Got stinky dog breath? We all know a doggo whose loving licks are scented with a certain unpleasant odour. The good news is that bad breath in dogs is usually very simple to fix with the right dental chews. Feeding a selection of natural dog chews can clean the teeth and remove those pesky odour-causing bacteria. There exists a large range of natural dental chews for dogs which are easy to incorporate into your doggo’s diet and will give your canine friend many hours of both chewing enjoyment and nutritional benefit. In this article we discuss the back story of bad breath, the best dental chews for dogs and why we (Bach – more specifically) love them.
Why does my dog have bad breath?
Like hoomans, daily consumption of food causes a build up of plaque in your dog’s mouth. This plaque and tartar creates a breeding ground for bacteria, which in turn produces the unpleasant smells that you detect on your dog’s breath. While hoomans can brush their teeth regularly, dogs don’t have that luxury! However, (luckily for our hoo-mums and -dads) many dental dog chews perform this function naturally, as the repeated chewing action works to clean teeth and gums.
A short history of bad breath in dogs
In the wild (back when our furry friends had to fend for themselves) dogs would hunt and eat available wild prey. Although we won’t go into the gory details, it’s safe to say that these meals were not diced, minced and served in a silver bowl with their favourite toppings. Animal fur, bones and other icky bits were all part of a dogs natural balanced diet. Eating whole prey – including animal fur – served important nutritional functions as well as maintaining good dental and digestive health. This process of extending chewing to consume prey would clean the teeth and also remove built up food, plaque and tartar. The modern domesticated diets of our pets – as delicious as they are (thanks hooman) – require far less chewing, leaving most of our doggos in desperate need of a chewy teeth clean.
Should I brush my dog’s teeth?
If wrestling with your canine friend to swill a toothbrush around in their mouth sounds like your ideal evening wind-down activity, then be our guest. Some dog owners like to brush their dogs’ teeth, however suitable natural dog chews will serve the same purpose more effectively and will be MUCH more enjoyable for both you and your pooch.
Remedies for bad breath in dogs
The pet care marketplace contains many remedies for doggo bad breath, however the best solution is definitely the natural one. While products such as water additives and supplements may treat the symptoms of bad breath, they don’t address the root cause. Introducing extended chewing periods into your dog’s repertoire is the simplest and most effective way to cure their bad breath. The saliva created through the chewing processes is an important part of the digestive process. So while chew toys might be fun, they shouldn’t replace the longer lasting natural edible chews.
Best dental chews for dogs
Below is a selection of some of our favourite doggo dental chews. We recommend feeding a variety of these at least twice a week for balance in your dog’s diet (and optimum doggo-fresh breath).
Icky Chicken Feet are like a freaky little toothbrush for dogs. While sticking one leg down into your dog’s daily meal might seem a little weird, it’s the doggo equivalent of a pre-bedtime brushing regime. We dedicated a whole article to our love of Chicken Feet recently – read more at ‘A Guide to Chicken Feet for Dogs and Other Icky Meal Toppers‘.
(That’s dehydrated beef oesophagus dog chews to you, hooman).
We introduced these chewy straps to Gully Road as part of our nose to tail beef range and boy, have they been popular! These treatos provide plenty of chewing pleasure and are full of 100% delicious beefy flavour. The chewy, elastic fibres in these treats are perfect for cleaning dog’s teeth and being low-temperature dehydrated they are also full of nutrients.
From the super strong achilles tendon, these are a great chew for doggos. They have a similar chewy elasticity that is great for dog teeth and are also low odour so are perfect for indoor chewing. Sourced from 100% grass-fed beef, achilles chews are also high in protein and valuable amino acids. Or try their chunky cousin the Dim Sim.
While they might not seem like the obvious choice for dogs to chew on, antlers are our most famous (and much loved) longest lasting dog chew. Each antler delivers many hours of chewing (in some cases months!). Being much harder than some treats (even bones) they are perfect for scraping away stubborn plaque from the teeth. Depending on the ferocity of your dog’s chewing, there are a range of sizes and types that will suit your doggo – from softer fallow straps to the larger gig-antlers. Read more about deer antler chews at ‘All about Antlers for Dogs – Source Story, Benefits and Doggo Dental Health’.
The full range of deer antler products available at Gully Road include:
- Apple Cider Vinegar Antlers
- Apple Cider Fallow Straps
- Large Antlers
- Medium Antlers
- Small Antlers
- Large Fallow Straps
- Small Fallow Straps
Chewy Shark Skin Scrolls
A by-product of gummy shark for human consumption, these scrolls are rolled up sections of shark skin. Super chewy and full of nutrients these chews are a real nutritional powerhouse as well as being great for dental health. Chewy Skin Scrolls are packed with Omega 3s for that are essential for early development of muscles, eyes, heart and brain development while supporting joint support and dental health later in life. These nutrients also improve skin & coat condition and reduce itching.
Animal fur serves an important function for the digestive health of dogs (the healthiest poops) – read more at ‘Hairy Scary Furry Bits – Animal fur dogs treats and digestive health’. Chewing fur is also great for cleaning teeth. If a cow’s ear sounds a little more than you’re up for, try a piece of Cow Hide instead.
For more suggestions of dental chews for dogs, see our range of Chewy Challenges.
What if my dog’s bad breath doesn’t go away after I feed them dog dental chews?
While your dog’s breath is unpleasant for you as a pawrent, poor oral hygiene left untreated can lead to periodontal disease that is (very) unpleasant for your dog too. Too much plaque and tartar build-up can push the gums away from the teeth, exposing new areas for bacteria to develop. This not only inflames the dog’s gums, but can lead to cavities, infection, tissue destruction and tooth loss. Needless to say, it also leads to (even worse) bad breath as well as expensive vet bills.
While improving dog bad breath is usually reasonably simple, sometimes the causes can be more sinister. Bad breath is a symptom of an underlying cause and while a simple build up of plaque is the most common reason for stinky breath in dogs, there are other potential causes including oral infection, damaged teeth or illness.
Signs your dog has something more than a case of bad breath could include your doggo going off their food or show difficulty chewing. Kidney disease, diabetes and liver disease can all lead to bad breath in dogs, however these conditions usually have other accompanying symptoms. If your dog is showing signs of illness or has gone off their food we always recommend seeking veterinary advice. Whether or not these symptoms are present, we recommend seeking veterinary advice if bad breath continues after several weeks of feeding canine dental chews regularly.