K9sOverCoffee | Raw Dog Food Myths: Does Raw Feeding Cause Bad Breath? Part 4/5

Raw Dog Food Myths 4/5: Raw Feeding Causes Bad Breath

Some people assume that raw feeding causes bad breath in dogs.

If you’re wondering about this and it’s holding you back from switching your pup to raw, rest assured that it doesn’t!

I find this particular myth really interesting because now that I feed Missy and Buzz a raw diet, their breath is the contrary of smelly!

Add On 2022: My raw-fed pup Wally also doesn’t have smelly breath.

It’s odorless and actually doesn’t cause me to look away when either of them breathes into my face or gives me doggie kisses.

So how is this possible and what exactly causes bad dog breath, also known as halitosis?

Let’s take a closer look.

Raw Dog Food Myths 4/5: Raw Feeding Causes Bad Breath

K9sOverCoffee.com | Raw Dog Food Myths: Does Raw Feeding Cause Bad Breath? Part 4/5

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

What Causes Bad Dog Breath (Halitosis)?

Every veterinarian will tell you that tartar buildup, plaque, and gum disease are the culprits of bad breath in our four legged besties. 

The next question that arises as a logical consequence is what causes the tartar buildup, plaque, and gum disease in the first place? 

The answer is carbs in highly processed dog food.

For example:

  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Barley
  • Potatoes

Carbs are very starchy and are found in abundance in dry dog food.

That’s why dogs fed a dry food diet will inevitably end up with brown teeth.

Unless they get brushed every single day, which is what traditional veterinarians recommend in order to prevent tartar. 

Compared to just about 14% of carbohydrate content in the ancestral raw diet, today’s dry diets consist of a 46-74% carbohydrate average (source: Dog Food Advisor).

Side note: Interestingly enough, some dry dog food brands confidently market their food as helping with dental hygiene.

Supposedly, kibble has a scraping effect on dog (and cat!) teeth. In reality however, it’s the kibble that causes poor dental hygiene! 

It’ll say something along the lines of “reduces plaque and tartar build-up” on the bag of dry food.

Best Dog Food For Bad Breath, or: How Can Bad Dog Breath Be Avoided Naturally?

In my personal opinion, the best dog food for bad breath is species-appropriate, raw dog food.

One of the many benefits of feeding raw dog food with raw meaty bones is excellent dental health.

A meaty bone like a duck neck or a chicken leg quarter acts as a natural toothbrush.

That said, it eliminates the need for dog teeth brushing. I personally completely stopped brushing Missy’s & Buzz’s teeth since putting together their own raw meals. 

Update 2022: My new pup Wally also has bright, clean teeth courtesy of eating raw dog food with meaty bones.

K9sOverCoffee | Wally has clean teeth thanks to eating raw meaty bones
Wally’s clean teeth

Brands Who Sell Pre-Made Raw Dog Food

On a sidetone, there are brands that sell pre-made raw dog food like Darwin’s Pet and Steve’s Real Food.

Since the bone content is included in ground form, those meals lack the natural tooth brushing benefit.

What's the cost of raw dog food? Darwin's raw lamb
Pre-made raw lamb from Darwin’s is ready to feed as is
What's the cost of raw dog food? Steve's Real Food and Green Tripe from TEFCO
Mixing green tripe with pre-made raw dog food from Steve’s Real Food

Brands Who Sell Both Pre-Made Raw Dog Food & Individual Cuts Of Meat

Other brands like Raw Paws Pet Food and Raw Feeding Miami sell a mix of pre-made raw meals that can be fed as-is and individual cuts of raw meat to make your own raw meals.

Raw Paws Pet Food

K9sOverCoffee.com | My dog Wally's raw dog food consists of a raw turkey neck, ground turkey, venison, beef, lamb, and a duck egg.
One of Wally’s raw meals features a raw turkey neck from Raw Paws Pet Food
K9sOverCoffee.com | Complete beef with green beef tripe from Raw Paws Pet Food
Pre-made raw beef with tripe from Raw Paws Pet Food is ready to be fed as is. I also added a raw egg.

Tip: Take 15% off your Raw Paws Pet Food order with my affiliate discount code K9Savings.

Raw Feeding Miami

Raw dog food recipe with duck, beef, salmon, GLMs, rabbit, turkey, and green JuJu
Most ingredients from this raw meal are from Raw Feeding Miami

The ingredients that are from Raw Feeding Miami are the duck wings and duck tenders, beef heart and beef pancreas, green lipped mussels (GLMs), rabbit kidneys, and turkey liver.

In raw feeding, a balanced meal consists of 70-80% muscle meat, 10% raw meaty bones, 10% secreting organs, and optional 10% plant matter (veggies and or fruit and herbs).

Muscle meat in this recipe: Duck tenders, beef pancreas, green lipped mussels, and salmon.

Raw meaty bone in this recipe: Duck wings.

Secreting organs in this recipe: Beef pancreas, rabbit kidneys, and turkey liver.

Plant matter in this recipe: Green Juju.

For more information on how to put your own raw meals together, please check out my ebooks.

Tip: Save 10% off your Raw Feeding Miami order with my referral discount link.

The salmon is from a grocery store, the green JuJu is from a local pet retail store, and I made the bone broth that I added myself.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Rabbit is a cooling proteins for raw dog food
Pre-made rabbit raw dog food from Raw Feeding Miami, mixed with Green JuJu

If you decide to feed pre-made raw, offer a raw meaty bone once per week so that your pup still gets the benefit of clean pearlies!

My pup Wally and I demonstrate how to safely feed raw meaty bones

Does Raw Feeding Cause Bad Breath: The Dental Benefits Of Feeding Raw Dog Food

One of the many benefits of feeding a raw diet is a clean dental health bill:

  • No tooth decay
  • No periodontal disease
  • Fresh, sweet breath! 

One of the benefits for the dog’s owner is a fuller wallet! You won’t have to spend any money on tooth brushes & pastes, dental chews, sprays, and mouth rinses. Your pup also won’t need to get anesthesia in order to get an expensive tooth cleaning done. 

Back in our kibble feeding days, I made the major & costly mistake to let Buzz chew on a recreational, hard beef bone.

That’s a big no no because bones from large hooved animals are too dense for dog teeth and can definitely cause them to crack.

It makes sense when you think about it. Beef bones have to hold up hundreds of pounds of animal, whereas poultry bones hold considerably less weight!

Either way, Buzz managed to break one of his upper molars which needed to be extracted in its entirety.

Talk about a hefty vet bill ($557).

While he was under, he also got his first dental cleaning. The 3 years of kibble eating had left their marks because I didn’t brush his teeth on a daily basis.

Instead, I only brushed once to twice per week. 

You can read more about Buzz’s dental dilemma in this post: 

How To Cope With A Fractured Dog Tooth

Raw Feeding Causes Bad Breath: Bottom Line

Since feeding the pups a raw diet with raw meaty bones, their diet a) no longer consists of a crazy amount of carbs that cause tartar buildup.

This b) eliminates the need for me to brush their teeth because that job has been “outsourced” to raw meaty bones.

As a result, I’m rewarded with odorless puppy kisses.

Everyone who’d like to check for themselves is cordially invited to come visit & get their share of sweet doggie kisses!

Other Raw Feeding Myths:

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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8 responses to “Raw Dog Food Myths 4/5: Raw Feeding Causes Bad Breath”

  1. Earl Lover Avatar

    Another informative and interesting post about raw feeding.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thanks for the positive feedback!

  2. Lindsay Stordahl Avatar
    Lindsay Stordahl

    Ace’s breath smells the worst when I give him salmon or other fish based treats. Yuck! Good points that if a dog is eating raw his teeth should be healthier, less tarter, plaque, buildup, etc. So of course that should equal less smelly breath. And then obviously dogs are dogs and they just have stinky breath from eating who knows what sometimes!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      It’s really amazing what this raw diet has done to the pups’ pearlies – and I no longer have to feel guilty for not brushing them daily!!
      …yep, if they get into something gross outside, it’ll be reflected in their breath 😉

  3. Julie Smith Avatar
    Julie Smith

    Cocoa loves her elk bones and I think that helps her breath. Raw feeding has so many benefits!!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      I threw out our collection of antlers in a moment of paranoia after Buzz’s beef-bone-incident. I’m pretty sure though that they would be just fine chewing on them again – they never had any issues with those. Good job for brushing those pearlies, Miss Cocoa!!

  4. Elaine Avatar

    It’s amazing how the raw diet is keeping Buzz and Missy’s breath fresh and their teeth clean, that’s awesome! Haley loves getting meaty bones from our favorite local grocery store. I remember the butcher’s expression the first time we asked for them, he was so confused about why anyone would want those bones, haha! Luckily, not too many people feed raw bones around here so there’s very little competition for them and we always get them for free. 🙂

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      I LOVE that you give Haley meaty bones – so awesome! And how amazing that you get them for free!!! I’ll have to try finding a butcher like that 😉

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