Why Does My Poodle Have Bad Breath?

You have an adorable little pet poodle, and maybe they are even show ready. Everything is perfect except for the fact that your cute little poodle has a not so cute problem: bad breath. Bad breath is a real pet peeve, see what I did there? In all seriousness here is:

Why does my poodle have bad breath? Your poodle may be experiencing bad breath because of plaque buildup on his teeth. Poodles require plaque to be removed regularly by brushing and flossing. However, even Poodles with clean teeth can have other conditions such as a Disease, Illness, or Dietary Issue which can cause foul breath.

Read on to find out the specific reason or reasons your poodle may be experiencing bad breath, whether you should be concerned, and what to do about the problem.

What Can you do to Help Stop Your Poodle’s Bad Breath?

  1. Get your poodle’s teeth checked out by a vet to remove plaque
  2. Brush your poodle’s teeth with dog-friendly brushes and paste
  3. Check for, and then cure gum disease
  4. Only give your poodles dog-specific food and clean up their diet
  5. If halitosis persists, get your poodle checked out by a vet for diseases like diabetes, kidney, liver, and lung disease

Why Does My Poodle Have Bad Breath

You don’t really expect something so cute to be so smelly. It’s kind of like how babies are adorable, but then you have to change them. Similarly, handsome poodles, which includes toy and miniature poodles as well, like all dogs and pets, experience bad breath from time to time.

This isn’t something you should be immediately concerned about, but it could indicate a larger problem. Here are the most common reasons why your poodle’s breath smells so bad:

1. Dental Issues

  • Plaque
  • improper Cleaning
  • Gum Disease
  • Teething

2. Dietary Issues

  • Wrong Food
  • Problems in the Intestine or Digestive Tract

3. Disease and Illness

  • Diabetes
  • Liver Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Lung Disease

Read below to see which specific issue your poodle suffers from and what you can do about it.

Dental Issues in Poodles Can Cause Bad Breath

This is the most obvious culprit and should be your first concern before you think there is a serious issue, especially if you have a younger poodle. These are the main dental issues your dog may have and how to cure them:


From time to time, your poodle may develop a layer of plaque over its teeth. Plaque is always present in the mouth, but if you don’t brush your poodle’s teeth often, the substance will accumulate and leave a thin layer atop healthy teeth. Plaque needs to be removed periodically because your poodles can’t brush their teeth on their own!

Removing plaque can be scary for your poodle as vet’s use vibrating tools that squirt out water so your pet may be given a mild sedative or even anesthesia.

Once removed, your poodle’s bad breath should vanish. Plaque can be dangerous as it will eat away your poodle’s enamel, cause decay to gums and teeth, and lead to painful infection so get it treated as soon as possible.

Teeth Are Not Clean

Keep bad breath and plaque at bay by brushing your poodle’s teeth daily. Use a canine-specific toothbrush and pet-friendly toothpaste, these come flavored so your poodles won’t mind for the most part. You can also give your pet dental chews. Check Amazon to see the chews I recommend here. Schedule regular checkups, especially if brad breath is chronic.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of the main reasons why your poodle may be experiencing chronic bad breath. In other words, if the breath persists even if you brush your poodle’s teeth daily, then you may have a bigger problem on your hands.

Gum disease is usually caused by excessive plaque, which when left untreated, develops into a yellow tar-like substance against the gums of your poodle. Get gum disease treated by a vet before it developed into a more dangerous infection.


Poodles, between 3 and 6 months, may experience teething, which will cause your puppy’s breath to smell almost like sour milk. There isn’t much you can do apart from creating strong habits for your poodle, including brushing daily and using canine “mouth wash.”

Dietary Issues in Poodles Can Cause Bad Breath

If you keep your poodle’s teeth and gums healthy and clean and bad breath persists, then you may have a dietary problem on your hands.

Like humans, a pet’s breath can change depending on what they have eaten. Here is a good checklist for what you need to be aware of when it comes to what your poodles are eating:

  • Feed your poodles only canine-specific foods you get from your local pet store or quality food delivery service.
  • Avoid treats like dinner leftovers. Your food should not be eaten by your pets, especially if you’re cooking garlic and onion rich dishes which are guaranteed to cause bad breath.
  • Give your poodles dog-friendly treats.
  • Make sure they don’t eat vomit or poop.

I feed my dog high-quality food from Pet Plate. Pet Plate is a premium dog food subscription service that provides freshly cooked and pre-portioned meals, and snacks, completely customized for your dog. I really love the fact that Pet Plate delivers the highest quality meals to my door without me ever having to think about it! Check out Pet Plate here to find more information and see if Pet Plate is right for you and your pet.

Occasionally, you can give your poodles a probiotic supplement to maintain a healthy gut. Zesty Paws is a great probiotic option for your poodle.

If you notice other symptoms like reoccurring diarrhea or vomiting, your poodle may have an intestinal disease or other health-related issues within the digestive tract. This is something your vet should check out immediately before the problems develop.

Disease and Illness Can Cause Bad Breath in Poodles

In the worst-case scenario, your poodle may have a dangerous disease that you need to get checked out immediately. If you have a young and generally healthy poodle, then you should consider the above reasons and treatments before assuming there is a more serious issue.

However, if you have an older poodle or one that is experiencing symptoms other than halitosis like vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, constipation, excessive urination, awkward walking, then you should get them checked out by a vet for the following diseases:

  • Diabetes is likely a cause for your older poodle’s bad breathe, which often smells like fruit or acetone. Of course, diabetes is also possible in juvenile poodles, so look for signs like weight loss or gain, inactivity, increased urination, and changes in appetite.
  • Kidney disease is common with toy poodles and can cause your poodle’s breath to smell like urine. Signs and symptoms include weight loss, depression, inactivity, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and increase thirst.
  • Liver disease causes an almost sweet fecal smell. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, awkward and unstable walking, increased thirst, irregular urination, and confused or yellowish eyes.
  • Lung disease and other respiratory problems, including inflammation in the nasal passages, throat, pharynx, tonsils, and esophageal tube can cause bad breath in your poodles, as well as nasal secretions, drain into your dog’s mouth. Symptoms include coughing and wheezing, gagging, and an inability to exercise actively.

By NO means should you attempt to cure or treat your poodle for the above-listed diseases and illnesses. If you notice reoccurring symptoms along with bad breath, you need to take your poodle to a vet or specialist for diagnosis and treatment. The sooner you notice the signs and get help, the bigger the chances of you curing and treating your beloved poodle.

Home Remedies For Your Poodle’s Bad Breath

If your poodle is confirmed healthy and you’ve been brushing their teeth regularly, but bad breath still persists, there are some DIY tricks and home remedies to help relieve bad breath.

  • You can give your poodles healthy snacks, including carrots and apples, which help prevent plaque buildup.
  • Incorporate some parsley into your poodle’s food
  • Add some coconut oil, which dogs love by the way, to your poodle’s meals

You can even create a toothbrush at home by wrapping a clean piece of gauze around your finger and using a water-based baking soda solution to clean your poodle’s teeth.

There you have it! Bad breath is nothing pretty, and while in most instances it is harmless and can be easily treated, you should get your poodles checked out often and mention any odors or inconsistent behavior to your vet.

Must Have Products For Poodles And Doodles

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful. Here are some products that I personally believe every owner should employ to help ensure the best quality of life for their dogs. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission.

But in all honesty, these are the exact products that I use and recommend to everyone, even my own family.

Lemonade Pet Insurance: Lemonade Pet Insurance has enabled me to afford a very high level of veterinary care for my dog, Angus. Even after he was diagnosed with cancer a few years back. Lemonade is a great company, and I can’t recommend them enough!

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Pet Plate: I first learned of Pet Plate when the company was featured on the TV show “Shark Tank” back in 2016. Pet Plate is the dog food subscription service I use to provide extremely healthy, pre-portioned meals for my dog. Pet Plate gives my dog Angus the highest quality nutrition at a very affordable price.

BarkBox: Without a doubt, my dog enjoys Barkbox more than anything else I buy him. BarkBox delivers a customized box of themed toys, treats, and other products to your door each month. In addition, I like that a percentage of proceeds is donated to local animal shelters.

Pawp.com: Pawp is not insurance. It’s a membership program that gives you access to unlimited video calls or texts with a licensed vet 24/7 and includes up to six pets on a single membership! I Purchase this service for my dog Angus and have saved hundreds of dollars over visiting his local vet with questions or more minor health concerns. Pawp will even pay up to $3,000 if your pets experience an emergency situation! Check out Pawp’s website to see why Pawp can help you save money and increase your pet’s quality of care.

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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