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5 Reasons Why Your Chihuahua Has Bad Breath + 3 Tips

Chihuahua Bad Breath

Let’s be honest:

It sucks when your Chihuahua has bad breath (especially if you like to cuddle with your Chi).

But don’t worry, in this article you’ll discover:

  • 3 simple tips against bad breath.
  • 5 common reasons why your Chihuahua has bad breath.
  • How you can brush your Chihuahua’s teeth (with easy to follow steps + video).
  • And more…

5 reasons why your Chihuahua has bad breath

Why Does My Chihuahua Has Bad Breath

The most common reasons why your Chihuahua has bad breath are:

  1. Poor oral hygiene.
  2. Periodontal disease.
  3. Teething.
  4. Eating feces.
  5. Too much plaque.

That being said, let’s discuss each of these reasons in detail…

#1: Poor oral hygiene

Did you know that Chihuahuas have up to 42 teeth by the time they’re eight months old? That’s ten more than adult humans but in a much smaller mouth.

From plaque build-up, decaying teeth, and overcrowding, Chihuahuas are prone to poor dental health if you don’t take preventative measures early on.


  • Obsessive drooling.
  • Lack of interest in food.
  • Swollen or bleeding gums.
  • Lumps or odd growths on gums.
  • Build-up of dark yellowish-brown plaque around teeth.

What helps?

  • Balanced diets help protect against health issues that can affect your Chihuahua’s teeth.
  • Your Chihuahua can work off some of that plaque build-up by having a variety of chews and bones.
  • During your Chihuahua’s annual check-ups, ask your vet how your Chihuahua’s teeth are doing.

#2: Periodontal disease

According to Prestige Animal Hospital, dental disease affects 80% of all dogs before they turn two years old. Often, small issues like tartar and plaque can become serious problems if not treated on time.

Oral disease is actually common amongst Chihuahuas. So yours isn’t the only one with stinky breath. 


  • Loose teeth.
  • Blood in saliva.
  • Difficulty eating.
  • Teeth falling out.
  • Blood in water or on toys.
  • Not wanting their head pet.
  • Sneezing or excess nasal discharge.
  • Only using part of the mouth to chew.
  • Unusual bumps in your Chihuahua’s mouth.

What helps?

  • Regular check-ups with your veterinarian.
  • Rawhides, rubber balls, and other chews that aren’t hard help remove plaque.
  • Dry dog foods help naturally remove plaque build-up for Chihuahuas. You can also find special foods formulated to help with dental health.

#3: Teething

While your baby Chihuahua is teething, many changes are happening in their mouth. Puppies will be going through a period of losing baby teeth and growing adult teeth.

Adult teeth may take up to six months to fully emerge in your puppy’s mouth.

Like any baby growing teeth, there are periods of discomfort and extra drool that can change the number of bacteria in your pup’s mouth.


  • Missing teeth.
  • Pawing their face.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Chewing on everything.
  • Change in eating habits.
  • Messing with their mouth.
  • Whining and irritable mood.
  • Small amounts of blood on chewed toys.

What helps?

  • Ice cubes.
  • Nylon bones.
  • Frozen carrots.
  • Puppy chew toys.
  • Study rubber toys.
  • Refrigerated chew toys.

#4: Eating feces

Seeing your Chihuahua eat his feces doesn’t lead to wanting all those puppy kisses. But it can lead to stinky breath.

Though it looks concerning, many dogs eat their feces as a way of cleaning up after themselves. Similar to how we would clean our rooms, they clean the yard.

Other reasons your Chihuahua may be eating his feces is due to boredom, stress, anxiety, and seeking attention. On rare occasions, Chihuahuas may fear punishment for accidents and eat their feces to avoid getting into trouble.


  • Tired.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Intestinal parasites.

What helps?

  • Coat stool in hot sauce or lemon juice.
  • Other taste aversion products with garlic, chamomile, or yucca included.
  • Add about two tablespoons of canned pumpkin to their dog food (it tastes great the first time around, but not so great the second time if you know what I mean).

#5: Too much plaque

Plaque is a build-up of bacteria, so more bacteria equals more oral issues. Though a small amount of plaque is normal for your Chihuahua, here are a few signs show they have extra.


  • Irritated gums.
  • Teeth falling out.
  • Yellowish-brown teeth.
  • Pus around edges of gums and teeth.

What helps?

  • Bones and other chews.
  • Plaque-fighting products.
  • Special diets aimed at maintaining oral health.

3 tips to help freshen your Chihuahua’s bad breath

Chihuahua Meme Tooth Brush

Now that you’ve seen the signs and figured out why your Chi has bad breath, it’s time to fix the problem.

Luckily, there are plenty of easy things that you can to help remedy Chihuahua’s bad breath. 

Each of these tips will help you fight bad breath in your Chihuahua. And, none of them are too hard.

Unless, of course, you have a strong-willed Chi. If that’s the case, choose an option that you know will be the least challenging… for you and your Chihuahua.

#1: Brush your Chihuahua’s teeth daily

Brushing your Chihuahua’s teeth will help protect their mouth from plaque building up and getting hard. Here are the steps to brush your dog’s teeth.

  • Brush teeth while your Chihuahua is calm.
  • If possible, give your Chihuahua a walk or other exercise to wear them out before you brush.
  • Avoid brushing right before meal times when your Chihuahua might be hungry.
  • Invest in a dog toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Don’t use an electric toothbrush… they look handy but it’s guaranteed that your Chi will hate the sound (no matter how quiet they claim to be).
  • Choose a spot with good lighting, where your Chihuahua can feel comfortable while you brush their teeth.
  • Before using the toothbrush, use your finger to get them to use to having their mouth touched.
  • Don’t call your Chi to come over to get their teeth brushed, this will lead them to not come other times, if they fear they’re going to have to do it again.
  • Use the toothbrush and toothpaste to start brushing their teeth (start at the top, bottom, and then sides).
  • Once you commit to doing it, make sure you actually brush, even if it’s just for a short time, otherwise your dog will learn how to avoid the brushing.
  • Give a reward for a job well done (for both you and your little buddy, you had to work hard, too).

For more information, the following video demonstrates how to brush your pup’s teeth safely. 

It’s best to clean your Chihuahua’s teeth several times each week.

Just remember, the more you do it, the easier it will get. Eventually your Chihuahua will just accept it as part of their daily routine. 

#2: Invest in dental treats

My favorite healthy food to eat is the food that doesn’t look healthy. Chihuahuas may not enjoy getting their teeth brushed, but who doesn’t enjoy a tasty treat?

The best part? Treats like Dentastix and Greenies help freshen your dog’s breath due to added ingredients that help with oral hygiene. You can also ask your veterinarian other treatment options or experiment with some homemade fresh breath treats.

Most homemade dog treats include ingredients like mint or parsley to help freshen breath.

Why should you choose dental treats?

  • Great for days in between check-ups and teeth brushing.
  • Dental treats are designed for your dog’s teeth and include ingredients that fight against tartar.
  • Some aspects of dental treats, including shape and ingredients, improve your Chihuahua’s breath.

#3: Try a water additive

Have you ever put a penny inside coke? The phosphoric acid inside the coke causes for the copper oxide on the pennies to dissolve.

A similar reaction happens between the plaque on your Chihuahua’s teeth. The water additive will alter your dog’s saliva’s pH level that will help prevent build-up.

Depending on the water additive you choose, simply follow the instructions and add the required amount to your Chihuahua’s water bowl.

And remember: don’t add soda to your Chihuahua’s water bowl.

Final Thoughts

Bad Chihuahua breath isn’t exactly the best quality of these little snuggle bugs, but it is fairly common. And treatable. 

Just remember that as the owner, you have to lend a helping hand, or paw, in taking care of your Chi’s teeth. 

It’s the only way to eliminate that bad breath, and hopefully treat the underlying cause.