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Best Dog Foods For Bad Breath: Ratings, Reviews & Top Picks

Looking for the perfect dog food to cure your dog's bad breath? Below we compare our favorite dog foods that prevent bad breath, with a prescription and without.

Emma Braby

Last Updated: August 6, 2020 | 10 min read

Best Dog Foods For Bad Breath

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Does your dog’s breath make your eyes water? Is it so bad that he scares the flies away? Well, chances are there is something going on in that body or in your pup’s mouth! As his mom or dad, it’s up to you to do some digging and help him back on his way to fresher breath.  That can mean seeking out the best dog food for bad breath in order to remedy the situation.  The fact that you are reading this now means you have taken the first steps to find a cure for your pup’s stinky breath!

Some dogs, like humans, just have smelly mouths. Your pooch might just be one of the unlucky few that lets off a whiffy odor for no real reason. There are also some breeds that are more prone to dental diseases compared to others. Whatever your pup’s situation, here in this guide we are going to discuss that gut-wrenching bad breath. We will look at what may be causing it, as well as the best dry dog foods with or without a veterinary prescription that can help to prevent or delay tooth decay.

This might not be the most pleasant of topics to read about! But if you love your pup but not their breath, it’s something you just gotta do! First we look at the causes for bad breath. Secondly, we follow with our analysis of the best dog foods for bad breath to get your pup smelling a little fresher when greeting both family and friends. Let’s jump in!

At a Glance: Our Favorite Food For Bad Breath

Science Diet Oral Care Food
Our Rating

No Prescription Needed

Science Diet Oral Care

View at Chewy.com
Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain
Our Rating

No Prescription Needed

TOTW Sierra Mountain

View at Chewy.com
Science Diet Dental Care
Our Rating

Prescription Required

Science Diet Dental Care

View at Chewy.com

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to Chewy.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

What Causes Bad Dog Breath? 

Bad Breath Causes in Dogs
There are many causes for bad breath in dogs.

In the medical world of dogs, bad breath is officially known as Halitosis. But before we even consider what nutrition is best for your dog’s bad breath, it is important to understand what it is that’s causing it. Because there are a number of medical conditions that could be behind your pup’s smelly breath, we want to take a deeper look to make sure that something may not need medical attention before changing foods.

If your pup exhibits any health-related issues, we always recommend that you see your vet immediately.  They will be best equipped to diagnose any serious problems that may require further analysis.  There are several factors that can cause Halitosis in dogs, and if your beloved pooch is suffering then it is likely to be one of the following reasons: 

Poor Oral Hygiene

Just like us humans, if your dog’s teeth aren’t brushed regularly, then expect some foul-smelling breath. Your pup’s breath is going to start stinking simply due to a buildup of plaque and tartar. It really isn’t rocket science! Many dog owners just think that smelly dog breath is just part of the ride. It doesn’t have to be! Bad dog breath can also be a signal that there may be an underlying cause and further health problems that you need to consider. Not only does plaque and tartar cause smelly breath, it also begins to break down your pup’s gums. This can expose even more room for pesky bacteria to develop. This will quickly cause inflamed gums, cavities, infections, and tooth loss. 

Periodontal Diseases

Periodontal disease is a collective term to describe the infections in the structures surrounding your dog’s teeth. These structures include his gums, his periodontal ligament and the ridge of bone around his jaw that contains his teeth sockets. In dogs there are four stages of periodontal disease. First it starts with inflamed gums and stained teeth, which is known as Gingivitis. Eventually he will reach the advanced stages whereby more than 50% of his connective attachment tissues and gums become rotten. Then, the roots of his teeth will begin to show. Early signs of periodontal disease are bleeding gums (or finding blood on his chew toys), bad breath and stained teeth.

Unpleasant Habits

Some dogs like to rummage through the garbage and eat rotten leftovers. Other dogs like to eat rotten animal carcasses or bones when out on walks. Some dogs like to eat poop. Some are fussy and will only eat fox or cat poop, whereas some dogs will eat all kinds of poop, and some dogs will even eat their own! Whichever delightful delicacy your pooch favors, it is probably going to make his breath stink! Fear not, your dog is not alone. Research has found that 24% of dogs will try this doggy delicacy at least once in their lifetime. Only 16% of them will go onto being serial poop munchers.

Kidney & Liver Disease

Dogs don’t just eat poop, sometimes they also drink urine. So, if your dog’s breath smells like urine then it is a sign that he might have kidney disease. Kidney disease can often be a symptom of another larger problem, so if you notice that he is drinking pee or his breath smells like pee, then take him to the Veterinarian immediately. In addition to smelly breath, if your dog’s gum are slightly yellow in color, and he is vomiting, then this could also be a sign of liver disease. This can be equally as devastating and could also be a sign of something more sinister.

Diabetes

If your dog’s breath smells like sweets or has a fruity aroma, then whilst it might smell appealing, it can actually be a sign that he has Diabetes. While this is a serious condition, it is something that can be easily managed once diagnosed and medicated. So, if you notice a sweet smell, or your dog is drinking vast amounts of water and urinating a lot, then get a Veterinary appointment booked for him immediately. 

Breeds Prone to Bad Breath

Greyhound with Bad Breath
Greyhounds are one of many breeds that suffer from chronic bad breath.

Certain dogs are more prone to periodontal diseases and bad breath. This is another important factor to consider when it comes to your dog’s dental hygiene. However, it is important to note here that just because your dog doesn’t fall into any of the below categories, does not mean that he will be free from the perils of bad breath and associated diseases. 

Small dog breeds, particularly toy dogs, are more prone to periodontal diseases. Their little mouths are a lot smaller than bigger dogs. They still have to fit in the same amount of teeth, so they become a lot more compact. Not only does this cause spatial issues, but they are also more likely to suffer from a buildup of plaque and tartar, gum recession, loss of teeth, and of course, bad breath. 

Dogs with narrow muzzles, such as the Greyhound or the whippet to name a couple, are also prone to a variety of dental diseases. This is simply because of the lack of space in their mouth. It is becoming increasingly common for dogs with narrow muzzles to be born with missing teeth too. So these dog breeds need that extra bit of dental attention.


Top Foods For Bad Breath

Top Dog Foods For Stinky Breath
There are several foods made specifically to remedy bad breath.

We have scoured the market for the best dry dog food which all contribute towards having healthier and cleaner teeth. Each of the picks below will noticeably freshen your pup’s breath. Keep in mind, there are two different types of dental health food we cover below. Some formulas will need a prescription, and some will not. The foods that do not need a prescription are first, and they are labeled that way.

There are several choices here dependant on the current health of your dog’s teeth. For those dogs who are younger who have not quite reached the stage of Gingivitis or periodontal disease stages, then choosing a kibble that is high in fiber will help to break down the built-up tartar and plaque. Ultimately this will freshen your dog’s breath. If your dog is medium-sized or above, then there is also the option to feed him kibble that is larger in size. This encourages him to chew and crunch more, which again helps to break down and remove that bacteria on his teeth and gums. This, of course, isn’t an option for smaller breeds. 

There are also more advanced options for those who have been diagnosed with periodontal diseases. Specifically, if your Veterinarian has prescribed a specific dental care diet. We have listed three of these kibbles at the end of our list, but be aware that to order these you need to submit your Veterinarian prescription for your order to be approved.

These diets are designed by Veterinarians and Nutritionists. These foods are aimed at dogs whose teeth are in poor condition. They are made specifically for dogs undergoing professional cleans and potential surgery. Again, these recipes will noticeably freshen his breath.  So, in no particular order, here are our top dry dog food kibbles that are the very best on the market designed specifically for your pup’s bad breath!


Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care

Science Diet Oral Care Dog Food
  • No prescription needed.
  • Designed specifically for oral care.
  • Interlocking fiber technology.
  • Antioxidant boosting.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 375 Calories per cup.
  • 20% Protein, 13% Fat, 12% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care is created specifically for poor breath. It’s made without the need for a Veterinarian prescription. Not only is each individual kibble textured, but it also actively makes your pup’s breath much fresher. In addition to the natural ingredients, it has added antioxidants such as cranberries and apples, It also contains vitamin C & E, which all contribute to a healthy immune system and his ability to fight away illnesses.

Hill’s describe their kibble size as large which also encourages your dog to crunch and scrape away the tartar even more so. Many Veterinarians have also voted that Hill’s Science Diet is their number 1 go to kibble for specific dietary needs. Science diet is one of our favorite brands for English Bulldogs and many other breeds.

We love that this recipe is designed specifically with oral care in mind. The kibble texture acts as a toothbrush as your dog chews which helps to scrape his teeth clean and freshen his breath. Out of the foods we have listed, this is our top overall pick.


Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain

TOTW Sierra Mountain
  • No prescription needed.
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin and coat health.
  • No grain, corn, wheat or fillers.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 338 Calories per cup.
  • 25% Protien, 15% Fat, 5% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

Real Lamb is the first ingredient on the list, making it one of Taste of the Wild’s most popular formulas. This is great not only for his protein needs, but also for your pup’s Glucosamine and Chondroitin needs. These nutrients contribute to stronger teeth and bones. It has extra added vitamins and minerals for your dog’s antioxidant needs. These ingredients will help to support canine immune systems and promote a healthy oxidative state.

Sweet potato, peas, apples, carrots and dried beet pulp are a few of the fiber ingredients in this recipe. Each ingredient will help to erode that plaque buildup in his mouth as he crunches the kibble. They also contribute to a healthy digestive system. While this food isn’t specifically made for bad breath, it helps alleviate it by not being made of ingredients that may cause it.

We love that this recipe is a high fiber diet recipe. It helps to break down a buildup of plaque and tartar. This is a great choice for those younger breeds who don’t have periodontal diseases yet, but who need a good start for their oral health. This is one of our favorite dog foods for bad breath, due to the fact it’s a relatively normal formula and is budget-friendly too.


Hill’s Prescription Diet Dental Care

Science Diet prescription dental care
  • Prescription required.
  • Formulated specifically for oral hygiene.
  • Uniquely shaped to clean canine teeth.
  • Fights plaque more than standard food.
  • Special fiber matrix.
  • 348 Calories per cup.
  • 15% Protein, 12% Fat, 12.5% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This recipe has been awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of acceptance for helping to reduce the buildup of tartar and plaque accumulation, which further helps to freshen up his breath. The special fiber design also means that the kibble actively reduces the bacteria in his mouth, and it has the highest amount of fiber on this list.

This is not only great for his oral health but it is also great for those pups who need help with their digestive health. It also has added antioxidants and vitamins which help to support his healthy immune system and improve his overall wellbeing. 

We love that this kibble is designed for smaller breeds, so it is small enough to fit into their tiny mouths. It’s worth noting that a prescription is needed from a vet to purchase this food.


Purina Pro Dental Health Formula

Purina Pro Veterinary Diets
  • Prescription required.
  • Uniquely designed for Dental Health.
  • Crunchy texture to clean canine teeth.
  • Formulated to reduce tartar build up.
  • Crafted in collaboration with vets.
  • 290 Calories per cup.
  • 25% Protein, 14% Fat, 5% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This recipe is made with real meat flavors that your dog will love. Despite this being a Veterinary diet, he will love it just as much as any other. Veterinarians, scientists and nutritionists across the world have designed this recipe with poor oral hygiene in mind. The kibble is also designed with a specific texture that will get into the gaps in his teeth.

It is also full of antioxidants and vitamins to support the other areas that he needs. This includes supporting a healthy immune system and a healthy coat. It is not packed with fiber, which makes this recipe a great alternative for those dogs who do not do well on a highly fibrous diet.  Purina Pro is one of our favorite food brands for Siberian Huskies, as well as other breeds.

We love that this recipe is not only clinically proven to reduce the buildup of tartar thanks to the textured kibble, but it also offers one of the highest protein contents on this list.


Royal Canin Dental Care

Royal Canin Veterinary Dental Care
  • Prescription Required.
  • Controls plaque build-up.
  • Reduces tartar build-up.
  • DHA for brain health.
  • Special texture cleans teeth.
  • 315 Calories per cup.
  • 20% Protein, 14% Fat, 5.3% Fiber.
View at Chewy.com

This complete and balanced dog food is created specifically to control plaque and tartar buildup, as well as freshening his breath. It also provides the balanced nutrition and vitamins that he needs to keep his immune system strong and improve his general health.

It also has an optimal balance of omega 3 fatty acids which further help to strengthen his bones and joint health, as well as DHA ingredients to support his eye health and cognitive health.  This is yet another formula where Royal Canin and Science Diet duke it out for a top food.

We love that this recipe not only tackles his bad breath, but it also has the highest number of calories per cup which makes it the better option for dogs who need that extra bit of energy to keep them going throughout the day.


Final Thoughts 

So, the ‘tooth’ of the matter is that you need to take care of your dog’s oral hygiene. Not only will this freshen up your dog’s breath, but it will also decrease the chance of periodontal diseases. You’ll also eliminate the potential for other serious health effects. While many people think that dogs’ mouths are much cleaner than us humans, it does not mean that they are self-cleaning. Every canine mouth still need a bit of extra help! 

Bad breath can easily be freshened up with the right high-quality dry dog food. While you will still need to brush his teeth and give him daily dental chews, the wrong dog food can still make his breath smelly even after all of the other steps. 

By choosing one of our recommendations above, you will be giving your dog one of the best quality natural foods that will service all of his other needs. This includes lean protein and antioxidant superfoods. But you get the added benefit that it will help to clean up your dog’s mouth and turn those teeth into pearly whites once again. Stick with one of our picks and you are sure to find the best bad breath dog food for your pup!

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