Specialized canine toothpaste is expensive. Can anyone recommend an alternative to brushing with toothpaste to cure a dog's bad breath?

  • 1
    Does the dog have proportionaly sized bones to chew on? They are suposed to last at least one hour, and the chewing does exactly what a toothbrush does.
    – Salketer
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 15:40
  • Wow, I'd better tell him about it; I've never seen his dog chewing bones much.
    – Timtech
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 15:41

4 Answers 4


I can think of three options:

  1. Brush every day. I use kissable dog toothpaste (8 Dollars, lasts a couple months) with my dog. (I'm not clear if you are saying prescription toothpaste is too expensive, or just dog toothpaste)
  2. You can consider dental treats (like greenies). Some people feel these are choking hazards or can cause bowel obstructions, so you have to decide for yourself.
  3. Have the vet maintain your dogs teeth. This can be expensive but I've heard many claims that is greatly improves a dog's overall health in the long run. This usually means anesthesia for a cleaning and removing bad teeth. If the dog does have rotting teeth that will lead to bad breath that can't really be prevented just by brushing.
  • I used to give Greenies, which are like puppy crack, but I've heard horror stories with the obstruction potential, so I stopped.
    – JoshDM
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 15:46
  • 1
    @JoshDM: Ya, I decided to keep using them since it seemed pretty rare. My dog chews them thoroughly so I don't worry too much. I also supervise him while he eats them because of the choking hazard. I think one of the main things to prevent this is to make sure you get ones that are the right "size" for the dog. Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 15:48
  • I've stopped with the rawhides as well for the same concerns. It's biscuits and those round spinal-like bones from the butcher for us.
    – JoshDM
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 15:50
  • Note, this question is being discussed in meta
    – ThomasH
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 11:53

I would look into how much water the dog is drinking in a day. I know with my dog if she does not drink enough her breath will start to smell.

Also there are some product out there that you can place in the dogs water to help freshen it's breath.

  • Not enough water - that would be a problem. I'll check into it.
    – Timtech
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 15:48

Try to wash the food bowl and the water bowl. I started doing this for the last couple of months now and it completely eliminated the bad breath issue.

I have 3 dogs and I found somewhere on the internet at some point, an article that recommended that you wash their water bowl and their food bowl every couple of days

Picture how nasty it would be if you always ate on the same bowl and drank water from the same cup without ever (or maybe once in a blue moon) washing it before use.

I would try that approach first as it seems to be the least expensive and more natural solution for bad doggy breath.

Last but not least, make sure your dog does not get to the trash or anything like that because that is a very common cause of bad breath on dogs.


I've found that having existing tartar on the teeth is the worst culprit for stinky breath.

I used to get my dog's teeth cleaned annually at the vet, but my own experience shows the frequency of visits can be reduced through regular brushing. I found that regular brushing even seems to clean away the problematic tartar and gunk, especially if done consistently over time.

You mention that toothpaste is expensive, but have you considered that it depends on (1) how / where you purchase it, (2) the volume of toothpaste your purchase and (3) the amount of toothpaste you use?

I use an enzymatic dog toothpaste (CET poultry-flavored toothpaste; my dogs did not like the vanilla-flavored one) purchased in bulk (3 tube) at an online retailer (Amazon); my vet was much more expensive on a per-tube basis. You should only need a pea-sized amount on the toothbrush. Not only does using a reduced amount per incident extend your supply, a pea-sized amount is what's recommended for human tooth brushing, contrary to what commercials tell you!

Alternately, my dogs absolutely love Pedigree Breath Busters; the eucalyptus smell is quite appealing vs. other treats I've given them, and it does a pretty OK job, though brushing daily (once in the morning; 3 times a week should be OK) is still my preferred way to do things.

All things considered, nothing does cure the problem like a good tooth scaling at the vet. I had one dog who had so much tartar on his teeth that I was able to peel it off manually with my fingers. One time I cleaned all his teeth that way, and while he was fine with it then, I never let him get back to that state of corrosion.

  • Okay, Pedigree Breath Busters might be a good solution.
    – Timtech
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 15:47

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