Why Does My Puppy’s Breath Smell Like Skunk?

Why Does My Puppy's Breath Smell Like Skunk?You’ve been looking at purebred puppies for sale and have finally picked one. He is so cute! He waddles over to you as you sit on the floor to play with him. You pick him up and hold him up to your face. He opens his mouth and…OH MY GOD. His breath smells like he has been chewing on a skunk for a few hours. Why does your puppy’s breath smell like a skunk? He is not possessed by some skunk devil. No, there’s an answer.

Causes of Skunk Breath

The first thing to understand is puppies generally have bad breath. They are just developing as animals so their digestive system is undergoing major changes. Most have just come off of their mother’s milk, so the enzymes they use to digest food are also changing. Cumulatively, this leads to bad breath and is even referred to by dog owners as “puppy breath” with accompanying raised eyebrows.

So, let’s get to the good news first. El skunko breath is typically caused by digestive enzymes. How is this good news? These enzymes are only present for a relatively short period of time – up to 8 weeks. The enzymes in the digestive system will then evolve into a more permanent mixture that does not smell so horrific.

Now the bad news. Skunk breath is not always caused by enzyme issues. In some cases, a puppy can have a problem with its esophagus. This results in gases escaping up through its mouth. In such a case, the smell is usually so bad that you will be willing to give up your first born child just to have the skunk breath back. If you suspect your little one is having this issue, haul them off to the vet for a checkup.

Food is obviously a potential issue as well. I remember when the Atkins Diet was a huge fad for us humans to lose weight. One of the side effects of eating meat 24/7? Bad breath. The same goes for your puppy. To be blunt, you might try changing up their dog food. Buy them a bag of good, organic food and see if their breath changes. In many cases, it will and their coat will look much better as well.

What Should You Do?

The good news is the initial step to fixing this problem is very inexpensive – do nothing. Seriously. It probably will just pass. Doesn’t matter if it is a small pup like a Teddy Bear puppy or a bigger breed like Irish Wolfhound puppies.
Dog and tooth brush

What if it doesn’t go away? If 12 weeks pass and your pup still smells like it gargles with skunk every morning, then plan a visit to the vet just to make sure there isn’t a bigger issue. The vet will be able to take a look at their digestive system, analyze blood and give you a good idea of what is going on.

Another option that may be suggested is to have the teeth of your puppy cleaned. I don’t personally agree with this advice. The puppy is, well, a puppy. A dog only a few months old can’t possibly have built up much gunk on their teeth. The chances of your little one having really nasty teeth are remote at best. Still, you can check them to see how they look. Unless there is obvious gunk everywhere, save your money. In fact, buy them chews that help clean their teeth. Worked with my pup.

Overcoming the Smell

Is there a magic formula for dealing with the skunk smell? Sorry, no. It is a phase that will pass. You will just have to grin and bear it until then.

Annie Klacks
@animaroo

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