Puppy Breath: How to Keep it Longer and Why it Disappears

Puppies are known for their adorable and playful nature, but that’s not what sets them apart from adult dogs. It’s their breath. A pup’s breath is best described as gentle and pleasant.

But have you ever stopped wondering why a puppy’s breath is a thing? More importantly, why does it go away? Even more importantly, why can’t your adult dog go back to having “puppy’s breath?”

Puppy breath is the absence of bacteria, oral disease, plaque and trapped food. When pups are on mother’s milk, their mouths are spotless since no teeth equal no plaque or tartar. This absence of nasty and skunky stuff results in a pleasant “puppy breath.”

One important factor for the pleasant smell is that there’s nothing in canine milk that could cause bad smells. Breastfed human babies also go through the same phase where they have a sweet smell.

Additionally, mother’s milk is known to be rich in antibodies and nutrients that help to protect the puppy from infections and diseases. These antibodies help strengthen your doggo’s immune system. So, if they get bacteria by chance, the pathogens are immediately eliminated.

How long does puppy breath last? And why?

In general, “puppy breath” gradually disappears around 8 weeks. Of course, the actual time varies, but it begins when they start to be weaned off their mother’s milk. And when their proper set of teeth comes in, attracting bacteria and tartar, which leads to bad breath.

As they grow, puppies start to lose this pleasant breath for two primary reasons: diet and dental hygiene. There are two less-significant causes as well that I’ll discuss in just a minute.

Little doggos with diets rich in vegetables and herbs tend to have fresher breath than those with meat-filled meals. A meat-heavy diet leads to a stronger smell since the food tends to stay in their mouth, leading to the growth of bacteria and plaque.

Teething is an important factor that contributes to the loss of puppy breath. With the arrival of milk teeth, our little friends start to explore the world around them by putting everything literally in their mouths.

While genetics doesn’t play any significant role in the presence of puppy breath, it certainly affects the duration. Some puppies may have a genetic predisposition to bad breath, making it more difficult to maintain “puppy breath” as they age.

And the final reason is ongoing medical health. Puppies with underlying health issues, such as dental or digestive problems, may also have a shorter duration of puppy breath.

Is it bad when puppies lose puppy breath?

As a dog parent, you’re bound to wonder if it’s bad when your pooch loses its puppy breath. Even though I gave good medical reasons, I’m reluctant to make an absolute yes or no.

In general, it’s not bad for puppies to lose puppy breath. It’s inevitable. However, an untimely occurrence of bad breath can be a symptom of an underlying oral or digestive problem, especially if they’re young.

Pay attention to your dog’s breath and consult a veterinarian if you notice any foul or unbearable smell. Dental problems such as plaque, tartar, and gum disease can all cause bad breath. Additionally, certain health conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease can also result in the same.

Your vet can examine your doggo’s teeth and gums to check for any signs of infection or oral disease. Furthermore, they can also perform a full physical examination to screen for any underlying health issues causing bad breath.

As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to maintain good oral hygiene for your dog. This includes regular teeth brushing, using the right dental products, and providing a balanced diet with vegetables.

Read More: Feeding Your Pup Raw Dog Food – What You Need to Know

How to extend puppy breath?

As puppies lose their puppy breath, many of us wonder how to extend it or get it back. The good news is that you can! 

You can extend a puppy’s breath through good oral hygiene: regular teeth brushing, providing a good chew toy, choosing healthy puppy food, using dental chews, and regular check-ups with a veterinarian. It simultaneously prevents bad breath and a host of diseases.

Let me explain in detail what you need to do to extend puppy breath:

1. Invest in a dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Brushing your pooch’s teeth regularly is important for oral hygiene as it can help to remove plaque and tartar. I strongly recommend you don’t use human toothbrushes on dogs as they can harm them. Use one that’s specifically designed for dog teeth.

2. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are just as important. A vet can check their gums and provide you with tips on how to keep them healthy. They can also detect any problems early on and suggest appropriate treatment.

3. Make sure your puppy’s diet is well-balanced. It’s wise to include plenty of vegetables and herbs alongside meat. Remember that all three are important.

4. Buy a good puppy toy that helps keep teeth clean. Some toys are designed to help dislodge food and keep the saliva flowing. Since puppies love to chew on toys, you don’t have to introduce your pooch to their new friend.

5. Dental chews are an ideal treat for your puppy every now and then. They are specifically designed to make oral hygiene enjoyable. Although they can be expensive, use them sparingly. More importantly, they’re not a replacement for regular brushing.

Best Puppy Toys

If you’re confused about which toothbrush and toothpaste to buy, my go-to brand is RADIUS, especially their “Organic Dental Solutions” lineup.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often do you have to brush your puppy’s teeth?

Dogowners should brush their puppy’s teeth at least once a day. The best time of the day is after the last meal for good oral hygiene. You should also consult a veterinarian for specific recommendations based on your puppy’s needs.

As your puppy becomes an adult or senior, its teeth may need to be brushed more often. Consistency is key in oral hygiene, and regular brushing can help remove plaque and tartar, which are major causes of bad breath.

Read More: Best Teething Toys For Puppies in 2023

2. What happens if I don’t brush my puppy’s teeth?

According to WebMD, if you don’t brush your puppy’s teeth, they can develop plaque, tartar, and gum disease, leading to bad breath, tooth decay and possible tooth loss. It can also affect their overall health.

3. Can you overbrush a puppy’s teeth?

It’s possible to accidentally overbrush a puppy’s teeth. It causes damage to tooth enamel and gums, leading to sensitivity and pain. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently to avoid overbrushing. Consult with a vet for the correct brushing techniques.

Do note that the problem might not be in your technique. Using a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard can also cause damage. Nonetheless, ensure that you’re brushing gently, and avoid brushing the same area for an extended period.

If you think that you may have overbrushed your puppy’s teeth, look for the following symptoms:

  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Sensitivity or pain in the teeth or gums
  • Loss of tooth enamel indicated by translucent or discoloured teeth
  • Your puppy showing reluctance or resistance

Consult with your veterinarian immediately if you notice any of the above signs.

4. When should my dog have his first teeth cleaned?

Ideally, your dog should have their first teeth cleaned as soon as they are weaned and eating solid food. When your dog’s teeth come in, they attract bacteria, plaque, and tartar, which can lead to bad breath and oral health problems.


  • Jonathan Spaeth

    I'm a professional business person who loves dogs. I'm motivated by a passion for dogs and a deep understanding of pet care and behavior. I have more than 10 years of experience in animal healthcare—my lifelong passion for helping dogs.

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