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Stinky Breath: Whys Does My Chihuahua Have It?

It’s no secret that dogs get bad breath. With chihuahua dogs, this is especially true. Their small chin, teeth, and mouth mean they can be more prone to buildup and plaque, leading to stinky breath. In fact, most chihuahuas will have some sort of stinky breath at some point in their life. And when it comes to reducing chihuahua’s bad breath and improving your dog’s oral care, there are a few things you can change in order to mitigate those odors.

But before we tackle the reasons and ways of managing this problem, let’s talk about first what to expect in the oral health of your chihuahua.


chihuahua stinky breath
Photo credits: Zachary Casler

Let’s start with your chihuahua’s teeth. Like other short-nosed dogs, chihuahuas have many tooth problems, including gum disease and tooth decay. Usually, these issues are managed through professional cleaning and occasional teeth extractions by the vet. But the much easier way to keep your chi safe from dental disease is to prevent it!

🐶 Oral care

Chihuahuas do not require special oral care, as they have small mouths and teeth. However, it is still vital to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing regularly and providing appropriate chew toys. If you want to ensure that your chihuahua’s teeth stay in great shape for life, give them a nourishing diet and make sure they have good dental hygiene.

🐶 Risks

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease of the chi’s gums caused by a bacterial infection. It can lead to tooth loss if it’s not treated in time. The signs of periodontal disease include redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. It may also result in loose teeth, stinky breath, and a receding gum line. Your chi will also have difficulty eating due to pain associated with chewing or swallowing, which can lead to weight loss. 

If not treated immediately, your chi will experience lethargy and depression caused by constant discomfort around its mouth. If you notice any aggravating symptoms with your chihuahua, take it directly to the vet for treatment with antibiotics and dental cleaning.

🐶 Breeder role

Prevention of dental disease starts with the breeder. Breeders should check the teeth of their chihuahua puppies when they are twelve weeks old. This is to ensure that there is no dental disease present at a very young age of your chi. Another important aspect of prevention that the breeder must consider is diet. Chihuahua puppies should be fed a diet that promotes oral health, such as one based on raw or cooked meat and bones.

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A puppy’s diet will have an impact on its adult teeth as well. So it is essential for the breeder to continue feeding the chi high-quality food after it has finished growing up or when its permanent teeth are developing. While any dry kibble might seem like a suitable choice, some brands contain unhealthy ingredients that promote dental disease. This occurs by creating plaque buildup around the gum line and leading to periodontal disease later in life or even causing tooth loss before adulthood!

🐶 Early examination

The teething process can be stressful for your chi puppy. It may experience swollen gums, tooth pain, or even infection. Your veterinarian will examine its teeth at least twice a year to check for signs of decay, gum disease, and other problems. During these examinations, you should also ask about any trauma, such as broken teeth. Early assessment of the teething process can help predict future dental problems. So it’s essential to schedule an arrangement with the breeder and the vet if you notice any of these signs in your chihuahua.


Owning a chihuahua is excellent, but they can be stinky sometimes. Here are some reasons why your favorite furry friend might smell so bad and what you can do about it.

🐶 Wet body

If you have a chihuahua, you know that they don’t smell good when they’re wet. So, if your chi is damp and stinky, use a towel to dry them off as best you can before putting them back on their bed or in their crate. If they are still wet after all of your attempts at drying them off, then it’s likely that they will still smell bad because of this issue. The same goes for that chi that has been sweating from running around outside. They will often still have a strong odor even after being bathed and dried.

If your chihuahua has been kept away from water for an extended period and it smells like it needs bathing again upon returning home, this may be the cause of its stench! Make sure that if there is any moisture left on its coat before putting it back with its bedding or crate. This is to prevent so mold growth later on down the road.

🐶 Shedding

If they are shedding, it is normal for them to smell a little. If they are shedding a lot and you bathe them often, this will help to keep the smell down. You should also brush their hair daily and use a shampoo that has oatmeal in it.

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🐶 Feces

If your chihuahua is eating its own feces, it could be a sign of a parasite. Parasites are nasty critters that attach themselves to the intestines and feed off your pup’s food. They can cause manifestations like weight loss and diarrhea, which may be the reason for the foul smell.

If you suspect your pup has parasites, try changing its diet or adding some medication for intestinal worms. If these remedies don’t work, see a vet as soon as possible because parasites can cause serious health problems for dogs if left untreated.

🐶 Overheating

It’s probably best to make sure that your air conditioner is working. Chihuahuas are prone to heat stroke and can get very sick in high temperatures. If you find that your dog is overheating, make sure they are not in direct sunlight and do everything attainable to cool them down. You should carry them to the vet if this does not work.

Keep in mind that if hygiene is not the primary suspect for its stinky smell, then there are other reasons for this, such as overheating. This is because when a dog overheats, it secretes fluids that may stick to its coat and that may cause the odor.

🐶 Overbathing

A chihuahua can get a skin infection if it is bathed too often. It is best to wash your chihuahua only once every three months, or even less frequently than that if you can.

If you do decide to give your chi a bath, be sure that the shampoo that you use is not harsh on its skin or full of chemicals. If the ingredients have unfamiliar names, it’s probably best not to use them! Also, remember that water is always hot when it comes out of the faucet. Remember that you should never put any animal in very hot water as this will burn them.

Letting your chihuahua dry out after bathing is an integral part of the process. It could develop skin problems if you don’t let it dry out. The best way to make sure your pup gets plenty of air time is with a dog dryer, which blows warm air on its body so that all moisture can evaporate and leave it feeling great! You can also use towels to help it get dried off if you’d prefer not to invest in a machine.

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🐶 Oily fur

If your chihuahua’s fur is oily, you have a few options. The first thing to do is a test using dry shampoo on them. Dry shampoos are great for getting rid of oil in chihuahua’s hair and can be found at any pet store or online. If that doesn’t work, then it might be time to change their diet. Some people find that their chihuahuas produce more oil than others after switching from puppy food to adult food and vice versa. Your vet should be able to help with this!

You can also try brushing them regularly with an undercoat rake or even a pin brush until they start producing less oil than they used to.


chihuahua stinky breath due to activities

When it comes to chihuahua’s breath, there are several activities that your pup does that cause foul breath. Stinky breath in a chihuahua can be caused by health issues, so as a chi owner, it’s good to know what activities can lead to bad breath. Once you learn the signs and causes of bad breath in dogs and other symptoms, you will be better equipped to prevent bad breath in your chihuahua.

🐶 Eating human foods

The other major cause of bad breath in chihuahuas is eating human foods. Many people are aware of the fact that chihuahuas can develop tooth decay and gum disease. However, many don’t realize that chihuahuas are at particular risk for both because they have such small mouths. This means that their teeth can be damaged more easily by food particles.

Bad breath is often a sign of dental health issues, and this is especially true if your chihuahua has never had any teeth removed, which would make them more prone to developing stinky breath. However, even if all of your chihuahua’s teeth have been removed due to an injury or illness, eating human foods can still cause them to develop tooth decay and gum disease over time!

Try feeding your chihuahua rawhide chew toys instead of real meat bones when possible to prevent this from happening. These will help keep their teeth healthy while providing hours’ worth of entertainment!

🐶 Drinking from a toilet bowl

Drinking from the toilet bowl can be tempting for any dog, but it’s not worth it. While you may think your chihuahua will be fine, just remember that water in the toilet is contaminated with bacteria and other germs that can make your pup sick.

Besides causing your chi to get diarrhea and potentially making you sick if they lick you while they have diarrhea, drinking from the toilet bowl has been known to cause stinky breath. Chihuahuas are naturally drawn to their own urine and feces because of their senses of smell and taste. But, this is one time when it would be best not to indulge them!

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🐶 Eating pet food

Pet food is not as nutritious as human food. Human food contains a variety of fresh ingredients, like vegetables, fruits, and grains that are high in fiber. Pet food is often made with similar ingredients but also includes preservatives. This is to extend its shelf life and add more calories to make your pet gain weight faster.

If you are worried about the breath of your Chihuahua due to his eating habits, only give it small amounts at a time. You can try adding apples or carrots into its diet, so it gets some vitamins from these foods.

🐶 Storing food in their cheeks

If you’re a chihuahua owner, you may have noticed that your pup has a tendency to store food in its cheeks. This is perfectly natural for them, but it can cause bad breath if not cleaned up properly. The best way to avert this is by taking care of any messes right away. If cleaning up seems like too much work and your pup gets into the habit of storing food in its mouth, then consider getting it used to another method of eating, like using a bowl.

🐶 Eating garbage

If you’re new to the world of chihuahua ownership, you may be surprised to hear that garbage is not a healthy food for your pup. Garbage can cause stomach issues, diarrhea, and vomiting. As well as other digestive issues that are not fun for anyone involved. If your chihuahua ingests or smells trash over time, it can cause bad breath too! The stench of rotten food combined with plaque buildup on teeth is enough to make anyone sick. So if you want to protect your chihuahua’s health and keep yourself from throwing up in the street, get rid of those nasty odors!

🐶 Other general activities

If your chihuahua has stinky breath, there are a few activities that can cause it. Here’s a list of some common causes:

>>Bad diet 

As mentioned, if your chihuahua’s diet isn’t healthy enough, it will likely have bad breath. This is especially true if the food is full of preservatives, chemicals, and other unhealthy ingredients. To avoid this problem, make sure you read the labels on packages carefully before buying them for your pet. Also, try changing brands if one seems particularly problematic. You might only need to switch back again once you find something better.

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>>Inadequate dental hygiene 

Brushing your chihuahua’s teeth regularly can help prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay that leads to stinky breath! Just remember that they should always be supervised while brushing so they don’t accidentally swallow any toothpaste which could irritate their stomachs.


There is a lot of statement about caring for a new canine pal, but one aspect that is often neglected is oral health. Your chihuahua’s teeth and gums can get diseased, causing pain and organ damage. Plaque on your chihuahua’s teeth is responsible for bacteria that cause gingivitis, which leads to periodontal disease. 

When plaque grows into tartar on the tooth surface, it becomes an irritant to gum tissue, leading to inflammation and infection. If left untreated, inflamed gums may recede from around the teeth and form pockets where harmful bacteria grow. And, the infection spreads deeper into the tissues that support the teeth. And to prevent all of these or minimize the risk of oral issues, follow the care tips below.

🐶 Brushing 

This is always the best way to prevent foul breath and other oral problems. To safely brush your chihuahua’s teeth, use a soft bristle brush. You want a small one, about the size of an adult fingertip, that won’t be too big for your little friend’s mouth or cause it discomfort. Brush its teeth using circular motions, mainly focusing on the food-trap areas where tartar can build up and spread bacteria throughout its mouth.

You should brush your chihuahua’s teeth at least once a day, but more often if there is visible plaque buildup. It is advisable to brush before meals, so it doesn’t spoil their appetite. If they refuse to let you near their mouth while they eat, try doing it right after eating instead. Most chihuahuas will still be hungry by then and will allow themselves to be brushed after having just finished eating some tasty kibble!

🐶 Dental treats & chews

Another problem that could arise when giving your dog treats, aside from choking, is if those treats are too hard and can harm their teeth or gums. If this happens, then it is advisable to look for softer treats instead! Also, remember not to give them too big of treats. This is because they might get stuck in their mouth or throat. You should also make sure that whatever chewable treats you choose has no sugar or artificial ingredients included, as well as make it organic if possible!

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For the chew toys suitable for chihuahuas, click here.

🐶 Rinsing with water additives

A rinse or mouthwash is the most common way to add an antibacterial agent to your chihuahua’s water. The product you choose should be veterinarian-approved and contain chlorhexidine gluconate, which fights bacteria and plaque. You can also use pet toothpaste with this chemical, which serves as an antimicrobial. 

In addition to rinsing with water additives, it’s essential to brush your chihuahua’s teeth daily with a pet toothbrush and toothpaste formulated for its breed. If your chi doesn’t like having his teeth brushed, try using a dental chew instead. This is because they’re designed to clean teeth while it chews on them!

🐶 Veterinary dentist

If you want to provide your chihuahua with the best care possible, it’s essential to visit a veterinary dentist every six months. You can discover one by asking around or by looking online because many vets offer this service. But of course, the fee will vary depending on where you live. And, the general estimate is about a hundred dollars per session for routine cleanings and checkups.


There are many activities that a chihuahua can get into. All of these activities can be fun for your chi and make you laugh. But some of these activities may cause stinky breath. The promising news is that you will have plenty of time to brush its teeth or give it a breath mint before it kisses you!

With this article, you can provide your chihuahua with the best oral care possible! Clean teeth will help your chi to feel their best and allow them to eat comfortably. Just keep in mind that owners must be prepared for a little fight when trying to brush their chihuahua’s teeth. But once it becomes routine, it will take less time than expected. On the final note, consider dental treats or rinsing as an extra preventive measure. But always make sure that your dog is receiving regular vet checkups as well.