Smelly breath, or Halitosis is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth causing inflammation of the gums, a build up of plaque and tartar.
First recommendation is a trip to the vets for an oral assessment. Many vet clinics will do free dental checks to let you know how severe a problem you are dealing with.
Just like people pets need regular scale and polish of their teeth to keep them healthy. After your pet comes home from this procedure that’s when you can start your dental home care if you haven’t already.
Tooth brushing daily is the best preventative care we can do. Always use dog toothpaste (they have different pH in the mouth compared to humans) and either a finger brush or child's toothbrush (nice and soft)
Alternatives include dental diets which work like chewing gum on the back teeth to pull of any plaque that’s building up however this is not as effective on front teeth as dogs don’t tend to use their front teeth for chewing so much.
There are various dental chews, dental toys and drinking water supplements that all claim to help with halitosis or smelly breath. I personally recommend looking for the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of approval as these are the best products on the market that dental experts have deemed effective and useful to pets.
If you are doing regular dental home care and still finding your pet has a build up of tartar do not be disheartened. Think how severe it would be if you were doing nothing! Some pets are genetically predisposed to dental disease and will require regular dental cleans throughout their lives to keep their teeth in good health, some as frequent as every 6 months.