8 Foods That Freshen Dog Breath Naturally

Tired of stinky dog breath and smelly puppy dog kisses? Freshen dog breath naturally with food that can be found in your kitchen right now!

Jun 09, 2024·10 min read
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8 Foods That Freshen Dog Breath Naturally

Dog dental health is often overlooked, but it is one of the most important ways to ensure your pet’s health, happiness, and comfort throughout their life.

When it comes to our four-legged friends, it is a common misconception that ‘dog breath’ is a normal thing. Of course, a slight smell is normal, but bad breath (halitosis) in dogs is not. 

Stinky dog breath can be very unpleasant. Many of us pet parents love to snuggle up with our pups, but foul smells coming from their mouths can make that special bonding time difficult. And the good thing is – you don’t have to put up with smelly dog breath.

So, what can you do to help freshen your dog’s breath?

The answer is simple: a good diet, a consistent daily dental cleaning routine, and regular visits to the vet. When it comes to diet, it turns out that there may be some foods that freshen dog breath – and they’re all probably in your kitchen right now!

What Causes Bad Breath in Dogs?

Bad breath in dogs can be caused by a whole host of reasons; some more sinister than others. If your dog loves to eat anything they can get their paws on – including your trash, then the likelihood of them having bad breath after indulging is high. 

Foul breath in dogs may be a sign of illness or other dental problems. The most common cause of bad breath in dogs is periodontal disease, where plaque and tartar buildup lead to gum inflammation, infection, bad breath, and ultimately tooth loss.

There are many other reasons your dog’s breath may stink!

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tartar build-up
  • Gum disease or periodontal disease
  • High-fat or sugary foods
  • Diet
  • Food intolerance
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver disease
  • Foreign objects
  • Infection or abscess
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Tumors in the mouth

If your dog has bad breath, it is important to schedule a veterinary appointment. Bad breath caused by periodontal disease or other medical issues requires veterinary treatment.

Dr. Liza Cahn

What Foods Freshen Dog Breath Naturally?

If medical causes of halitosis have been ruled out, you could consider trying some of these tasty treats in moderation!


The majority of your dog’s diet should come from a WSAVA-compliant commercial dog food. Additional treats should never make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

Dr. Liza Cahn

1. Carrots

To start, carrots are a wonderful addition to your dog’s diet to help freshen your dog’s breath. This popular vegetable has a crunchy texture that can help clean teeth and massage gums. As your dog chews, the abrasive action can help scrape food particles, and dirt build up off the teeth.

Alongside the texture, carrots are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which are beneficial for overall health. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that supports eye health and boosts the immune system. 

You can offer your dog carrots as a snack or mix them with their regular meals. They can be given raw or slightly steamed to make them easier to chew, which is especially helpful for older dogs. 

Top Tip: Ensure the pieces are appropriately sized to prevent choking hazards or the risk of intestinal obstruction.

A black and white dog holding a bunch of fresh carrots with green tops in its mouth, posing against a white background.

2. Blueberries

Blueberries aren’t dubbed as a superfood for no reason. These small dark berries are full of antioxidants and fiber, which can promote oral health and help freshen dog breath. The antioxidants in blueberries may help reduce inflammation in the gums and support overall dental health.

They are rich in vitamins C and K, which can support your dog’s overall health. 

There are many ways you can add blueberries to your dog’s diet. Fresh or frozen blueberries can be used as a healthy snack or a delicious reward for good behavior for your dog. They can be given whole or mashed, depending on your dog’s preference. Blueberries can also be mixed into meals or used as a training treat.

3. Apples

Similarly to carrots, apples provide a natural scrubbing action that can help remove dirt and plaque. The fibrous texture of apples can help clean your dog’s teeth as they chew, acting like a toothbrush.

They are packed with vitamins A and C, which support overall health. Vitamin A is vital for vision, immune function, and cellular communication, while vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports the immune system and helps with the repair of tissues.

Serve apples in small, bite-sized pieces, avoiding the seeds and core as these can be harmful to dogs. The seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can be toxic. You can give apple pieces as a treat or mix them with other foods to make meals more appealing.

A Siberian Husky with black and white fur biting into a red apple to freshen dog breath naturally, held by a person's hand against a pink background.

4. Curly Parsley

Now, when it comes to parsley, you need to be cautious. In small amounts, curly parsley is safe for dogs, however, other types of parsley can be toxic (flat-leaf/Italian and spring).

Curly parsley can act as a natural breath freshener with antibacterial properties to help combat bad dog breath. It is known for its ability to neutralize odors and reduce the bacteria in your dog’s mouth that cause bad breath.

It is high in chlorophyll, which helps neutralize odors and promotes fresh breath. Chlorophyll is also known for its detoxifying properties and can help improve overall digestion.

Chop and sprinkle curly parsley over your dog’s food, or blend it into homemade treats. A small amount can go a long way, so you don’t need to use much. Be sure to use fresh, curly parsley for the best results.

If you’re unsure, you may just want to avoid curly parsley altogether. Speak to your veterinarian before adding curly parsley to your dog’s diet.

5. Yogurt

Yogurt contains a host of benefits, including providing a rich source of probiotics. Probiotics are a ‘good’ bacteria, that can help balance oral (and intestinal) bacteria, promoting a healthier mouth and fresher breath.

As well as probiotics, yogurt is high in calcium and protein, which are good for your dog’s teeth and overall health. Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, while protein supports muscle development and repair.

Offer plain, unsweetened yogurt as a treat, or mix it with your dog’s meals. Avoid flavored yogurts that contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. 

When introducing anything new to your dog’s diet, consult your veterinarian to make sure it is suitable for your pup. Some dogs may have difficulty digesting the lactose in yogurt.

6. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is high in fiber, which aids in digestion and may indirectly help reduce bad dog breath. You see, good digestion can help prevent the build-up of odor-causing bacteria in the mouth and gut.

It is rich in vitamins A and C, supporting overall health. Vitamin A is important for vision and immune function, while vitamin C helps with tissue repair and immune support.

Mix pureed pumpkin into your dog’s food for a tasty and healthy addition. Make sure to use plain, canned pumpkin without any added sugars or spices. Consult your veterinarian for the recommended dosage, which may depend on your dog’s size and health.

A happy dog with brown and white fur holding a slice of pumpkin in its mouth, standing on green grass.

7. Celery

Celery may not be the most obvious choice, but just like apples and carrots, its crunchy texture can help clean your dog’s teeth – resulting in fresher dog breath. The act of chewing celery can help remove food particles stuck between the teeth and massage the gums, promoting oral health.

It is high in fiber and vitamins A, C, and K. Fiber aids in digestion, while vitamins A and C support the immune system and overall health. Vitamin K is essential for bone health, too.

Cut celery into small pieces and offer it as a crunchy treat for your dog. Ensure the pieces are an appropriate size to prevent choking. Celery can also be mixed into your dog’s meals to add a nutritious and hydrating element.

Don’t worry if your dog turns their nose up at celery. Some dogs can be picky eaters, and celery might not be the best option for them. Try some of the other foods on this list to naturally freshen your pup’s breath.

8. Watermelon

Watermelon’s high water content can help keep your dog hydrated, which is essential for maintaining good oral health, cleaning teeth, and contributing to fresher breath.

It contains vitamins A, B6, and C, which are beneficial for overall health. Vitamin B6 supports brain function and hormone regulation, while vitamins A and C promote healthy skin, coat, and immune function. 

Remove the seeds and rind, then offer watermelon in small chunks as a refreshing snack. Avoid giving your dog watermelon seeds and the rind, as these can cause intestinal blockage and can be difficult for dogs to digest. Watermelon and other fruits are also high in natural sugars, and should be avoided in obese or diabetic pets.

Other Ways to Promote Dog Dental Health and Fresh Breath

Can you imagine leaving the house without brushing your teeth? No? Well, cleaning your teeth and taking care of your oral health is a very normal part of day-to-day life. We look after our teeth for a number of reasons, but one key result of good dental hygiene is ridding bad breath! It’s important to give the same attention to your furry family member’s oral hygiene. 

Routine dental cleanings under anesthesia with your vet and daily toothbrushing at home are the best ways to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy. Dental chews, treats, water additives, dental powders for dogs, and prescription dental diets can also be beneficial.

Final Thoughts on Foods That Freshen Dog Breath Naturally

Bad breath in dogs, often dismissed as a normal part of dog ownership, can be a sign of poor oral hygiene, dietary issues, or underlying health problems. While a slight odor is normal, persistent bad breath should not be ignored.

Fortunately, you don’t have to put up with smelly dog breath! Alongside daily toothbrushing and regular vet visits, some foods may help freshen dog breath naturally when used as treats in moderation.

Including these foods in your dog’s diet, along with traditional dental care, may help ensure they maintain fresh breath, so you can enjoy puppy dog snuggles and kisses without the horrible “dog breath” smell!




Becca TriggB

Becca Trigg

An all round animal lover, who absolutely adores writing and researching anything puppy! Over the past few years, I have been able to gain ample pet knowledge; specifically joint health and dental hygiene. When I'm not typing away in the office, I can be found sitting in a country pub or growing chillies

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
*In Amazon Pet Health Category in 2022
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