Home Dogs Why Does Puppy Breath Smell Like Coffee?

Why Does Puppy Breath Smell Like Coffee?

by Lucy

Adopting a pet is always exciting, and nothing beats bringing home a playful new puppy! Raising and loving a puppy can be challenging, but it is undoubtedly an enriching experience. Watching a dog flourish and grow up in your care is altogether a reward in itself.

Pet parents love everything about their tiny furry family members, but many have been confused by their pets’ strange behaviors and traits as well. One common question new puppy parents often find themselves asking is:

Why does puppy breath smell like coffee? The puppy breath scent is the result of drinking their mother’s milk. No, it doesn’t have the same smell as fresh coffee, but the naturally occurring bacteria on your puppy’s tongue feeds on the amino acids present in the milk and gives off this scent.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the subject of puppy breath and why it smells like your puppy’s been sneaking Starbucks on the sly.

What Is Puppy Breath?

Before going into why your pup’s breath smells in a particular way, let’s look into what “puppy breath” is. Puppy breath is a term used to describe the way your puppy’s mouth smells when it is very young.

Puppy breath disappears between 4-6 months of age. The scent is described as being somewhat surprisingly sweet and coffee-like. Basically, it won’t smell bad or fishy like a grown dog’s breath.

If you have a young pup with a reeking breath, it is an obvious sign of an underlying health problem.  

What Causes Puppy Breath?

It’s natural for your puppy’s mouth to smell this way. Your mouth will smell good or bad depending on how healthy you are, how well you keep up with your hygiene, or what you’ve had to eat recently. So it is with your puppy too.

There are many reasons why your puppy’s breath may smell good or bad. Your little friend should have puppy breath that smells kind of like coffee. It is generally a sweet smell that people who spend a lot of time with puppies recognize instantly.

The scent is the result of drinking their mother’s milk. No, it doesn’t have the same aroma as fresh coffee. But, when your puppy drinks its mommy’s milk, the naturally occurring bacteria from their tongue feeds on the amino acids present in the milk and gives off this distinct and somewhat pleasant scent.

What Causes A Puppy’s Breath To Stink?

When your pup starts teething, their breath will change. The growth and formation of the teeth will give your dog a metallic scent. When your puppy is teething, the gums bleed. Don’t start freaking out though; it’s a natural phenomenon. But, the blood from the gums leaves behind a hint of iron due to the bacteria in the mouth. That’s what gives off the scent of metal.

Moreover, if your puppy’s mouth starts to have solids, like chicken or even kibble, puppy breath might turn pungent. It may be that your puppy cannot digest the food it is consuming or is getting a low-nutrition diet.

An upset stomach or unbalanced diet will create a disagreeable odor to develop in your puppy’s mouth. Furthermore, plaque buildup or poor oral hygiene will also give your newest family member foul breath.

Unfortunately, unpleasant puppy breath is also a sign of tooth abscess, mouth ulcers, stomach ulcers, or a mouth infection. Sometimes smelly puppy breath might signify respiratory infections as well.

What Should You Do If Your Puppy’s Breath Stinks?

It is always a good idea to be as careful as possible about your pet’s diet. Dogs are far from discerning eaters. Your puppy will eat whatever you put before it. But, feeding your puppy unhealthy food such as table scraps or human food, particularly junk food, is never recommended. So, the first thing to do to ensure that your dog is healthy is to feed it only wholesome and nutritious foods.

A trip to the vet is always recommended to make sure all is well. Puppies have delicate constitutions. If you suspect that your puppy may be suffering from an underlying ailment, don’t wait for more severe symptoms to present themselves.

If you don’t want to run to the vet every time your puppy sneezes or coughs, then you can mention your puppy’s breath to your vet when you go in for a routine visit. 


Having a pet in your life is one of the very best adventures this life has to offer. But, being a pet parent means going the extra mile looking after your pet. So, you need to be careful that your pup has the extra love and attention it needs to live a long and happy life. 

Up Next: Why Are My Dog’s Paws Pink And Black?

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