Severely Stinky Breath in a Dog: Mia's Case of Terrible-Smelling Breath

What can I do about my dog’s stinky breath?

Asking how to get rid of a dog’s foul breath is one of the most common question dog parents ask. There are also many tips and advice they receive. The bottom line is, however, that a dog’s breath doesn’t smell bad without a reason. Unless you find and address the reason, you’re simply masking the problem instead of solving it.

Oral disease is the most common cause of bad breath in dogs. But it’s not the only one. Be particularly on guard when your dog’s breath starts stinking suddenly. Acute onset calls for prompt attention.

Severely Stinky Breath in a Dog: Mia's Case of Terrible Smelling Breath

Mia’s story

Stinky breath can upset your relationship with your dog. Avoiding their love or trying to mask the odor, however, is not a solution.

Mia was a three-year-old, healthy, Golden Retriever. Her entire life, her breath didn’t have any odor. Until things suddenly changed. Suddenly, Mia didn’t even have to be that close for her mom to notice stink coming out of Mia’s mouth. It was a horrible, disgusting smell—the rotting garbage type.

Other than the sudden terrible smell coming out of Mia’s mouth, there were no signs of an obvious problem. Mia was full of energy and her appetite was good.

Mia’s mom tried some home remedies including a dog breath-freshening spray.

The smell is getting worse

In spite of all the things Mia’s mom tried, Mia’s breath kept stinking worse by day. Something else has changed too. Mia became quiet and less interested in walks and activities.

It wasn’t until Mia’s mom noticed a trace of blood-stained saliva by Mia’s food bowl when she realized something was seriously amiss.

At the veterinarian

The smell coming out of Mia’s mouth would be hard to miss by a dead person. The veterinarian noticed it at once. He did examine Mial carefully all over but her mouth seemed to be the source of the culprit. But what was going on? Bad tooth? An infected wound?

Mia didn’t want to open her mouth enough so the veterinarian could take a really good look inside. He had no choice but to sedate her to look for the problem.

Mia’s teeth, tongue, and gums looked fine.

What was Mia’s problem

And just like that, Mia’s problem became obvious. She had a piece of stick firmly lodged against the roof of her mouth. It was really stuck between her back teeth, pressing hard against her gums.

All this led to a deep, infected ulcer. The infection was the source of the horrible smell.

The treatment

The stick was stuck so tightly that it too forceps to get it out. The veterinarian then gave Mia pain medication and antibiotics and she could go home.

As it turned out, Mia loved chewing on sticks. That is, unfortunately, what can happen if your dog likes doing that.

Once Mia’s problem was found and addressed accordingly, Mia healed quickly and the smell of her breath became undetectable again.

In closing

Don’t dismiss your dog’s bad breath—it is not normal. Well, unless your dog just feasted on something awful. Make sure that you nail down the problem. Solve that, solve the stinky breath.

Source story:
Mia, a three-year-old Golden Retriever who had a bad case of halitosis

Related articles:
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Stick Injuries in Dogs: Watson’s Story

Further reading:
Embedded Objects in the Oral Cavity in Dogs

Categories: Bad breathBad odorConditionsDog health advocacyForeign bodiesReal-life Stories

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

12 Comments
  1. I’m glad that Mia is okay now and that her stinky break wasn’t caused by something worse. I never would have thought that a stick would get stuck like that.

    • Yes, it could have been something worse. However, a foreign body like that can cause quite a mess too, including tissue necrosis. So it can get scary too.

  2. That’s rather frightening, poor girl must have been in such pain. I assumed bad teeth was going to be the answer. Glad they got it sorted out for her.

  3. Marjorie Dawson

    THAT sounds really painful for the dog! I totally empathise with Mia! That was a tough experience and I hope she is recovered now.

    * ouch *

  4. A stuck stick – now that sounds painful! Poor Mia – but, I’m glad her mom knew to take her to the vet. Breath odor is definitely a telltale sign that something isn’t right. Hopefully Mia will cease her stick chewing ways!

  5. Great post, Layla only chews turkey tendons but I watch her carefully also all the time and thank goodness to date no problems. I do use good dental products on her also to keep her teeth healthy

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