Top 10 Best Dog Food for Bad Breath

Top 10 Best Dog Food for Bad Breath

We all love our dogs, but there is something about their breath that just makes our eyes water. Rather than having to get as far away from their mouths as possible in order to stop yourself gagging, you might want to look to their diet to avoid the problem.

Chances are that the bad breath problem isn’t just an inconvenience for you – it’s probably not very pleasant for your dog either. It’s your job as their human to help fix the issue as quickly as possible, which is usually their diet.

Some dogs have just drawn the short straw in life and been dealt the smelly mouth card. In this case, you might not be able to rectify the stench. However, changing their diet for a less smelly food could be an easy fix for the problem.

Today, we’re going to be looking into the five best dog foods for bad breath, as well as a buyers guide to determine what could be causing the bad breath.

The 10 Best Dog Foods for Bad Breath

Halo Natural Dry Dog Food, Small Breed Recipe

Halo Holistic Small Breed Dog Food, Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe, Dry Dog Food Bag, Small Breed Dog Formula, 10-lb Bag

Halo Natural Dry Dog Food has been specifically formulated for small breeds of dogs, who are at particular risk of dental diseases and therefore bad breath. The kibble is smaller in size to ensure that your puppy can eat it without any issue, yet still large enough to get a good crunch and teeth cleaning during mealtimes.

The ingredients used are the only real meat and there are zero byproducts on the ingredients list. Rest assured that your dog is eating the best it can without all of the filler or useless ingredients within their food.

Speaking of ingredients, the chicken that finds its way into your dog’s kibble is responsibly sourced from cage-free farms. Not only is this kibble healthy, but it is also humane. Feed your dog without feeling the guilt towards the ingredients.

Halo assures that even picky eaters can’t help but enjoy this crunchy food. There is also the opportunity to choose grain-free options in either a 4 or 10-pound bag. This is a dog food that doesn’t cause bad breathe.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dog Food – Best Value 

Hill's 9281 Science Diet

Hill’s 9281 Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dog Food is a dry dog kibble designed to improve your dog’s oral health. It scrubs the teeth clean to help lift surface stains, leaving your dog’s mouth cleaner and brighter. It also helps prevent the buildup of tartar and plaque, which can lead to cavities and tooth decay.

Another great feature of this dog food is that it contains Omega-6, which nourishes the skin and softens the coat. It’s also not as expensive compared to other brands, so it won’t cost you too much to improve your dog’s oral health. One issue we found with this dog food is that it contains wheat, corn, and soy, which are known food allergens that can cause itchy skin and irritation. The other issue is the huge kibble size, which can be very hard to chew for smaller dogs.

Besides these two problems, we recommend trying Hill’s 9281 Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dog Food if you’re looking for the best dog kibble for bad breath for the money.

  • Contains wheat, corn, and soy
  • Huge kibble size can be hard to chew
  • Contains Omega-6 for skin and coat health
  • Not as expensive compared to other brands
  • Helps prevent the buildup of tartar and plaque
  • Scrubs the teeth clean to help lift surface stains

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food, Sweet Potato & Venison Formula, 26 Pounds, Grain Free

Limited ingredients mean that there is a smaller chance for your dog to be eating kibble full of filler ingredients and unnecessary components. Natural Balance L.I.D. dog food has only three types of ingredients within the bag – protein, sweet potatoes, and essential minerals and vitamins. This makes it an excellent choice of dog food for dogs with bad breathe.

The venison is an excellent source of amino acids and protein, keeping your dog healthy and covered in strong muscles. Sweet potatoes include enough fiber to promote healthy digestion, and essential minerals and vitamins ensure that your dog meets its nutritional needs.

These limited ingredients still ensure that your dog has a good immune system to prevent them from developing any diseases that could cause bad breath. Moreover, there are no by-products or fillers which are unnecessary to your dog’s overall health.

Rest assured that your dog will be consuming zero artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives either. You can choose between six sizes of the bag with nine flavors for your dog to enjoy.

Iams Proactive Health Dog Food – Best Overall

Iams 10181499 Proactive Health

Iams 10181499 Proactive Health Dog Food is a dry dog food packed with nutrients to support your dog’s health and wellbeing. The dry kibble helps maintain healthy gums and teeth, which is great for dogs that suffer from gum sensitivity. It can reduce plaque buildup as the kibble gently cleans the teeth, which helps get rid of and prevent bad breath.

This dry dog food is made with a grain-free, allergen-friendly recipe that is gentle for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It’s made with essential vitamins and minerals to support and nourish the skin and coat, leaving your dog’s fur soft and shiny.

Iams is also on the less expensive side compared to other brands, especially for a grain-free dog. However, it does contain chicken by-product, which is a low-quality source of protein. Otherwise, we found Iams 10181499 Proactive Health Dog Food to be the best overall dog food for bad breath.

  • Contains chicken by-product
  • Grain-free and allergen-friendly recipe
  • -Supports and nourishes skin and coat
  • Helps maintain healthy gums and teeth
  • Can reduce plaque buildup
  • On the less expensive side

Hill’s Prescription Diet T/D Dental Health

Hill's 4005

Hill’s 4005 Prescription Diet T/D Dental Health dog food is similar to the Royal Canin dental food. The unique kibble shape is designed to help clean between your dog’s teeth, eliminating any food or plaque buildup. The recipe contains bacteria-fighting ingredients that cause halitosis, which is what makes your dog’s breath smell awful.

Unfortunately, Hill’s is also loaded with filler ingredients and by-products, so it may not work for dogs with food allergies or dogs on limited ingredient diets. The unique kibble is hard and dry, so it may be hard to chew for smaller dogs. The flavor seems to be lacking with this dog food, too, with some dogs not liking the taste. It’s also a high-end, expensive diet that requires a veterinarian prescription, so it’s not a good choice if you are trying to save money.

If you have run out of other options, Hill’s Science Diet T/D may work as a last resort.

  • Some dogs do not like the taste
  • Contains fillers and by-products
  • Kibble can be too hard to chew
  • Expensive and requires a prescription
  • Unique kibble shape cleans between teeth
  • Contains bacteria-fighting ingredients

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice 30-lb

Blue Buffalo is an incredibly popular brand for dog food, with their Life Protection Formula dog food having over 20 thousand reviews. It’s not surprising that this is at the top of our list, as the ingredients are all high-quality and beneficial to your dog.

The first and most used ingredient is deboned chicken, so you know that your dog is only eating the best food with an excellent source of protein as its main ingredient. The other top ingredients include brown rice, blueberries, cranberries, peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes. You won’t find any additives or artificial flavors that can be contributing to bad breathe or periodontal disease.

The kibble is rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals to keep your dog’s immune system on top form. Prevent any dental diseases by feeding your puppy a well-balanced diet with everything they need for a healthy lifestyle.

There are no artificial or low-quality ingredients within the dog food, such as filler wheat and corn or poultry byproducts. Choose between three bag sizes and five flavor options to ensure your dog enjoys their food every day

Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain

The Sierra Mountain formula offers a high percentage of protein and fat, with lamb as its first ingredient. Other ingredients, like fiber and carbohydrates, come from quality sources as well.  Plentiful amino acids pack the kibble with healthy fuel for the entire body in addition to significant amounts of iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12.

Chicory root aids digestion and nourishes helpful intestinal bacteria.  If you have an allergy-prone dog, be sure to check out the long list of ingredients before you buy.

ROYAL CANIN Dental Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice


ROYAL CANIN Dental Dry Dog Food is a premium dog food that is specifically designed to tackle dental problems and bad breath. The recipe uses prescription-grade dental cleaning ingredients to help prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, while also reducing the chance of gingivitis.

It’s made with extra crunchy kibble that cleans the teeth as your dog eats, gently scrubbing and removing particles that cause cavities. It’s also fortified for a complete diet, so you won’t have to feed this with another food to give your dog the essential nutrients it needs daily. However, it contains fillers and by-products, with corn listed as the first ingredient instead of meat. It can be hard for small dogs to chew, so it may not work out for toy-sized dogs that struggle with bigger kibble.

Dental Dry is also expensive compared to most dog food brands and requires a veterinarian prescription, so it’s not the best choice if you’re on a tighter budget. Otherwise, ROYAL CANIN Dental Dry Dog Food is a great premium dog food that can help fight and prevent bad breath.

  • Contains fillers and by-products
  • Expensive and requires a prescription
  • Can be hard for small dogs to chew
  • Contains dental cleaning ingredients
  • Extra crunchy kibble cleans teeth
  • Fortified for a complete diet

Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Brown Rice Recipe

Nutro Natural Choice starts with quality protein and includes glucosamine and chondroitin to preserve the tooth’s protective enamel coating. Added calcium in the recipe strengthens teeth inside and out.

Many dental problems begin with swollen gums, and Nutro Natural Choice contains anti-inflammatory minerals and vitamins that help with general nutrient deficiencies that affect the teeth and gums

Purina DH Dental Health Canine Dog Food

Purina DH

Purina DH Dental Health Canine Dog Food is a dry dog food used to prevent bad breath and other dental issues. The main feature of it is the unique kibble texture for extra cleaning power, which cleans around the teeth and gum lines. It’s made with essential nutrients for a complete diet, so your dog won’t need additional kibble when feeding this. The problem lies in the flavor, with most dogs not really enjoying it. The kibble is hard to chew, too, with some dogs trying to swallow the kibble whole.

The recipe contains corn and wheat, which are known filler ingredients that can cause itchy skin and digestive issues. Purina Dental Health dog food is also expensive and needs a prescription from your veterinarian, which can run you over your monthly budget. If you’ve tried other non-prescription dog foods that can help clean your dog’s teeth and everything else has failed, this dog food might help.

Otherwise, we recommend trying more conservative methods of cleaning your dog’s mouth first.

  • Not a popular flavor
  • Contains corn and wheat
  • Kibble is hard to chew
  • Expensive and needs prescription
  • Unique kibble texture for extra cleaning
  • Made with essential nutrients for a complete diet

Best Dog Food for Bad Breath Buying Guide

Our buyer’s guide is to help you determine which is the best dog food to prevent your puppy from suffering from a smelly mouth.

We’ve researched the possible causes and triggers so you don’t have to, but make sure that you read here to choose the best option for your pet. But before that, let’s take a quick look at what could be causing the bad breath.

What causes bad breath in dogs? 

Sometimes the answer is as simple as a poorly chosen diet, but other times the cause can be a little more serious than that. It’s important that you take your dog to the veterinarian right away if you’re worried about their overall health, as bad breath could be a symptom.

Kidney and Liver Disease

  • Some dogs like to drink urine if they have a kidney infection. Not the nicest subject, we know. However, it is still important to note in case you start smelling urine on your dog’s breath.
  • Other symptoms are yellowing gums and vomiting. These can also be signs of liver disease. Both kidney and liver disease can develop into something worse, so it’s important that you visit the vets as soon as you see these worrisome signs.

Subpar Oral Hygiene 

  • Dogs are just like humans in some respects, such as their teeth need to be brushed. Think back to the last time you brushed your dog’s teeth, then think about how you’d feel if you suffered through the same amount of time without a toothbrush.
  • The build-up of plaque and tartar can be the cause of bad breath in your dog’s mouth. If not treated, your dog might be subjected to gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss.

Bad Eating Habits

  • Dogs like to eat what they can when they can – no matter what is in front of them. Some dogs have more class than others, but others tend to rummage through trash and eat rotten leftovers.
  • A select few will also choose to eat poop. Yep, you read that right – poop. Now try not to gag the next time you get a whiff of your dog’s breath. Around 24% of dogs eat poop once in their lifetime while 16% will make it a habit.
  • If you catch your dog in the act, get to work training them not to as soon as possible. Poop contains tons of bacteria which could be the source of your dog’s bad breath.

Periodontal Diseases

  • Periodontal diseases simply refer to the diseases around a dog’s teeth and mouth. Dog’s can suffer from four stages of these diseases. Gingivitis is the first stage and can be characterized by stained teeth and swollen gums.
  • If not treated the teeth and roots will begin rotting away, causing bleeding gums, bad breath, and stained teeth.

Wet Dog Food vs Dry Dog Food

  • Dog owners never stop debating whether they should be purchasing wet or dry food for the benefits – but which is better for dog breath?
  • While wet food is good for dogs with fussy tastebuds, dry kibble is definitely better for rectifying bad breath.
  • This is because the wet food manufacturers often enhance the food smell to get your dog to eat it. It is also more likely to get stuck within your dog’s teeth and cause an unpleasant smell the longer it stays there.
  • What’s more, dry food works as a kind of toothbrush for your dog and helps to remove plaque and tartar. That crunch when your dog is chewing their food helps to scrape off bacteria that can be contributing to their bad breath.
  • This can prevent diseases from forming in the mouth which can also cause bad breath. So, dry food is the best option to avoid your dog having bad breath.
  • However, wet food contains moisture that helps your dog to get enough water in their diet. Without this, your dog could be more at risk for kidney infections.
  • While we are focusing on dry food today, the best diets for dogs are ones that have a mixture of wet and dry food.

High-Quality Ingredients

  • Dog food made with high-quality ingredients is less likely to make your dog’s breath smell than low-quality foods. This is because low-quality ingredients are more likely to promote bacteria growth on your dog’s teeth, which can lead to bad breath.
  • Foods with lots of sugar can also promote cavities and therefore bad breath. To avoid this, look for natural ingredients or foods with limited ingredients. The fewer ingredients there are included within your dog’s diet, the less there is to potentially damage their teeth.

Your Dog’s Size

  • Smaller dogs are more likely to get dental diseases and therefore you need to get the correct food for their size. Choosing a kibble made specifically for smaller dogs will leave them with an easier meal time so that they’re not struggling to eat their food.
  • Smaller pieces of kibble will also be easier for them to crunch and get the full effects of the ‘teeth brushing’ benefit. On the other hand, small pieces of kibble will do nothing for larger dogs.
  • They have larger mouths and throats and they might simply swallow the small kibble without even chewing. Therefore they won’t be getting any of the plaque or tartar removed from their teeth either.


  • While your puppy deserves the best dog food that money can buy, you still need to look for the best option that is within your price range. Remember that you will need to continue purchasing the same dog food repeatedly once it runs out, so can you afford to do this? Changing a dog’s food can often result in an upset stomach.
  • Also, look for the value for money and how many portions are within a bag. While the initial cost might be the lowest on the market, there might not be as many portions and therefore the overall cost could end up being higher in the long run.

Final Thoughts

After carefully reviewing and comparing each dog food product, we found the winner of best dog food for bad breath overall to be Iams 10181499 Proactive Health Dog Food. It can help reduce bad breath and plaque buildup, without sacrificing on flavor. The winner of best dog food for bad breath for the value is Hill’s Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dog Food. It’s an affordable solution that uses cleaning ingredients to prevent dental problems.

Hopefully, we have made it easier to find a solution to your dog’s stinky breath problem. We looked for the best dog foods for bad breath available with your dog’s safety in mind. Bad breath can be a symptom of much bigger problems, so it’s important to talk to your vet before changing anything. When in doubt, ask your vet for additional recommendations on dental care

Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.