6 Ways to Battle Bad Dog Breath in the Car

By Sarah Hinds Friedl on May 5th, 2021

There’s nothing quite as cute as looking in your rearview mirror to your happy dog smiling in the back seat. Your pup loves being your co-pilot, and you love taking them on adventures.

But if your dog also has bad breath, you may not enjoy sharing such tight quarters with them! In fact, many dog owners find themselves apologizing whenever their passengers are greeted by a foul-smelling pup panting right in their ear.

Luckily, there are some solutions to combat doggy breath in the car so that you can start enjoying road trips again. In this BreezeGuard article, we’re going to share some simple tips that will make Fido a more pleasant passenger!

#1: Rule out any medical causes for bad breath
In most cases, bad breath is perfectly normal in dogs. But, if you feel that your pup has exceptionally bad breath, don’t hesitate to talk to your vet. Some medical reasons for bad breath are obvious, such as periodontal disease (more on that in a moment). 

But bad breath can also point to kidney disease, diabetes, and liver disease, which is why it’s best to rule out any underlying causes early. If your dog is suffering from one of these medical causes for bad breath, a treatment plan should help mitigate the smell. But, you can still incorporate the following tips to make your car rides even easier on the nose!

#2: Dental hygiene is a must
Regular dental hygiene isn’t just crucial for good breath, it can also keep your pup healthy. Most vets recommend daily brushing, chew toys that promote oral health, and the occasional deep cleaning under anesthesia. These three practices can significantly improve your dog’s breath and prevent serious problems as they age.

And we get it, it can be hard to squeeze in doggy dental hygiene into your daily routine, but just a few minutes of brushing can do wonders for your pup’s breath and overall health.

#3: Check in with your dog’s diet
Just like humans, our dogs can suffer from allergies and stomach upset from certain types of food. If you notice your dog’s breath taking a turn for the worse after switching up their diet, it could be a sign that their digestive system is struggling. 

In general, stick with high quality dog foods and always give your dog a slow transition to any new foods. This will help regulate their digestive system and hopefully ease their bad breath!

Even more importantly, steer clear of giving your pup any table scraps. The fats, salt and seasonings in most human foods result in digestive discomfort for our dogs.

Now, we all know that our dogs sometimes gobble down questionable food items when we’re not looking. If your dog tends to smell worse on the way back from a hike or trip to the dog park, for example, you might wonder what your dog managed to eat. 

Correcting this kind of scavenging behaviour can be tricky. You might encourage your dog to stay close with an engaging game of fetch, or prevent them from straying entirely by keeping them on a leash. And, whenever your dog catches a whiff of something without pursuing it, you can reward them with a treat. 

#4: Fresh air is your friend
Of course, you probably already know that driving with your windows down is one of the best ways to air out your dog’s bad breath. 

The problem is, though, that allowing your pup to stick their head out of the window isn’t a safe option. So, how can you get a good air flow while keeping your pup’s snout safely inside? 

BreezeGuard Screens are sturdy window coverings that allow you to roll the windows down for some sweet-smelling fresh air. They’re easily installed and will keep your doggo safe while you try to manage the doggy breath smell.

That said, you can’t always drive around with your windows down! But, you can still ensure that you’re cycling the air in your car by regularly replacing your car’s air filter. This will ensure that, whether you’re blasting the heat or the AC, the air that comes into the car will be fresh. 

#5: Try some DIY remedies
You don’t have to douse your car in air fresheners to get rid of doggy bad breath. There are a few home products that can do the trick!

Apple cider vinegar, for instance, is a home remedy that can help keep your dog’s breath fresh. Diluted in your dog’s water bowl, ACV can promote fresh breath by eliminating odor-causing bacteria. 

And, if you’re a whiz in the kitchen, you might whip up some fresh breath doggy treats for your next car ride. Dog treats with mint are a great way to fight bad breath and keep your car smelling good. You might add in some shaved carrots for an added breath-boosting ingredient!

#6: Regular cleaning can keep things fresh
In our article on keeping your car clean as a dog owner, we covered some helpful tips on eliminating other kinds of dog odors and messes, including dander, slobber, and mud. And, the same tips can help with doggy breath, as well!

Spending a few minutes wiping down hard surfaces and picking up dog hair a few times per week can go a long way in eliminating bad smells in your car. You can also fight the doggy breath with sachets of dried herbs, especially peppermint or lavender.

Enjoy having your doggy co-pilot!
No one wants to deal with doggy breath in their car, whether they’re just running errands or gearing up for a long road trip. By making some adjustments to your dog’s hygiene routine and diet, and incorporating some air-freshening hacks, you can enjoy having your dog in the car!

For more cleaning and health tips for doggy ownership, check back in regularly with the BreezeGuard blog!

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