How to Cure Dog with Horrible Bad Breath

by Rosanna Jerkins
(Clearwater, FL)

Reader Question: How to Cure Dog with Bad Breath

My 15 yr old Male Chihuahua, 10lbs 13 oz, standard size, has lately developed very bad breath. HIs teeth and gums are fine. He developed a cough a little over a year ago. At first, it was a bronchial cough. He took antibiotics for almost a year - his cough seemed to be getting deeper and deeper. Now the cough is like a whisper but his breath is horrible when he is coughing?

There is also a very small amount of saliva/phlegm when he coughs. His diet is the same. He eats like he always has. He drinks and urinates with no problem. His bowel movements are exactly the same and there is no unusual odor.

I hope you can help me.

Thank you,


Suggestions From Our Veterinarian on How to Cure Dog Bad Breath

Hi Rosanna,

You can't rule out the possibility that dental disease is causing your Chihuahua's bad breath based on the fact that his gums and teeth look okay when you examined him. He could have an abscess, gum infection, or even a tumor in a part of his mouth that isn't visible without sedation or even x-rays. That said, I am concerned that his cough is worsening along with his breath. The two could be related.

If your dog was my patient, I would start the diagnostic process by performing a complete physical exam, including a close look in his mouth using a sedative if necessary. Assuming I couldn't diagnose an obvious problem at that point, I'd follow up with x-rays of his chest to investigate his cough and possibly dental x-rays to look for oral problems that can only be identified in that way.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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