Why Does My Boston Terrier’s Breath Smell So Bad? Do This

We all know that moment when our Boston breathes hot, stinky air directly into our faces!

While we love our sweet canine friends, bad breath is both unpleasant and a nuisance.

Why Does My Boston Terrier’s Breath Smell So Bad? Do This

In this article, we will explore the 6 reasons why your Boston Terrier has bad breath. We will also discuss ways to 5 ways to improve bad breath.

My Boston’s Breath Smells Awful. What Could Be the Cause?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be caused by many different issues. The most common cause of bad breath is dental disease. In addition to dental disease, bad breath can also be caused by underlying diseases.

Let’s first walk through how you might differentiate the cause of bad breath, and then discuss what you should do next.

Why Does My Boston Terrier’s Breath Smell So Bad? Do This

6 Reasons For Bad Breath In Boston Terriers

A wide variety of issues can cause bad breath. This list will discuss 6 of the most common causes of bad breath in Boston Terriers.

1. Dental Disease

The most common cause of bad breath in Bostons is dental disease, also known as periodontal disease. Dental disease occurs when there is inflammation or irritation around the teeth.

Just like people, dogs can get plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth.

When food particles and bacteria combine on your Boston’s teeth, plaque is formed. Over time, if plaque is not removed by daily teeth brushing, it begins to build up into tartar. Tartar will typically look yellow or brown and cover the outside surface of the teeth, especially around the gumline.

Plaque and tartar around the gumline lead to gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. If left unchecked, the gumline will start to recede, and the disease will spread deeper around the tooth. 

Eventually, severe forms of dental disease can result in severe tooth infections with pus, tooth abscesses, loose teeth, and even tooth loss.

Your Boston May Be At Higher Risk Of Dental Disease

Dental disease is extremely common in dogs and is one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases.

According to the Veterinary Centers of America, 80% of dogs over the age of three years old have active dental disease.

Boston Terriers may be at a higher risk for dental disease because they may have teeth crowding due to their flatter faces. Teeth crowding results in more opportunities for food particles to get stuck and tartar to form.

Dental disease occurs in almost every dog, and the key to preventing severe dental disease is regular dental care. 

Later in this article, we will review how to best care for your Boston’s teeth.

Why Does My Boston Terrier’s Breath Smell So Bad? Do This

2. Bad Eating Habits

Another common cause for bad breath in Bostons is bad eating habits. Dogs are notorious for getting into the trash, eating their own poop, or sneaking a snack from the cat litter box.

Naturally, when dogs eat something stinky, their breath can also become stinky.

When trying to figure out what is causing the bad breath in your dog, ensure that your dog isn’t having any of these bad eating habits, and correct them if you notice them.

How Do I Get My Boston Terrier To Stop Eating Their Own Poop?

My main recommendation is to quickly pick up the stool with a disposable poop bag before your Boston has the opportunity to eat the poop. 

There are some products on the market like For-Bid Stool Eating Preventative that can be mixed within the food to make the stool taste bad. I have had mixed results with these products, and it works great for some dogs and not at all for other dogs.

Go to Amazon to look at pricing, reviews, or to purchase For-Bid Stool here, For-Bid Stool Eating Preventative.

Why Does My Boston Terrier’s Breath Smell So Bad? Do This

3. Kidney Disease

If your Boston’s breath smells like ammonia or urine, this could be a sign that your pet has kidney disease.

Uremia occurs because the kidneys are unable to filter like normal, so high levels of certain toxic substances build up in the blood. This can cause foul breath that smells like urine.

Other signs your Boston may have kidney disease include:

  • Drinking A Lot Of Water
  • Peeing Excessively
  • Losing Weight
  • Not Wanting To Eat Much

If you suspect your Boston has kidney disease, you should speak with a veterinarian as soon as possible to discuss potential treatment options.

4. Diabetes

Does your Boston’s breath smell sweet or fruity?

Diabetes can occasionally result in breath that smells fruity or sweet. Sweet-smelling breath is a serious symptom that indicates you should call your veterinarian right away.

Other signs that may indicate your Boston has diabetes include:

  • Drinking Excessive Amounts Of Water
  • Peeing A Lot
  • Lethargy

Do you think your Boston Terrier might have diabetes? Read this article here on the Boston Terrier Society, 10 Signs Your Boston Terrier May Have Diabetes.

Why Does My Boston Terrier’s Breath Smell So Bad? Do This

5. Cancer

Certain mouth and throat cancers can result in foul-smelling breath. If you have noticed any abnormal growths in your Boston’s mouth, this could be a sign of cancer.

If you notice regular bad breath, you may consider having your pet checked out by a veterinarian to rule out cancer especially if your Boston is older than 7 years old.

Do you think your Boston Terrier has cancer? Read this article here on the Boston Terrier Society, 7 Signs Of Cancer In Boston Terriers.

puppy breath

6. Puppy Breath

Almost all puppies have characteristically sweet and somewhat stinky breath. It is suspected that puppy breath is caused by normal bacteria present in the mouth at this age.

Is It Normal for Puppies to Have Bad Breath?

Yes, it is normal for puppies to have “puppy breath”. This sweet and stinky puppy breath occurs in almost all puppies that I examine at the veterinary clinic.

How To Fix Bad Breath In Boston Terriers

There are a wide variety of reasons your Boston may have bad breath. Most commonly, dental disease is the culprit. These five suggestions offer potential solutions to improving your Boston’s bad breath.

1. Have Your Boston Examined By A Veterinarian

Because there are many different causes of bad breath, one of the first steps to fixing bad breath in Bostons is to consult with a veterinarian. 

There could be an underlying reason for the bad breath that could be corrected.

Working in collaboration with your veterinarian, you can determine the best approach to fixing your Boston’s bad breath.

boston terrier examined

2. Veterinary Dental Cleanings

If your veterinarian determines that your Boston has dental disease causing the bad breath, one of the best treatments is regular dental cleanings. Brushing and dental treats will not work if there is already tartar buildup, and professional cleaning must be performed first.

Dental cleanings should be performed under anesthesia by a licensed veterinarian so the cracks and crevices of every tooth can be thoroughly cleaned.

Dental cleanings may need to be performed as frequently as every 6 months for dogs with severe dental disease. Some Bostons can go longer between cleanings, up to every 2 years, if you are doing other at-home oral hygiene for your pet such as daily teeth brushing.

Your veterinarian should examine your Boston’s teeth yearly to determine how frequently they need professional dental cleanings.

Video Explanation Of Boston Terrier Dental Cleanings

In this video, Donnie the founder of Boston Terrier Society discusses his experience with having Bella’s (his Boston) teeth professionally cleaned for the first time. As well as covering ways to save money with this procedure.

Why you should have your Boston’s teeth professionally cleaned.

3. Brush Your Boston’s Teeth Daily

One of the most effective ways to combat bad breath in Bostons is to brush their teeth daily. 

Brushing will remove any food particles and plaque that has built up over the past day and help to reduce the speed of tartar build-up.

How To Brush Your Boston Terrier’s Teeth

Depending on your pet, brushing can be relatively easy or challenging. Some dogs are very tolerable to teeth brushing while others are resistant.

Here is a 4 step process on how to brush your Boston’s teeth.

Step 1- Safety First

The first step of teeth brushing is ensuring your own safety. If your Boston begins to growl or nip at you, you should not brush the teeth, and you should consult with your veterinarian.

Be sure that you are going slow with this process and give many treats to help encourage your Boston. 

You may start with simply letting your dog smell or taste the toothpaste, gently lifting the lip, or just brush a few of the teeth. Letting your Boston adapt to this new routine will take time.

Step 2- Use A Soft Bristled Toothbrush And Dog Toothpaste

A small children’s toothbrush with soft bristles can work well for brushing your Boston’s teeth. You could also try a finger brush or a dog-specific toothbrush.

A specially formulated toothpaste for dogs is necessary for proper safety. I recommend C.E.T. Dog Toothpaste.

Step 3- Brush The Outside Of Teeth

Gently brush the outsides of the teeth by lifting the lip. You do not need to brush the insides of the teeth because these areas do not get much tartar build-up. This process should take around 1 minute.

See these steps in action by watching this YouTube video made by Pyramid Vet Hospital.

Vet walks us through how to properly brush your dog’s teeth.
Step 4- Repeat Daily

The key to teeth brushing is to do it every day. This will help prevent tartar from building up that cannot be simply brushed away.

5. Give Veterinary Approved Dental Chews Daily

The Veterinary Oral Health Council recommends several dental treats including Greenies Dental Treats and Milk-Bone Brushing Chews.

The key to dental treats is giving them daily. By giving them less frequently, this allows the tartar to build up so they will not work appropriately.


Bad breath can be caused by many different issues, but most commonly, it is caused by dental disease. 

Professional dental cleanings, daily brushing, and dental chews can aid in fixing bad breath in Bostons.

Consult with your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan for your pet’s bad breath.


Addie Reinhard, DVM

Addie Reinhard, DVM- Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced small animal veterinarian. She is a Boston Terrier lover and always enjoys caring for her Boston patients at the veterinary clinic. She is passionate about providing helpful educational resources to pet parents regarding animal diseases and preventative care. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats.

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