Your dog is adorable – but their puppy breath? Not so much. There are tons of health and wellness reasons why your dog’s breath should stay fresh. About three of every four dogs suffer from dental disease and bad breath can be one of the early warning signs. Typically a dog’s breath smells bad because of a build-up of bacteria from plaque and tartar buildup.Vet looking at a poodle's mouth to inspect their teeth

This bad breath (also called halitosis) can have oral or non-oral causes. Hydrogen sulfide and methylmercaptan are produced by certain bacteria in the oral cavity and are the most common reason behind a dog’s bad breath. Smaller dogs are more prone than bigger dogs to tartar and plaque. It is also found that a dog’s increasing amount of dental plaque, calculus, and gingivitis are associated with bad breath. Of course, there could be more to this such as something being wrong in their kidneys so make sure you connect with your veterinarian to discuss any concerns.

In addition to the recommendations your veterinarian provides for your dog’s dental health there are additional natural methods, at-home remedies, and hacks that you can do at home to freshen your dog’s breath. This can also help improve the dental care you give to your pup. Note the more natural approaches can also help provide peace of mind, can be more cost-effective, and minimize bad reactions and side effects. This can help freshen your dog’s breath without brushing (but is not a substitute!) Here are 11 hacks on the best ways to freshen your dog’s breath to make all of the kisses they give you a little sweeter.

1.) Hide dog toothpaste in toysDalmatian holding a Kong before he plays

Toys (such as a kong) where you typically put satisfying dog-friendly ingredients like peanut butter replace with dog toothpaste. Never give your dog human toothpaste and make sure the dog toothpaste you use is safe to be ingested. They have flavored dog toothpaste that your pup should love, but if they are still hesitant, just add a little peanut butter and they should be set.

2.) Use water additives in their dog bowl

There are now a plethora of healthy water additives for your pup to discreetly drink in their water bowl. A natural water additive is apple cider vinegar. Add just a half of a teaspoon to a bowl of your pup’s water. Apple cider vinegar can fight your dog’s bad breath because of its anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral agents. The acidity can also break down plaque and tartar in their mouth.

3.) Add green tea extract to their food or water

Green tea has been shown to help alleviate plaque and bacteria. A study showed that a diet with green tea extract in dogs helps to diminish breath sulfur in dogs in 7 weeks as well as decrease gingivitis.

4.) Freshen dogs breath with dental dog chews

Buy your pup some greenies or other natural dog treat designed for their dental care. Regularly feeding your dog dental chews has been shown to reduce breath sulfur in dogs. These chews that help your dog’s breath smell better have also been shown to reduce the accumulation of dental deposits.

5.) Give your dog coconut oil

Coconut oil has tons of natural health benefits for dogs. It’s a natural antibacterial agent, can help prevent the buildup of tartar, and promotes healthier teeth by increasing your pup’s calcium and magnesium levels. You can give your pup a teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight by applying directly to your dog’s teeth. You can also place it on their favorite toy or add it to their food. Coconut oil can also help your dog’s allergies, digestion, accelerate the healing time of wounds, and keep their coat shiny.

6.) Give your dog a probiotic

Probiotics are microorganisms helpful for your dog that lives in the digestive tract. Giving your pup a probiotic will help prevent the bacteria responsible for bad breath from taking over your dog’s system and add good bacteria to the mix of bad bacteria in their gut and mouth. Probiotics can also help their digestive system, reduce allergies, and elevate their mood. An example of a natural probiotic for your dog would be fermented carrots, green beans, kale, or broccoli.

7.) Give your dog breath spray

Yup, there’s even a market for fresh breath spray in the dog world. You can also make your own natural fresh dog breath spray by boiling some parsley and then adding mint, and apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle and mixing it all up. This is a great remedy to keep with you and your dog when you are on the go.

8.) Mint helps freshen your dog’s breath, too!

In addition to freshening your dog’s breath, mint contains nutritional and health benefits for your pup. It’s a natural pupper-mint and home remedy to freshen your puppies breath. You can give pieces of the mint leave directly to your dog. If they don’t want that, you can also infuse their water with it or add it to their food. Mint can also be great if your dog is a grass chewer to give them something healthier to munch on.

9.) Give your dog a carrot to crunch on

Gnawing can help your dog maintain its pearly whites and fresh breath. Your dog can chew on a carrot that will help them chew away the buildup on their teeth and the benefits are endless. Carrots are low in calories, high in fiber, and are a great source of vitamins such as A, C, D, E, and K as well as the vitamins B1, B6, and potassium.

10.) Give your dog wheatgrass

If your dog chews on the grass outside, this can be another natural way for them to freshen their breath and get their fix in a way safer manner. Wheatgrass will help your puppy’s breath smell better and add good enzymes to their mouth. You can slice it up and add to your dog’s food, juice it and add to your pup’s water, or even provide it in a pot for your pup so it can mimic the outside.

11.) Sprinkle chopped parsley on dog food

Sprinkle this natural herb on your dog’s food – it’s an antibacterial and natural breath freshener! Parsley contains chlorophyll that has antimicrobial properties to fight bacteria. This herb also helps with healthy digestion so is ready to combat your dog’s breath from different angles.