Best Dog Food for Bad Breath

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dog mouth

As much as we love our dogs, we don’t want to deal with smelly burps and the constant funk that can come from our dog’s mouth.

If your furry friend smells like fish, trash, or worse when they open their mouth, it’s time to look for the best dog food for bad breath. 

Our favorite option is Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free dry dog food.  

It aids in dental health by scraping off the tartar from your dog’s teeth as they chew, and contains omega fatty acids for strong gums. 

And we have other options, too — including a dental care-specific food and an option for dogs dealing with periodontal disease. 

Our Best Dog Food for Bad Breath

10 Best Dog Foods for Bad Breath Reviewed 

The following formulas meet AAFCO’s nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your dog to new dog food, consult with your veterinarian. 


Best Overall

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain Free Food
  • First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 408 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein dry dog food with live probiotics and calcium for dental health

Sometimes, bad breath means that your dog is missing essential nutrients or isn’t having their teeth cleaned.

Why not give them both by choosing a kibble that offers vitamins and minerals for dental health and is the perfect size to scrape off tartar buildup?

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free dry dog food is the perfect option. First, it’s formulated with novel proteins, including real smoked salmon, ocean fish meal, and salmon meal.

These are great options for sensitive dogs and contain omega-3 fatty acids for joint and dental support. 

This grain-free recipe includes peas, lentils, and sweet potatoes instead of wheat or rice. They deliver highly-digestible energy. And they contain nutrients like potassium for solid dental bones. 

Dried chicory root, blueberries, and raspberries provide natural antioxidant support. Plus they have fiber for healthy digestion and a healthy immune system.

And, Taste of the Wild contains specific K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics for a clean and healthy digestive tract. This formula doesn’t contain grains, corn, wheat, artificial flavors, or artificial colors. 

Dog owners love that this food is perfect in size for all their dogs. And they say the taste entices even their pickiest eater.


Best for Puppies

Stella & Chewy’s Wild Red Raw Coated Kibble Puppy Dry Dog Food

Stella & Chewy's Wild Red Raw Coated Kibble Puppy Grain Free Prairie
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potato, Tapioca
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 36% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 428 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-calorie and high-protein dry puppy food with probiotics and organic ingredients

Puppies are lucky enough to be starting with a clean slate when it comes to their teeth. But to ensure that you’re taking care of your pup’s dental health from the beginning, it’s crucial to choose the best dog food. 

Your little furry friend will love Stella & Chewy’s Wild Red Raw Coated Puppy dry dog food.

It’s  protein-packed with many meat sources —  including chicken, turkey, quail, guineafowl, goose, and duck. Plus, Stella & Chewy uses the “whole prey” approach and includes muscle meat, organ meat, and cartilage. 

These proteins aid in muscle growth and support. And they contain amino acids, which can strengthen bone health, too — including your dog’s teeth.

This recipe is grain-free and instead includes sweet potato, pumpkin, and ground flaxseed. These provide prebiotics for gut health, and pumpkin has fiber for regularity. 

Organic cranberries, organic beets, and organic blueberries provide antioxidants. These boost your dog’s immune system.

But they also contain polyphenols, which help to fend off harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause tooth decay. This formula is free of artificial ingredients, fillers, preservatives, grains, and legumes. 

Puppy parents admit that this is smelly food. But, they love that it’s safe for sensitive pups and gives their dogs lots of energy. 


Best for Seniors

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Senior Deboned Turkey
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Lentils, Dried Ground Potatoes, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 6.25% Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 359 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and low-fat senior dog food with higher fiber content

Mature dogs are notorious for having chronic bad breath. For many, they’ve spent years without regular dental cleanings, toothbrushing, and care.

And not to mention — the older they get, the harder it is to maintain your dog’s mouth and oral health.

But that doesn’t mean lose hope — even if your old pal doesn’t have many teeth left! Give Wellness CORE Senior dog food a try. 

This low-calorie formula starts with high-quality animal proteins. These include real deboned turkey, chicken meal, and turkey meal.

These contain amino acids like lysine and leucine, which can aid in calcium absorption and strengthen muscles and teeth. And they also provide essential nutrients like glucosamine and taurine for joint and heart health. 

Chicken fat and salmon oil provide omega fatty acids and DHA to boost cognitive function and give your dog a shiny coat. And salmon oil is great for fresh breath.

It fights inflammation aids in a healthy immune system — thus clearing out the “bad” bacteria that cause smelly breath.  

This formula is free of corn, wheat, and soy. So it’s perfect for sensitive older dogs. But, even though it’s grain-free, it’s made in a facility that also processes grains. So be sure to avoid it if your dog has severe grain allergies. 

Senior dog owners say this is the only food their super picky canine will eat! 


Best for Small Breeds

ORIJEN Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ORIJEN Small Breed Grain Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Chicken, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Quail, Whole Blue Whiting
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 473 kcal/cup 
  • Key Feature: High-calorie and high-protein dry dog food with antioxidants and probiotics 

Little dogs need concentrated nutrition that will provide them with energy all day without eating a bunch of kibble. Orijen’s Small Breed Grain-Free formula fits that bill. 

It starts with raw free-run turkey, chicken, and quail. Plus, Orijen uses a “whole-prey” approach — so they include the livers, hearts, gizzards, and bones of their animal proteins.

These high-protein options also provide taurine for heart health and B vitamins for energy. 

Instead of grains, pinto beans, whole green lentils, and whole navy beans provide complex carbohydrates. They also contain prebiotics for digestive health — since stomach issues can cause bad breath too. 

Orijen also packs plenty of probiotics in the food — with over 20 million live cultures dusted on the formula after cooking. This means that the good bacteria is fresh and ready to keep your dog’s digestive system healthy and happy. 

This recipe is grain-free and gluten-free. It’s also free of corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. 

Small breed owners love the small but curved kibble and say it helps keep their dog’s breath fresh. 


Best for Large Breeds

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Breed Recipe Dog Food

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain Free Large Breed
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 386 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fat dry dog food with probiotics and antioxidants 

Luckily for large breeds, they have more prominent jaws and teeth that make it easy to chew food and brush.

But, these gentle giants also tend to swallow their kibble whole instead of chewing it, thus missing out on the cleaning power. This is why it’s essential to buy a large breed dog food with the right kibble size. 

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Large Breed dry dog food is the perfect option. The size is perfect for large breed dogs.

And they have to chew it to get to the liver center, making it easier for the curved kibble to scrape tartar while they eat. 

It starts with real deboned chicken, chicken meal, salmon meal, and deboned lamb. These offer chondroitin for muscle recovery and cartilage health and omega fatty acids for a shiny coat and limber joints.

Blueberries, apples, and sweet potatoes provide flavor and boost antioxidants. These aid in immune health and contain essential vitamins like potassium for solid teeth and bones.

This formula also has four separate probiotic strains for digestion and gut health. Plus, these remove harmful bacteria to keep your dog’s bad breath, and other potential body odors, at bay. 

Large breed owners love that this kibble is big enough for their dogs, and they admit that their dog no longer passes smelly gas or burps as much. 


Best Wet Food

Evanger’s Beef, Chicken, & Liver Grain-Free Wet Dog Food

Evanger's Classic Recipes Beef Chicken Liver Grain-Free Wet
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Chicken, Liver, Water For Processing, Guar Gum
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 10% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 830 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: High-calorie and high-protein wet dog food without grains  

Are you looking for a raw-like diet but don’t want to make it homemade or deal with everything it entails? Why not give Evanger’s Beef, Chicken, & Liver Grain-Free wet dog food a try first? 

While the ingredients cook when the can seals, they’re added as raw meats first. And this canned dog food only has 3 ingredients, so it’s great for dogs who need a limited-ingredient diet.

This high-calorie and high-protein formula contains around 40% of Crude Protein. This is due to the meat proteins — including deboned chicken and USDA-grade beef.  

While you can feed this food to your dog alone, you can also mix it with Evanger’s canned Vegetarian Dinner if you want them to get in their veggies.

This meaty recipe is free of preservatives, salt, and fillers, so you can be sure your canine’s diet is as wholesome as possible. 

While we don’t usually recommend canned dog food for large breeds, this has enough calories that it can be a complete meal. And the chunks are big enough to scrape off tartar and plaque buildup as your dog chews. 

Many dog moms and dads enjoy the larger can and say it’s the perfect food for finicky pups or dogs with severe allergies. 


Best Budget Food

American Journey Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

American Journey Grain Free with Lamb Venison
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 26% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 5% Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 345 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Budget-friendly and high-protein dry dog food with omega fatty acids 

Trying to freshen your dog’s breath and help them keep clean teeth doesn’t have to dent your wallet.

And, you can also find food with real lamb, prebiotics, probiotics, and wholesome ingredients, without spending a fortune. 

If you’re a dog owner on a budget, give American Journey a try. While they have many grain-free formulas, one of our favorite options starts with real deboned lamb, turkey meal, and chicken meal.

These proteins pack in essential fatty acids for joint and brain health and contain glucosamine for mobility. 

Fish oil packs omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids — helping to nourish your dog’s skin and aid in coat shine.

Plus, it contains DHA for a brain boost. Antioxidants from blueberries, cranberries, dried kelp, and carrots help keep your dog in tip-top shape. And they keep excess breath odor at bay. 

Canine owners say this food performs as well as the premium options and gives their dogs plenty of energy. 


Best Premium Food

Royal Canin Dental Care MeBad Breath Royal Canindium Dog Food

Royal Canin Canine Care Nutrition Medium Dental Care
  • First 5 Ingredients: Corn Flour, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavors
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 21% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 4.2% Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 260 kcal/cup 
  • Key Feature: lower-calorie premium dog food made with curved kibble 

While budget dog food can be helpful for owners with tighter wallets, some prefer to choose premium food made for their dog’s specific problems.

If your dog needs help getting rid of bad breath, look no further than Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dental Care dry dog food. 

This formula offers tailored nutrition to support your small and medium dog’s oral health. It’s not recommended for large breeds, although some pet parents say they don’t have any problems feeding this food to their giant dogs. 

This premium dog food has a texture that encourages chewing and simulates tooth-brushing with its unique curved size.

This helps to limit plaque buildup from calcifying and promotes oral health. And, it makes it easy to combat bad breath because of the calcium, phosphorous, and potassium added for tooth bone health. 

Chicken by-product meal and chicken fat come from the bones and organs of chickens. This provides plenty of omega-6 fatty acids for bone health and metabolic support. And they contain a natural source of taurine for heart health. 

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet does include grains — including corn flour and brewers rice. So if you’re looking for grain-free dog food, try the others from this list. 

Pet owners say their dogs love this food, and since switching, they haven’t had any issues with plaque buildup.


Best for Allergies

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

CANIDAE Grain Free PURE LID Bison
  • First 5 Ingredients: Bison, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Lentils
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27.5% Crude Protein, 13% Crude Fat, 5% Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 445 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-calorie and high-protein dry dog food with novel proteins for dogs with allergies

Does your dog have food allergies and chronic bad breath? Don’t worry; it’s still possible to find a dog food that aids both health issues.

CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient dry dog food avoids grains and proteins like chicken and beef. This helps prevent potential flare-ups. But it’s also curved and provides a crunch for easier teeth cleaning. 

This formula contains 10 wholesome and nutritious components — like real bison as the first ingredient.

This real animal protein contains amino acids for muscle support and energy. And lamb meal adds B vitamins and calcium for strong teeth and cognitive function. 

This recipe adds probiotics to aid digestive health and nutrient absorption. And antioxidants from sweet potatoes and carrots promote immune function.

Plus, these ingredients provide beta-carotene and vitamin A. These aid in eye health and reduce potential inflammation in your dog’s skin and joints.

Pet parents say that this food is the only option for their dog’s tummy issues. And, they love how it gives them coat shine and soft fur. 


Best Fresh Food

Nom Nom Turkey Fare Dog Food

Nom Nom Turkey Recipe
  • First 5 Ingredients: Ground Turkey, Brown Rice, Eggs, Carrots, Spinach
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 10% Crude Protein, 5% Crude Fat, 1% Fiber, 72% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 201 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fat human-grade dog food customized for your dog 
Get 50% OFF your first Nom Nom order!

Picky dogs, or those that can’t have dry food due to other health issues, still deserve a health option that protects their teeth and gums.

What better way to do that than with healthy, human-grade, and fresh-made dog food?

Nom Nom is the perfect solution for busy dog owners who want high-quality ingredients in a balanced dog food.  For example, their Turkey Fare formula contains ground turkey, brown rice, and spinach. These are wholesome ingredients that you can find right in your fridge. 

They also do all measuring, portion-control, and vitamin and mineral calculations for you. So all you have to do is open your dog’s food, put it in their bowl, and serve. 

You’ll start with their online quiz to get your customized plan. They’ll ask questions about your dog’s height, weight, body type, allergies, and activity level. They’ll also ask for their age and if they’re pregnant or nursing.  

After the quiz, Nom Nom calculates your pup’s caloric, protein, and fat needs. After that, you get to choose between four recipes — including turkey, pork, beef, and chicken. You can select one or sample all four if you have a fussy dog.  

After you subscribe, Nom Nom will make the food fresh and ship it within 24 hours right to your door. You can choose delivery times between two and four weeks. 

Dog parents get excited when they see their dog’s food on their doorstep, and they say Nom Nom makes serving healthy food a breeze. 


dog's mouth

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Bad Breath

To help prevent bad breath or get rid of it, you need to know what’s causing it in your dog. Then, you’ll need to make the necessary changes in their diet and lifestyle. Here’s what you need to know. 

What causes bad breath in dogs?

What are the leading causes of bad breath in dogs? Here are some common reasons. 

Poor Oral Hygiene

Did you know that you’re supposed to brush your dog’s teeth? This helps remove tartar and plaque buildup, which can cause tooth decay and bad breath if not taken care of.

While a toothbrush and toothpaste are the best options, items like dental chews can work well too. 

Bad oral hygiene can cause other dental problems like oral infections, gum disease, and even organ damage. So to avoid bad breath and other issues, be sure to take care of your dog’s teeth as preventative maintenance. 

Periodontal Diseases

If your dog has poor dental health, periodontal disease can happen. It happens when periodontitis bacteria infects your dog’s mouth.

Usually, it has no signs or symptoms until it’s in an advanced stage. Once this happens, it can cause chronic pain, loss of teeth (or fractures), and gum erosion. 

This is why it’s important to brush away bacteria and food particles during regular tooth brushing.

This can remove the tartar and plaque that causes inflammation and irritation to the teeth and gums. And, it keeps dental disease away. 

Kidney & Liver Disease

Dental problems can cause other issues with your dog, including kidney and liver disease. This happens when the bacteria enter your pet’s bloodstream. This causes elevated liver and kidney enzymes, causing the organs to work overtime and wear out. 

It’s important to note that kidney and liver damage can cause death if left untreated. And, once the damage happens, you can’t reverse it.

If you suspect that your dog has periodontal disease, immediately take them to a vet to avoid more complications. 

Diabetes

Diabetes and gum disease usually go hand in hand in dogs. They feed off each other. Inflammation and infection from periodontal disease cause an unhealthy spike in blood-sugar metabolism.

This inflammation also decreases the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

You’ll need to treat the dental problems to get their diabetes under control. You’ll need to take your dog to the vet to get the best treatment plan, including teeth pulling or professional cleaning. 

Eating Habits

Dogs can, and will, eat everything they come in contact with — and fast. This can cause issues like bloat or cause dental problems with items pesticides or other toxic and problematic objects. And, it’s even worse if your dog likes to eat poop, eat rotten leftovers, or drink urine. 

To avoid possible tooth decay or breakage, try to avoid places where your dog can get into trouble (like leaving them off a leash in a park). And be sure that they chew their food slowly.

dog teeth

Breeds Prone to Bad Breath

Like other disorders and diseases, some dog breeds are prone to bad breath and periodontal disease. These include toy dogs, mini, and smaller dogs, plus dog breeds with narrow muzzles. 

For smaller dogs, jaws can sometimes be too small, causing compact teeth, sensitive jaws, and hard-to-reach crevices. So cleaning their teeth, yearly vet visits, and removing problematic teeth will be crucial.

Dogs with long snouts like Greyhounds, Beagles, and Saluki also deal with bad breath. Their jaws are about the same size as small dogs; thus, their teeth can be too close together. 

No matter what, it’s vital to ensure your dog’s dental health is in good shape. Keeping their teeth clean, brushing them, and regular vet visits can make a huge difference.

Can diet help eliminate bad breath?

Yes, it can. Certain ingredients can build strong bones and teeth, and kibble size (and shape) can help scrape off plaque and tartar. But it’s also important to note that diet can’t do everything alone.

It’s still important to clean your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush, or at the very least, give them chews and bones to help clean them. And if needed, look into a veterinarian prescribed diet.

What to Look for When Buying Food for Bad Breath

So what do you need to include in your dog’s food to help them have good oral health? Here are the ingredients to look for. 

Ingredients That Help Digestion

Prebiotics and probiotics make it easier for your dog to digest their food. And they can help keep gassiness, burps, and bad breath away and reduce inflammation in their joints.

While many dog foods already include probiotics, you can also use probiotic capsules if your vet approves the brand. 

Ingredients That Promote Dental Health 

When it comes to your dog’s dental health, other ingredients can promote shiny, strong, and healthy teeth. 

First, essential fatty acids like omega-3 are rich in DHA and EPA, which can help maintain gum health and prevent tooth decay. Of course, calcium is an essential nutrient for strong teeth. It strengthens the hard outer shell of your dog’s tooth, also called enamel. This helps prevent erosion and decay. 

Glucosamine and chondroitin are other ways to support dental health. These protein-building blocks help build and repair cartilage and gums. This helps protect your dog’s teeth and keep them from rubbing together. 

Last but not least, antioxidants do more than boost your dog’s immune system. They also reduce the accumulation of tartar buildup and plaque. This can help prevent periodontal disease in many dogs.

Kibble Size 

Yes, kibble size is essential when focusing on dental health and eliminating bad breath. By choosing dog foods with larger kibble, with a bit of a curve or “rougher” edges, you can help your dog scrape tartar buildup off their teeth — while they eat! 

Small dogs and dogs with few teeth may do well on a wet food diet or dog foods with small bites. But if that’s the case, brush their teeth more often to make up for the lack of kibble cleaning.

Our Verdict

Your dog doesn’t have to suffer from halitosis (aka smelly breath!). Instead, choose one of the best dog foods for bad breath to protect their teeth, gums, and health. Your dog’s diet plays a big part in dental health, so get them the best option possible. 

Our top choice is Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free dry dog food.  

It’s packed with protein and healthy fats for tooth support. But it also has antioxidants and probiotics, helping to promote good dental health.  

No matter the food you choose, the best dog foods on this list will have your dog’s oral health back to normal in no time.  

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AUTHOR
Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

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