best-dog-food-for-bad-breath

5 Best Dog Foods for Bad Breath

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best foods for dogs with bad breath.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Dog Food for Bad Breath?

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Vet’s Advice

Before reaching for a diet to fix your dog’s smelly breath, it’s best to consult your vet first. Dental problems are the most common culprit of bad breath, but there are some other possibilities. Your dog’s teeth may also need a good clean by your vet first. Here are some things to look out for when choosing a dental food.

Choose a kibble with added fiber

Increased fiber content helps to hold the kibble together for longer, especially if the fibers are specifically aligned to resist crumbling. This way when your dog takes a bite, the fibers gently scrape the tooth’s surface clean.

Find a kibble that is appropriately sized for your dog

Kibble size is also key. The kibble should be large enough that it can cover the whole tooth before it breaks apart. If you have a large dog, look for a large kibble size.

Choose a diet with controlled protein and calcium

Diets with slightly reduced protein can help by limiting one of the components of plaque. Of course, protein is important in the diet, so the protein that is present needs to be good quality. Calcium is another important nutrient, but slightly reduced calcium can decrease the amount of plaque that mineralises into tartar.

A dental diet can help to reduce plaque and tartar forming, but will not be able to prevent it completely, nor remove what has already developed. Speak with your vet about the best oral health routine for your pup.

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score

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Bad Breath Dog Food Reviews

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DH Dental Health Formula Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal (Natural Source of Glucosamine)
    3. Brewers Rice
    4. Ground Yellow Corn
    5. Ground Wheat

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 290 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Fiber: 5%

Purina Pro Plan Dental Health is a veterinarian-prescribed diet that helps dogs achieve and maintain excellent oral health. Considered to be one of the best foods for dogs with bad breath, this premium quality diet takes whole chicken and chicken meal as its primary ingredients. Chicken and chicken meal are lean source of protein that are easily digestible and rich in amino acids.

Each piece of kibble contained in Purina Pro Plan Dental Health has been crafted to help remove tartar and plaque build up, restoring better dental health in dogs suffering from chronic bad breath. Its formula is well-renowned for its excellent flavor profile, making it a food that dogs enjoy and look forward to each meal.

This diet has been carefully formulated through a collaborative effort between leading canine nutritionists and veterinary professionals. It has received the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s Seal of Acceptance as a diet proven to assist with tartar control in dogs.

Pros

  • This diet includes large, textured kibble pieces that help to keep plaque and tartar from accumulating on the teeth.
  • Owners like that this food can be fed as a meal and also used as a treat to help promote optimal dental hygiene for their dogs.
  • Most dogs love the taste of this food. Their owners report that they lick their bowls clean at every meal.
  • Dogs that previously suffered from poor digestion found relief from their symptoms when regularly fed Purina Pro Plan Dental Health.
  • Dogs that had a significant amount of tartar and plaque on their teeth saw dramatic improvements when fed this diet consistently.

Cons

  • These kibble pieces are quite large, making them a potential choking hazard for toy or small breeds. Some dogs find these morsels of food very difficult to break down and chew.
  • Some owners dislike that this diet places a heavy emphasis on corn, an ingredient that can trigger allergic reactions in some dogs.
  • Several owners indicated they would prefer to see some whole fruits and vegetables included in this diet to boost the amount of dietary fiber from high quality, easily digestible sources.
  • This diet contains no prebiotics or probiotics to assist with good digestion in dogs.
  • There are no added supplements to provide a boost for optimal joint health.

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Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Rice Bran
    4. Split Peas
    5. Whole Grain Brown Rice

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 231 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 24%
  • Fat: 7%
  • Fiber: 10%

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight is a premium quality food that meets all the hallmarks dogs need from their diet to thrive. A diet that places an emphasis on achieving a healthy weight, Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight is full of ingredients that help to gently scrub the teeth and gums to remove any additional plaque to promote good dental health.

A diet that is rated among the best foods for dogs with bad breath, the main ingredient in Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight is whole chicken. This lean protein is reinforced by the addition of chicken meal, a powerful dense source of meat that helps provide all of the essential nutrients dogs need for health and wellness.

The kibble included in this food is crunchy and textured to provide a vital help in ongoing dental care. Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight is free from by-products, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, common allergens for many dogs.

Pros

  • Owners were pleased that this recipe is calorie conscious, assisting them with attaining a healthy body weight for their dogs while still maintaining a diet that is chock full of flavor.
  • Dogs struggling from recurring bouts of gastrointestinal stress saw a return to healthy digestion when fed this diet on a consistent basis.
  • Owners expressed this dog food offers top tier nutrition at a price that is easily affordable. They love that they are able to provide their dogs with the fuel they need to enjoy an active lifestyle without having to break the bank to purchase it.
  • Generally speaking, dogs find this food very tasty, licking their bowls clean after every meal.
  • Owners shared that they like that this diet is grain-inclusive. This recipe gives them confidence that their dogs are receiving the nutritional components they need for optimal digestive processing.

Cons

  • In rare cases, some dogs expressed disinterest in this food and were reluctant to eat it.
  • Several owners shared that they found this diet expensive, making it more challenging for them to afford to feed their dogs on an ongoing basis.
  • Some dogs experienced mild gastrointestinal distress such nausea, diarrhea and loose stools when fed this diet. This may be the result of a sensitivity to one of the diet’s ingredients or too quick a transition process from the old food to the new. This should resolve in time.
  • In a few instances, some dogs ate smaller portion sizes when fed this food regularly. This could be because this diet is rich in dietary fiber, ensuring the dog becomes full more rapidly. Unless the dog becomes too thin, the smaller amounts of food are not of any great concern.
  • Several owners would prefer more size variations in the bags of this food.

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Hill’s Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Brewers Rice
    2. Whole Grain Corn
    3. Chicken By-Product Meal
    4. Powdered Cellulose
    5. Pork Fat

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 248 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 14%
  • Fat: 12%
  • Fiber: 12.5%

Hill’s Prescription Diet Dental Care is prescription only diet designed to assist dogs in need of additional support for achieving optimal oral health. A diet considered to be among the best foods for dogs with bad breath, the kibble pieces contained in this diet form a unique shape to help clean each tooth to remove plaque build up.

There is a proprietary blend of fiber included in this formulation to help prevent plaque and stains from taking root on the dog’s teeth. This veterinary diet is renowned for helping stave off plaque while helping to eliminate unpleasant breath odor.

Hill’s Prescription Diet Dental Care includes S+OXSHIELD to ensure optimal nutrition for dogs. This powerhouse supplement also encourages excellent urinary health.

Pros

  • Owners reported a great improvement in their dogs’ teeth after they were fed a steady diet of Hill’s Prescription Diet Dental Care.
  • Dogs really enjoy the taste of this food. They look forward to their every meal and happily lick their bowls clean.
  • Owners like that this food can be combined with their dogs’ regular meals, meaning they don’t need to switch from a diet their dogs love and do well on to gain the benefits of a kibble designed to remove plaque and tartar from their dogs’ teeth.
  • Owners are pleased that this diet is veterinarian approved for dogs who have just undergone dental surgery.
  • Several owners shared that their dogs could go longer between dental cleanings after being fed this diet on a regular basis.

Cons

  • Several owners felt the kibble pieces in this diet were too large for it to be fed as a meal. Instead, they used each morsel as a treat for their dogs.
  • Some owners expressed that this diet is quite expensive.
  • A few owners indicated that this diet is not suited to small breed dogs, citing potential choking hazards as the result of too big pieces of kibble.
  • Some owners noted that the outer coating on the kibble pieces falls off easily, creating quite a mess to be cleaned up when the dog’s meal is complete.
  • Several owners disliked that this diet contains by-products and corn, feeling these ingredients are not of sufficient nutritional quality to benefit their dogs.

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Hill’s Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Whole Grain Wheat
    3. Powdered Cellulose
    4. Brown Rice
    5. Chicken Fat

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 275 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 20%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Fiber: 12%

Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care is a premium food that owners can feel good about feeding their dogs. This high quality food formulation includes chicken as its main ingredient, an excellent protein source that is easy for dogs to digest. Each piece of kibble contains a unique texture to help scrub the teeth clean from excess plaque and tartar.

Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care contains many antioxidant-rich foods to support the development of a strong immune system. It is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

In addition to being one of the best foods for dogs with bad breath, Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care has also been designed to assist with achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight in dogs.

Pros

  • Owners like the size of the kibble pieces and feel they are very effective at removing plaque and tartar buildup on their dogs’ teeth.
  • Dogs that previously struggled with gastrointestinal distress found relief when transitioned to a regular diet of Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care.
  • Owners feel confident this food is a good choice for dogs recovering from dental issues or surgery since it is veterinarian approved and recommended.
  • Owners noted a big improvement in their dogs’ oral health when fed this food as a treat or meal on a regular basis.
  • Though a little expensive, owners share they feel this diet is a wise financial investment given its benefits for their dogs.

Cons

  • Some owners shared they felt these kibble pieces are too hard for their dogs to break down effectively.
  • A few owners expressed they thought this food was best suited to dogs that are medium, large, or giant in size.
  • A few people indicated that this diet was too cost prohibitive for them to feed their dogs on an ongoing basis.
  • Some owners dislike that this diet places a high emphasis on grains that are not of optimal nutritional quality.
  • Both corn and corn gluten meal are included in this recipe, two ingredients that have been linked to recurring allergies in some dogs.

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Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dental Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Brewers Rice
    2. Chicken By-Product Meal
    3. Brown Rice
    4. Corn
    5. Chicken Fat

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 315 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 20%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Fiber: 5.3%

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dental is a prescription diet that addresses the problem of bad breath in dogs. This food has been specifically formulated to help deal with the three most common dental issues seen in dogs: ongoing bad breath, plaque and tartar accumulation, and periodontal disease.

Each piece of kibble has its own unique texture and shape to help scrub the teeth clean and prevent the accumulation of tartar. Included in this diet is a probiotic that assists with digestion and proper gut health.

One of the best foods for dogs with bad breath available for purchase today, Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dental is enriched with a proprietary blend of antioxidants to promote a strong and healthy immune system.

Pros

  • Most owners love the large kibble pieces found in Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dental. The size and texture of each morsel ensures a scrubbing action against the teeth that helps to remove tartar and plaque buildup.
  • Most dogs love the taste of this food. They look forward to their every meal with great enthusiasm.
  • This food can be used as a meal or as a treat to help encourage optimal oral hygiene in dogs.
  • Owners are pleased that this food can be fed to dogs just recovering from dental surgery.
  • Several owners noted that this food now has a different shape that they find is less crumbly in texture. They prefer this, believing the new kibble pieces are more effective at removing plaque and tartar.

Cons

  • The kibble pieces in this diet are quite large, and some owners feel they are too big for small and medium breeds to break down well.
  • Several owners shared that they found this diet was very expensive, making it difficult for them to afford to feed it to their dogs on an ongoing basis.
  • Some dogs do not like the taste of this food and will not eat it.
  • A few owners noted that dogs that were missing teeth struggled to chew the kibble pieces in this diet.
  • Several owners disliked some of the ingredients in this diet, feeling they were not of ideal nutritional quality.

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How to Choose the Best Foods for Dogs with Bad Breath

Dogs may suffer from bad breath for a number of different reasons. Sometimes, there is an underlying health condition resulting in breath that smells far less than minty fresh. Other times, it is a dental issue at play.

Prior to addressing any dietary change for dogs with bad breath, it is a good idea to visit a veterinarian for a thorough wellness examination and assessment of the dog’s teeth and gums. The best foods for dogs with bad breath typically have a crunchy outer coating that helps to remove any accumulated plaque or tartar to help reduce unpleasant smelling breath and promote better oral health.

Among the problems that could be plaguing dogs with recurring bad breath are:

  • Poor oral hygiene habits
  • Periodontal disease
  • Regular eating of garbage or feces
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Tumors of the mouth
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Certain foods

Some dog breeds are naturally predisposed to having bad breath. For owners of these breeds, it is even more important to stay on top of proper oral care to prevent dental-related disease from occurring and to help keep bad breath at bay.

Because of their small mouths, toy breeds are particularly prone to tartar build up. Greyhounds also are known for dental issues and bad breath due to the narrowness of their muzzle.

Since wet foods easily stick to a dog’s mouth and gums, they are best avoided for dogs suffering from bad breath issues.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dogs with Bad Breath

It can be challenging trying to determine the correct amount of the best food for bad breath to feed a dog. As a basic guideline, it is a good idea to use the suggested serving size printed on the bag as a starting point. The amounts can then be adjusted to reflect the dog’s weight and appetite until the correct portion is found.

Free feeding is not recommended as it can lead to weight gain.

Adult dogs should be fed a high quality diet that contains a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat. By comparison, puppies require higher amounts of both of these items with 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat being ideal.

Dietary Requirements for Dogs with Bad Breath

Dogs that suffer from bad breath often also have dental issues, and thus, a food that helps to remove tartar buildup is a great help in reducing any offensive mouth odors. Most typically, a food that takes a lean meat as its primary ingredient is the best choice in a dog food for bad breath. However, since dogs suffering from oral odors often need a food that helps provide a scrubbing action against the teeth, plant-based proteins or a heavy emphasis on fiber-rich carbohydrates is often desirable to reduce bad breath.

The best foods for dogs with bad breath avoid the use of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. These ingredients are often common allergens for dogs and add little nutritional value to a dog’s diet.

Healthy fats play an important role in any excellent quality diet to promote canine wellness. These are best derived from animal sources and include such ingredients as chicken fat and oily fish such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and herring. Their emphasis on omega 3 and 6 fatty acids encourages coat and skin health.

Carbohydrates included in any diet for dogs with bad breath should be easily digestible and rich in antioxidants. Poor digestion can also play a role in bad breath. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates and help form the basis of a premium quality diet for dogs.

Supplements can be a great help in ensuring excellent digestion, healthy skin, coat, and joints and can even help eliminate some of the causes that may be contributing to bad breath in dogs. Among the most beneficial ingredients to look for in the best food for dogs with bad breath are prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

There are several natural ingredients owners can give to their dogs on their own or look for in a premium quality diet to help eliminate bad breath. These include:

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Bananas
  • Kefir
  • Honey
  • Yogurt
  • Coconut oil
  • Mint
  • Parsley

Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Bad Breath

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a dog food for bad breath:

  • Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list if possible
  • Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
  • Crafted with a hard, crunchy outer coating that provides scrubbing action for the teeth

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