Dogs

7 Best Dog Treats For Bad Breath

May 4, 2022

7 Best Dog Treats For Bad Breath

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If you don’t brush your dog’s teeth, you may want to consider it. Periodontal disease affects as many as 90% of dogs by two years of age and it can contribute to a wide range of dental problems including bad breath, gum inflammation, and tooth loss.

Brushing your dog’s teeth is the best way to keep them healthy and his breath fresh, but there are other products that can help.

Dental dog treats and dog treats for bad breath are easy to find, but how do you know they’re any good? We’ve done the research to bring you the top dog treats for bad breath on the market.

Compare Best Dog Treats For Bad Breath

Best Overall
Greenies Teenie Dental Dog Treats

1. Greenies Teenie Dental Dog Treats

Runner Up
Whimzees Natural Dog Dental Treats

2. Whimzees Natural Dog Dental Treats

Best VOHC Approved
Milk-Bone Fresh Breath Brushing Chews Daily Dental Dog Treats

3. Milk-Bone Fresh Breath Brushing Chews Daily Dental Dog Treats

Best Mint Flavor
VetIQ Minties Dental Bone Dog Treats

4. VetIQ Minties Dental Bone Dog Treats

Best Enzymatic
Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dental Chews For Large Dogs

5. Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dental Chews For Large Dogs

Best Budget
Pedigree Dentastix Fresh Mint Flavored Large Dental Dog Treats

6. Pedigree Dentastix Fresh Mint Flavored Large Dental Dog Treats

Best Brushless Toothpaste
Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste Dental Dog Chews

7. Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste Dental Dog Chews

Type
Dental stick
Type
Dental stick
Type
Dental stick
Type
Bone
Type
Chew
Type
Chew
Type
Chew
Flavor
Poultry
Flavor
Potato
Flavor
Chicken
Flavor
Mint
Flavor
Chicken
Flavor
Poultry
Flavor
Mint
VOHC Seal
Yes
VOHC Seal
Yes
VOHC Seal
Yes
VOHC Seal
No
VOHC Seal
No
VOHC Seal
Yes
VOHC Seal
No
Top 3 Ingredients
Wheat flour, wheat gluten, gelatin
Top 3 Ingredients
Potato starch, glycerin, powdered cellulose
Top 3 Ingredients
Rice, powdered cellulose, chicken by-product meal
Top 3 Ingredients
Rice flour, vegetable glycerin, water
Top 3 Ingredients
Beef rawhide, dextrose, poultry digest
Top 3 Ingredients
Rice flour, wheat starch, glycerin
Top 3 Ingredients
Rice flour, honey, water

Before we get into the details of our recommendations, let’s take a closer look at the subject of bad breath in dogs and whether dog treats can help.

What Causes Bad Breath In Dogs?

Slobber aside, everyone loves a good doggy kiss. When you’re up close and personal with your dog’s mouth, however, bad breath can quickly become overwhelming.

Bad breath in dogs is often a sign of periodontal disease. As the disease progresses, bad breath is likely to get worse, so prompt treatment is a must.

Periodontal disease is a type of progressive dental disease caused by bacteria in the mouth. Plaque, a film of bacteria that forms on the teeth, eventually hardens into tartar. It can easily be removed from the surface of the teeth but once it spreads below the gumline it can be tricky to treat.

Early symptoms typically include gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and bad breath. Left untreated, however, periodontal disease can cause receded gums and damage to the underlying structures of the teeth and jaws.

Choosing The Right Dog Treat For Bad Breath

Gingivitis, and the bad breath that often accompanies it, is reversible in the first stage of periodontal disease. Even if the disease has progressed to the second or third stage, treatment can prevent it from progressing to the final stage and causing bone damage and tooth loss.

Professional dental cleanings and daily tooth brushing are the best options for the treatment and prevention of periodontal disease in dogs.

On top of proper dental hygiene, there are certain food and water additives, supplements, and treats that can help you protect your dog’s dental health. They may even freshen his breath.

Here are some things to look for in a dog treat for bad breath:

1. Look For A Dog Treat Made With Natural Ingredients.

A dog treat that is difficult to digest or contains artificial additives won’t do your dog any good and may actually make bad breath worse. Opt for a treat that contains wholesome, natural ingredients that benefit your dog’s nutrition.

2. Consider The Shape And Texture Of The Treat.

Dental dog treats often take the form of textured chews and bones. The longer your dog chews on the treat, the more effective it will be in removing plaque buildup. The shape and texture of the treat also determines how far back the treat is likely to reach in your dog’s mouth.

3. Look For Breath-freshening Ingredients.

When you think of fresh breath, you probably think of mint. While a minty dog treat might improve your dog’s breath temporarily, other ingredients are more likely to have long-term results.

Delmopinal, for example, is an ingredient used in oral rinse for humans that creates a barrier on the surface of the teeth to prevent plaque adhesion. Other treats are made with natural enzymes which help break down plaque and tartar to freshen breath and improve oral health.

Treats the contain probiotics might help with bad breath as well. Maintaining a healthy microbiome helps improve nutrient absorption, relieve digestive upset, and may freshen breath.

4. Check For Veterinary Oral Health Council (Vohc) Approval.

The Veterinary Oral Health Council is not a regulatory agency, but they test pet products for their effectiveness in removing or preventing plaque and tartar build-up. Brands must submit the results of clinical trials to the VOHC to obtain a seal, so the number of products that carry a VOHC seal is very limited. You can find the full list here.

Now that you have a better understanding of how dental dog treats might help with bad breath and how to choose them, let’s get into our top picks.

Our Top Picks For The Best Dog Treats For Bad Breath

The following dog treats are top-rated products that have earned a reputation for flavor, quality, and effectiveness.

Overall Best
1.

Greenies Teenie Dental Dog Treats

Product Info

  • Type: Dental stick
  • Flavor: Poultry
  • VOHC Seal: Yes
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Wheat flour, wheat gluten, gelatin

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 30%
Crude Fat: 8%
Crude Fiber: 6%
Moisture: 15%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 35.29%
Fat: 9.41%
Fiber: 7.06%
Carbs: 48.24%
Pros
  • Approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council
  • Brush-like shape and abrasive texture
  • Designed to bend instead of breaking for a deeper clean
  • Available in a wide variety of sizes and several flavors
Cons
  • Contains wheat ingredients
  • Heavy chewers may get through them quickly
Available in a wide range of sizes for small, medium, and large dogs, Greenies are some of the most popular dog dental treats on the market.

These dog dental chews are shaped like a toothbrush with ridges that help scrape plaque and tartar from the surface of your dog’s teeth. In fact, they’re approved by the VOHC for both of these benefits. Their chewy texture is appealing to dogs as well.

Greenies are supplemented with essential nutrients and don’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. The formula is highly digestible and made in the USA.

It’s worth noting that these treats do contain wheat ingredients, so they may not be the best choice if your dog has a sensitivity to wheat. Some customers also report that the sizing is a little off, so you may want to size up if your dog is at the higher end of the recommended size scale.
Runner Up
2.

Whimzees Natural Dog Dental Treats

Product Info

  • Type: Dental stick
  • Flavor: Potato
  • VOHC Seal: Yes
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Potato starch, glycerin, powdered cellulose

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 1%
Crude Fat: 2%
Crude Fiber: 14%
Moisture: 12%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 1.14%
Fat: 2.27%
Fiber: 15.91%
Carbs: 80.68%
Pros
  • Variety pack includes three different shapes
  • Approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council
  • Long-lasting for heavy chewers
  • Knobby texture gets into the spaces between teeth
Cons
  • Fairly expensive
  • Texture may be too hard for some dogs
Another VOHC approved product, Whimzees dental chews may be a more appropriate option than the first choice for heavy chewers. The longer your dog chews on the treat, the more plaque and tartar they have the potential to remove.

Whimzees come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They offer classic X-shaped Stix as well as Brushzees that are wider on one end to help your dog hold the treat as he chews. There’s also the whimsical Alligator treat which has a knobby texture and plenty of hollow spaces that help get into the grooves between your dog’s teeth.

These dental treats are low in fat and supplemented with plenty of fiber to support your dog’s digestive health. They are free from artificial additives and by-products.
Best VOHC Approved
3.

Milk-Bone Fresh Breath Brushing Chews Daily Dental Dog Treats

Product Info

  • Type: Dental stick
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • VOHC Seal: Yes
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Rice, powdered cellulose, chicken by-product meal

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 12%
Crude Fat: 1%
Crude Fiber: 8%
Moisture: 18%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 14.63%
Fat: 1.22%
Fiber: 9.76%
Carbs: 74.39%
Pros
  • Patented design cleans teeth like the bristles of a toothbrush
  • Fortified with calcium to support bones and teeth
  • Contains spearmint to help freshen breath
  • Available in several sizes and different flavors
Cons
  • Contains some artificial preservative
  • Made with dairy and vaguely-named animal digest
Not all dog owners are up to the task of brushing their dog’s teeth but dental health is not something you want to ignore. Dental chews aren’t a substitute for daily dental care, but textured treats like Milk-Bone Brushing Chews can help remove plaque and tartar to freshen breath.

These dental chews are approved by the VOHC to remove tartar and they come in a wide range of sizes for small and large dogs.

Milk-Bone Brushing Chews feature a patented design with nubs and ridges to clean your dog’s teeth like the bristles of a toothbrush. The chew also has a twisted shape to help it reach into the back teeth and all the way down to the gumline.

These chews are fortified with calcium to support dental health and they contain breath-freshening ingredients like Spearmint.

It’s worth noting that these treats contain dairy and the artificial preservative BHA. They do not, however, contain the wheat ingredients found in many other dental treats.
Best Mint Flavor
4.

VetIQ Minties Dental Bone Dog Treats

Product Info

  • Type: Bone
  • Flavor: Mint
  • VOHC Seal: No
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Rice flour, vegetable glycerin, water

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 6%
Crude Fat: 1.5%
Crude Fiber: 2.5%
Moisture: 15%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 7.06%
Fat: 1.76%
Fiber: 2.94%
Carbs: 88.24%
Pros
  • Contains 5 breath freshening ingredients
  • Scrubbing texture and appealing bone shape
  • Easily digestible natural ingredients
Cons
  • Some dogs dislike the mint flavor
  • May break into pieces during chewing
Pet owners concerned about their dog’s breath often find mint-flavored treats to be the most effective. If you’re tired of bad breath, dog treats like these Minties from VetIQ might do the trick.

These treats do not have a VOHC seal, but they’re similarly designed to other dental dog treats. They have a scrubbing texture and a bone shape that helps clean plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth. They’re veterinarian recommended and made in the USA.

Minties are easily digestible and wheat-free. They contain five natural breath fresheners including alfalfa, peppermint, parsley, fennel, and dill.

Customers seem to appreciate the affordable price point and the simple list of natural ingredients. Minties are free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives and supplemented with essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D3.
Best Enzymatic
5.

Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dental Chews For Large Dogs

Product Info

  • Type: Chew
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • VOHC Seal: No
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Beef rawhide, dextrose, poultry digest

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 75%
Crude Fat: 1%
Crude Fiber: 3.5%
Moisture: 18%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 91.46%
Fat: 1.22%
Fiber: 4.27%
Carbs: 3.05%
Pros
  • Abrasive texture helps remove plaque and tartar
  • Long-lasting chewy texture
  • Enzymatic formula helps prevent bacteria accumulation
Cons
  • Contains beef rawhide
  • Fairly expensive
Bacteria is the underlying cause of periodontal disease and it’s exactly what these Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic chews are designed to fit. With a unique enzymatic formula, these treats help prevent plaque and tartar buldup which can contribute to bad breath.

The Dual-Enzyme System utilized in these chews features an abrasive texture and a natural antiseptic that helps loosen tartar and plaque. They have an enticing chicken flavor and contain probiotics to help support your dog’s digestion.

The one downside of these chews is that they’re made from beef rawhide. Rawhide has a chewy texture which can be good for your dog’s teeth but if your dog is an aggressive chewer, it can break into pieces that might pose a risk for choking or intestinal blockage.
Best Budget
6.

Pedigree Dentastix Fresh Mint Flavored Large Dental Dog Treats

Product Info

  • Type: Chew
  • Flavor: Poultry
  • VOHC Seal: Yes
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Rice flour, wheat starch, glycerin

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 8%
Crude Fat: 1%
Crude Fiber: 4.5%
Moisture: 18%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 9.76%
Fat: 1.22%
Fiber: 5.49%
Carbs: 83.54%
Pros
  • VOHC approved to reduce plaque and tartar
  • Shaped and textured to clean the teeth
  • Minty fresh flavor to help freshen dog breath
Cons
  • Contain some wheat ingredients
Dental treats can get pretty expensive, but Pedigree Dentastix offer excellent value. Available in 6-, 28-, and 36-count, these x-shaped dental sticks have a freshy minty scent.

Pedigree Dentastix deliver triple action performance, helping to reduce tartar buildup, freshen breath, and clean teeth. They are VOHC approved and shaped to reach even the toughest spots in your dog’s mouth.

These dental sticks have a chewy texture and an appealing poultry flavor. They’re rich in protein and low in fat, containing just 65 calories per treat for the largest size. While the mint flavor may be the best option to freshen your dog’s breath, these treats also come in chicken and beef.

Dentastix do contain some wheat in the form of wheat starch but they’re free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Best Brushless Toothpaste
7.

Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste Dental Dog Chews

Product Info

  • Type: Chew
  • Flavor: Mint
  • VOHC Seal: No
  • Top 3 Ingredients: Rice flour, honey, water

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 5%
Crude Fat: 5%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 20%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 6.25%
Fat: 6.25%
Fiber: 2.5%
Carbs: 85%
Pros
  • Fights plaque, tartar, and bad breath
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Abrasive texture helps scrape teeth clean
Cons
  • Some dogs dislike the flavor
  • May be too hard for some dogs
Brushing your dog’s teeth is the best way to protect his oral hygiene but if you can’t manage to do it every day, brushless toothpaste might be worth a shot. This veterinarian-recommended formula features a soft toothpaste center to help freshen breath and clean your dog’s teeth.

Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste Chews deliver four benefits all in one chew. In addition to the toothpaste center, they have a chewy texture for plaque and tartar control.

This brushless toothpaste contains alfalfa, cinnamon, vanilla, and clove to fight the bacteria that create plaque and contribute to bad breath. With two chews per day, you can freshen your dog’s breath and give him a tasty treat.

These chews are free from artificial additives and vaguely named byproducts. They come in several sizes for large and small dogs and in 12-ounce or 60-count bags.

Final Thoughts

Dog breath is rarely pleasant, but it shouldn’t be so malodorous that you can’t enjoy your dog’s company. A daily routine of tooth brushing is the best way to ensure fresh breath and optimal oral health, but a great dental dog treat can help.

If your dog suffers from bad breath, it may also be worth taking a look at his dog food. While dry dog food is often marketed for promoting clean teeth, there is little clinical evidence to support this claim. According to Dog Food Advisor, even regulators in the pet food industry avoid the issue entirely by labeling such marketing claims as “not objectionable.”

Raw dog food made with natural ingredients and meaty bones may be the best option for your dog’s oral health. If you can’t afford a raw diet, consider adding raw meaty bones as an occasional treat whenever possible.

If you notice signs of dental disease like red or swollen gums, bad breath, or excessive drooling, schedule a visit with your vet. Your veterinarian will be able to determine the degree periodontal disease and recommend a form of treatment.

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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