For any dog owner, puppy breath is a smell that will stay with you and one you will always recognize.
But what does it actually smell like and why does it smell like that?
In this article, we will find out the cause for the Puppy breath, why does it smell the way it smells, and also for how long it will stay like that.
What does puppy breath smell like?
Puppy breath usually lasts for a few months and is caused by the formation of the teeth. Puppy breath can smell like skunk due to enzymes. It can smell like fish and poop because the odour has transferred after the puppy has cleaned itself.
It can also smell like metal due to teething blood and coffee due to its mothers milk. Puppy breath is normal but bad odours can be a sign of plaque build-up or other problems such as kidney failure.
What should puppy breath smell like
It is difficult to define what any one thing should smell like, considering we all identify smells with different things. Puppy’s breath should smell somewhat pleasant to most people, a lot of puppy owners describe it as having a sweet smell.
Or at the very least, it should not be off-putting. If your puppy’s breath smells really bad there is a chance that it isn’t actually puppy breath but is indeed a different health problem.
Other symptoms that indicate your puppy’s breath may be a sign of ill health include a change in appetite and pain or swelling around the gum area.
What is puppy breath
Puppy breath is a term for the distinctive smelling breath of a puppy’s breath that disappears between about 4 months to 6 months old. This breath is usually sweet smelling, or at least pleasant, in scent.
There are some people who don’t like the smell of puppy breath, but you should be careful as bad breath may be because your puppy is sick.
What causes puppy breath and why do they have it?
There are a couple of reasons why puppy breath occurs. One of the reasons is that the sweet smell is a product of their mother’s milk, which will remain on the puppy’s tongue after feeding.
Another reason is because of the formation and growth of teeth. When teeth rupture the gums it can sometimes produce a smell because of the presentation of clean teeth.
There is also certain bacteria only present in puppies’ mouths which may contribute to the sweet smell. Puppy breath can also be caused by its diet, if you puppy is on a low nutrition diet this can make your puppy’s breath smell.
You can always ask your vet for a nutritional appointment, to make sure your puppy is on the best diet that it can be.
Why does a puppy’s breath stink?
We’ve looked at what puppy breath is and how it can cause a certain smell, but if that isn’t the cause of your puppies bad breath, then what is? Sometimes, the answer is not a pleasant one.
It could be as simple as they’ve ingested something that does not smell nice, or it could be a larger issue. The cause of bad breath is usually due to poor oral hygiene, it can be a sign of a tooth abscess or ulcers and mouth infections.
It can also be a side-product of respiratory infections. If your puppy has bad breath especially noticeable during exhalation and coughing, it may be signs of a tracheal infection. If you are worried your puppy’s breath may be a result of illness, check the full list of problems
How long does puppy breath last?
Puppy breath is relatively fleeting and is usually gone in a few months. As it is the product of teething it can usually take between 4 to 6 months to disappear, although there is some variation around that date.
It’s a personal thing as to whether you are sad about this or not, some people rush to try and get rid of the smell whilst other owners wish that they could prolong it.
Most common puppy breath smells
Whilst we’ve established that puppy breath can smell different, I’ve compiled a list of the most commonly reported puppy breath smells, and the reasons why they may smell this way.
Some of these smells may be the cause of something more problematic, so don’t just put any smell to being the result of normal puppy breath.
Puppy breath that smells like poop
Unfortunately, this is a common one. However, it is not usually a direct result of puppy breath. It is usually because a puppy has been cleaning its rear end or has consumed some form of faeces. It’s not nice to think about, but it is the way of puppies.
If this smell persists for a long time, then you should book an appointment with your vet as it could be a sign of a dental problem. Dental problems can include plaque build-up and ulcers.
Puppy breath that stinks like skunk
This is also not a pleasant smell and it is usually present in very young puppies, around 8 weeks. Thankfully, this is nothing to worry about and will usually disappear shortly after the 8-week mark.
Skunk breath is caused by digestive enzymes that are only present in very young puppies. It is a normal thing for puppies to have but will fade when the enzymes develop into more permanent digestive strands.
Puppy breath smells like fish
Fishy breath can be the result of teething in a puppy. When their teeth come through it can sometimes push a fishy kind of smell through their gums.
This is usually only during a short period of the puppy breath months. Fishy breath can also occur because sometimes the glands near a puppies anus can produce a fishy kind of smell which will transfer to the puppy’s mouth when they have been cleaning themselves.
Puppy breath smells like coffee
For those who enjoy the smell of puppy breath, a frequent comparison is that puppy breath smells like coffee, but sweeter. Puppy breath that smells like coffee is usually a result of a puppy drinking it’s mothers milk.
The milk from their mother is sweet and the smell persists on the puppy’s breath because the new puppy teeth have not developed any plaque. Plaque has a stronger and more foul-smelling odour which would overpower the coffee smell.
Puppy breath smelling like coffee is not problematic and is actually a strange favourite among dog lovers, owners often missing their puppy’s coffee breath when it has gone.
Puppy breath smells like metal
The main cause of a metallic smell to your puppy’s breath is blood. You don’t need to panic though, it’s quite normal. When puppies are teething, their gums can bleed slightly, similarly to us humans.
This bleeding and teething process can leave these little metallic smelling droplets that linger on your puppies breath. However, if this metallic smell persists after the first few months of your puppy’s life it could be a sign of kidney failure.
The metallic smell in this case would be because of a build up of toxins not filtered properly by the kidneys. If you are worried about the persistence of this smell, remember to book a vet appointment.
Puppy breath smells like rotten meat
Puppy breath smelling like rotten meat is also usually a sign of a health problem, rather than just the standard puppy breath. A rotten meat smell can be a sign of poor dental hygiene.
This can be problematic so make sure to clean your puppy’s teeth, and if the smell persists, book an appointment with your vet. But if you have noticed your dog’s breath smells like urine as well as rotten meat at times, this can be a clear sign of kidney failure.
It is best to book an appointment with a vet to check if anything is wrong with your friend. Particularly if this problem is in an adult dog or older puppy.
Does a puppy’s breath smell when it loses its teeth?
I’ve mentioned before about teething affecting the smell of a puppy’s breath, so let’s look at the effect of tooth loss on puppy breath. When puppies get their adult teeth it can lead to their breath smelling.
As the new teeth push out the old teeth, it may bring up decayed parts of the tooth that previously rested below the gum line. This can cause a fishy smell in your puppy’s breath. Old blood resting under the gums can also cause this smell, so make sure to keep your puppy’s mouth and teeth clean when they are teething.
Do puppies get bad breath when teething?
The simple answer is yes, when owners report bad puppy breath it is usually caused by teething and things associate with it. Such as dried blood under the gums. However, this bad breath should not be constant and the smell should be bearable.
If this smell is so foul that you cannot deal with it, take your dog to the vet to make sure that it isn’t a sign of any underlying health conditions. Cleaning your dog’s teeth properly when they are teething can help prevent this bad breath and also future dental problems.
How can I get rid of stinky puppy breath?
If you are not one of the dog owners that loves the endearing smell of their puppy’s breath, you may be wondering if there is any way to get rid of this puppy breath. The most effective way to get rid of puppy breath is to make sure that your puppy’s teeth and mouth are cleaned. This can be done either by way of dog toothpaste or dog dental hygiene bones.
Dog toothpaste comes in a variety of forms, including a dental gel and a mouthwash. Some people also like to use herbs or special dog tea as a natural way of controlling their dog’s breath. Adding ½ teaspoon of herbs such as coriander, mint and parsley can help stop puppy breath.
However be sure to check the herbs you plan to use are safe for your puppy before doing so. Stale water can also cause bad puppy breath, make sure to give your dog fresh water and to scrub and thoroughly clean their water bowl on a daily basis.
Can you prolong puppy breath?
If you love the smell of your puppy’s breath, you may wish to prolong it. There is no way to prolong the sweet smell but you should instead focus on keeping your dog’s mouth clean to prevent any foul odours from appearing in the future.
How long do puppies teeth for?
Puppy teething is a long and often agitating process. Puppies have 28 milk teeth which are replaced by 42 adult teeth. These milk teeth fall out at around 3 months old and can take up until 6 months of age for all a puppy’s baby teeth to be replaced.
How can I help my teething puppy?
It’s horrible knowing your puppy is uncomfortable and there are things you can do to help teething. You can buy specialised teething toys as well as dental treats that help with the pain and the development of healthy adult teeth.