Why Does My Jack Russell’s Breath Smell So Bad?

Why Does My Jack Russell’s Breath Smell So Bad?

My Jack Russell often jumps up on the bed to say hello to me, especially after I wake up in the morning. I enjoy this, and so does he.

But when he gets close to me I can, unfortunately, smell his breath which tends to smell bad sometimes. So, I was wondering why his breath was smelling so bad, and what I could do about it.

Join me as I take a look.

Why Does My Jack Russell’s Breath Smell So Bad?

Your Jack Russell’s breath is smelling so bad because he has poor oral hygiene, which is the most common cause of bad breath in dogs. Other reasons your Jack Russell’s breath smells bad is because he has unpleasant dietary habits, or because he might be suffering from diabetes, kidney disease, or liver disease.

Let’s have a look at these possible causes in more detail.

Poor Oral Hygiene

If you don’t brush your furry friend’s teeth regularly, plaque and tartar will start to build up which leads to the development of bacteria that cause bad breath.

This can also lead to periodontal disease. Over time, too much plaque and tartar build-up can push your pup’s gums away from his teeth, and this creates new areas for the bacteria to develop. Studies have shown that over 80% of Jack Russells suffer from periodontal disease.

This can further lead to cavities and other dental problems that will ultimately cause bad breath.

Unpleasant Dietary Habits

As cute and loveable as Jack Russells are, they can be gross sometimes. They will sometimes eat their own poop or something out of the garbage bin.

This will obviously affect how their breath smells. And let me tell you, it does not smell like roses.

Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Or Liver Disease

Sometimes our pups can get ill and suffer from diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, or liver disease. This can give them bad breath.

For example, if your Jack Russell is suffering from diabetes then his bad breath will smell a bit sweet. If his breath smells like urine then he might have kidney disease, and when his breath smells really bad that he might have liver disease.

If you take good care of your Jack Russell’s teeth, and his breath still smells bad then you should consult with a vet.

How To Treat and Prevent Bad Breath

Taking good care of your pup’s teeth is vital to his health, and it keeps his breath from smelling bad. Let’s have a look at a few ways that you can treat bad breath and how you can prevent it when grooming your Jack Russell.

Brush his teeth regularly

Absolutely the most important thing to do to treat and prevent bad breath is to brush your Jack Russell’s teeth regularly. Also, remember to brush his teeth with toothpaste specifically made for dogs.

Get him chew toys

This works very well for my Jack Russell. Not only does it keep him busy, but chew toys will prevent plaque and tartar build-up.

Get him dental treats

My Jack Russell is crazy about these. You get a variety of dental treats for your furry friend which you can pick up from your local grocery store. They taste great and will help prevent plaque and tartar build-up.

Feed him a quality and balanced diet

Just like humans, if dogs don’t eat the right food then they will develop dental problems. Never feed your puppy any kind of junk food or candy, and remember that there are four key nutrients that help promote healthy development in your pup: protein, fat, calcium, and digestible carbohydrates.

Brushing your Jack Russell’s Teeth

When it comes to brushing your Jack Russell’s teeth, you will want to do this at least once a week or once every two weeks. Dogs can have the same health problems as humans when it comes to their teeth.

To ensure that your Jack Russell is healthy and happy, you’ll want to make sure that they get regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

If your dog is an adult between the ages of two and five years old, then you will want to brush their teeth at least two times a week; one time using toothpaste and the other time using water.


You will want to make sure that you use a toothbrush made for dogs. It’s a good idea to purchase brushes in bulk so you’ll always have one on hand for last-minute cleanings. You can find these at most pet stores or online.

Most commonly available dog brushes and toothpaste will make your dog’s breath smell nice and be healthier than before. If you have any concerns about your dog’s dental health, then it is best to check with the vet.


You will want to make sure that you don’t go overboard with the amount of toothpaste you are using. You will want to use a small amount at a time and clean his teeth thoroughly. Again, it is best to check with the vet before starting this cleaning routine if you have any concerns.

Make sure that you use a small amount of toothpaste on the brush and scrub their teeth. Make sure you do not put any toothpaste on the gums. Once you have done that, it is time to rinse out their mouth.


As you can see, there are a few things that can cause your Jack Russell to have bad breath.

The most common cause is poor oral hygiene. Some of us neglect to brush their pups’ teeth and this can cause dental problems which can lead to bad breath.

Other causes are unpleasant dietary habits like eating poop or items from the garbage can. Sometimes, if your pup is suffering from diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, or liver disease, then his breath might smell bad.

Always remember to brush your Jack Russell’s teeth on a regular basis and make sure to use toothpaste that was specifically developed for dogs.


  • Jan Pretorius

    Meet Jan Pretorius, the passionate dog lover and proud owner of the popular canine haven, JackRussellTerrierDog.com. Born and raised in a small town known for its love of animals, Jan’s journey into the world of dogs began at a young age, fueled by an innate connection with our four-legged companions.