapefruit seed Extract. H20, carmal extract, xylotol for sweetness -- found in sugar free gums. A solution of 20 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract with 10oz. H20 and carmal extract for taste has cured incoming dogs to the pet rescue of bad breath and tarter build up." I was worried about the Xylotol that is used for a sweetener, in his recipe, because I read an article stating that Xylitol caused serious side effects in Dogs including death. I believe the article was from, but I am not sure. I just thought that this would be useful information. Thanks!

Replied by Nancy
(Springfield, VA)


PLEASE..PLEASE..PLEASE...make sure your dog doesn't get a hold of anything that has XYLITOL. It can be deadly for dogs. My daughter's dog (a year old pomchi) got a hold of her purse and ate couple of pieces of sugar free gum (with xylitol) last year and he almost died. He was taken to an emergency room to get his stomack pumped which cost her $1000 in vet bills...not to mention the anxiety and saddness it caused my daughter.


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Madelyn S. (Orlando Fl) on 10/21/2019 3 posts

Hi. Our schipoo is 14 years old. Dental surgery has been ruled out, pain meds make him sick or fearfully lethargic. He seems fine without them, except at feeding time. We've been mincing fresh chicken, serving with its own natural broth or ground beef. Somedays he's fine, other days the pain is obviously too much. We known he's in his senior years, but his dental struggle is heartbreaking. Outside of this he still has pep in his step. Any safe remedy suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Replied by Paulina
(London, Ontario)

Hi there, homeopathics are very effective on animals, there are a few for pain.

The first that come to mind is arnica, and phos ferrous — this one is more for reducing inflammation, and known as an active ingredient is thought to be an excellent Mineral for redness, throbbing, and inflammation, and can also relieve headaches and fever. When my dog was in a lot of pain due to a lactating patella — I crushed the homeopathics and dissolved them in some water in a shot glass and with a syringe gave it directly to my pup. Some people just place the homeopathics right in the water, but my dog was in so much pain she wasn't drinking or eating unless I placed the food to her under her nose since she was lame. Also, have you ever considered putting your dog on a raw food diet? This is soft food and it's done changed my dog entirely. My second dog was diagnosed with liver failure and the vet told me my only option was to put him down, I took him home and changed his diet to raw food, that was 3 years ago and he is still alive.

Hydrogen Peroxide

3 User Reviews
5 star (1) 
1 star (1) 

Posted by Dorothy (Valley Glen, California) on 03/24/2008

Our eight-year-old Jack Russell Terrier had very bad breath and ugly black-stain teeth for most of her life. We tried everything, chopping parsley and adding it to her food, brushing her teeth with pet toothpaste, Greenies which gave her hemorrhoids, tried getting the Vet to clean her teeth but he never did, and everything we tried, failed. That is until I tried a drop of hydrogen peroxide. Now I've gradually worked up to adding an eye-dropper full (5-8 drops) to her water bowls daily, and her breath and teeth have improved much to our amazement. Her black teeth are now pure white, her breath is fresh and she seems to have a lot of new energy. Now I'm ready to give it a try myself for my arthritis.

Replied by Maureen
(Charlotte, NC)

Is the hydrogen peroxide you give to your pets food grade? I would like to try it for my cat's bad breath.

Replied by Mary
(Tampa, Florida)

Using Hydrogen Peroxide for dog breath: I have 9 yr old yorkie terrier with bad breath.... so can we use the regular HP you get at the drug store...the one we use to wipe our cuts to clean the germs...we can use this one on the dogs? So just put it in the dog water...a drop to how many cups of water? I don't want to over dose the poor little guy. Thanks Mary

Replied by Minou
(Ottawa, Canada)

In response to Mary from Tampa, Florida:

09/04/2008: Mary from Tampa, Florida replies: "Using Hydrogen Peroxide for dog breath: I have 9 yr old yorkie terrier with bad breath.... so can we use the regular HP you get at the drug store...the one we use to wipe our cuts to clean the germs...we can use this one on the dogs? So just put it in the dog water...a drop to how many cups of water? I don't want to over dose the poor little guy. please email me at [email protected] Thanks Mary"

Get a food grade H2O2 which is 30%, and dilute it to 3% with water. Start with one drop in his water bowl, and increase the dosage gradually. All the products for teeth whittening have hydrogen peroxide at certain concentration.

Replied by Emily
(Santa Rosa, CA)

Regarding Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide for bad breath in dogs. I've checked my local health food market and I've been unable to find something called Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide. Can someone help me so I know what to look for? I'd love something to cure bad breath in by two 100 pound lab mix dogs. Thank you

Replied by Gabrielle
(Brighton, Ontario, Canada)

Give your dog some real food, the same as what you eat, and your dog will have sweet breath. give him real bones to eat - his teeth will become white again.

Replied by Takidomama29
(Minnetrista, Mn)

Ok, so I went into my bathroom and pulled out our hydrogen peroxide and looked at the active ingredients. Now someone wrote that they should get food grade HP that's at 30%. Well when I'm looking at the drug facts on the bottle, it says hydrogen peroxide is the only active ingredient, and that it's stabilized 3%. Does that mean that this is the kind that's ok to mix into my dog's water to help with his horrible breath and tartar build up?

Replied by Catnat
(Greenville, Texas)

It is the stabilizers that make the H2O2 impure, just like the extra junk they put in your and your pet's processed foods that cause any number of diseases. The reason it's called "food grade" peroxide is because it's acceptable for consumption. It's much more powerful than the grocery store peroxide so it MUST be diluted. It can be used therapeutically for animals & humans. Extra peroxide should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer to extend shelf life. There are multiple sources for it online.

Replied by Maryannw
(Brick, Nj / Usa)

I tried putting hydrogen peroxide in my dog's water bowl for her very foul breath - guessing gums/tooth decay, but she has been very sick too. Anyway, I tried it and she threw up about 4 minutes later. Then I read how to make a dog throw up is to give them hydrogen peroxide? so I am confused and won't be using that anymore. Also- do NOT use it Full Strength on the gums!! Will burn!!

Replied by Haley
(Mckinney, Tx)

Yes, Hydrogen Peroxide is used to induce vomiting, when my dogs were puppies, they got into chocolate. We called the vet, and had to give them each 1 Tbsp of Hydrogen Peroxide, which they immediately vomited more food than I have ever seen! But I don't think if you use a minute amount mixed with water would have the same effect, unless your dog has digestive problems.

Replied by Joe
(Dallas, TX)


Http:// "Dogs and chickens have low catalase levels so they have a POOR TOLERANCE to H2O2. You can kill them with hydrogen peroxide if you are not careful (especially when giving it intravenously). These species develop pulmonary edema and methemoglobinemia with peroxide use. They taught us in veterinary school that giving 3% (over the counter strength) hydrogen peroxide was one technique to use to get a dog to vomit."

Please people!!! DO NOT USE 12% or 35% FOOD GRADE peroxide on your dog or cat whether you put it on her skin or teeth. It can burn and damage healthy tissues not just unhealthy ones and remove tooth enamel. Please ONLY USE FOOD GRADE H2O2 internally (because the regular peroxide has metals and other trace elements in it) which also why you should only put it in DISTILLED water as well and NOT tap or spring water. Finally, ONLY USE 3% food H2O2 for animals. It is unbelievable how many post I read (not here) that people use 12% on their pet and don't even know that they have to use DISTILLED water.

I am taking H2O2 and if you don't know what you are doing you can BURN yourself literally inside and out with food grade H2o2!!!! This what I found in regards to the H2O2 DOSAGE FOR PETS: "For small animals (dogs and cats) use 1 oz. 3% H2O2 to 1 qt. of distilled drinking water." "3% food grade H2O2 can be added to pets drinking water at the rate of 1/2 to 1 ounce per gallon of distilled water." The Internet is full of bad advice from everyday people who literally putting their and other pets at risk.

Replied by Jessica

Thank-you!!! I am going to start this now!

Toothpaste for Kids

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Crystal (Beaverton, Oregon) on 11/23/2008

Hello all I have had many dog's. I even had a litter if 6 puppies. The best thing that I found is brushing my dog's teeth with childrens toothpaste with my kids old tooth brushes. The dog's love the taste and I love the smell!!! Must brush once a week if not more. The vet say's they have perfect condition teeth too. Bad breath is just a tad of kids tooth paste away you really don't need very much.

EC: WARNING! Some of the ingredients in kids' toothpastes may be toxic for dogs (i.e., xylitol ), so one would need to research the brand very carefully before using!

Replied by Yvonne
(Castlegar, B.c. Canada)

Try apple cider vinegar. You can put it in their water or I put it in their food. My shitzu cross gets a teaspoon and my cocker cross gets a tablespoon. It also repells fleas and gives them a nice coat. Yvonne Canada