Our dogs can develop some bad breath from time to time, but there are many possible causes. Here, our Oakland vets discuss why your dog may have bad breath, and what you can do to help.
Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs
All dogs typically have some smell on their breath as their mouth is in constant contact with their environment, whether it is their food, toys, or anything else. But while we use the term "dog breath" lightheartedly, it can be anything but that when a slight smell turns into an unbearable stench.
While you might be inclined to put up with the smell, it's a very good idea to look into the cause further as it could very well be a sign of an underlying health condition. There could be any number of possible causes of bad breath in your dog, but some of the most common conditions that cause bad breath are kidney disease, liver disease, and oral health issues.
Oral Health Issues
Oral health issues are the most common cause of bad breath in dogs. This can include various oral health issues ranging from tooth decay to gum disease and oral infections. Bacteria and food debris can eventually build up in your pup's mouth creating plaque and a persistent smell if you are not routinely cleaning your dog's teeth.
If you have been noticing that your dog's breath smells a little bit, it is most likely due to emerging oral health issues. These issues, if they are left unchecked, will cause the smell to become much stronger and your pet's oral health and well-being will continue to decline.
If your dog has recently developed concerning symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea accompanied by seriously bad breath, they may have a liver disease at the root cause of their symptoms.
If your dog is battling kidney disease then your dog's breath may smell like feces or urine. Although there is a chance that it may just be a sign that they have recently eaten poop (which has its own concerns that should be addressed), it is always best to consult with your vet to be absolutely sure of which issue it is you should be tackling.
It is important to have your pup correctly and quickly diagnosed as your dog's kidneys are necessary to filter and process toxins and waste materials from your pup's body and if they aren't working properly it may be contributing to the bad smell of their breath on top of harming your dog's health!
Treating Bad Breath in Dogs
Your dog's treatment will depend on the cause of their bad breath. Since bad breath is only a symptom of an underlying health condition, it should return to normal once your dog has been evaluated and treated appropriately for the condition.
Anytime you happen to notice a change in the smell of your dog's breath it is something that should be evaluated. Book an appointment with your vet to see your pup as soon as possible for examination and diagnosis. Bad breath can be caused by many conditions which can cause very serious health issues.
Once diagnosed, your vet may offer treatments for your dog that can range from prescription medications and diets, therapies, and even surgeries for your pet's condition depending on what part of their body it affects and its severity. Your vet will be able to advise you on what the best course of treatment is for the health issue that is causing your pup's bad breath.
Preventing Bad Breath in Dogs
Kidney disease may not have an at-home treatment but one way you can help to treat or prevent bad breath in your dog is by ensuring routine oral hygiene care they need every day while at home in addition to regular professional dental cleanings.
Your dog's oral health will benefit greatly from daily brushing. It will be easiest if you make it a part of their routine from the time you bring them home as a puppy.
If you are unable to brush your dog's teeth or as a supplement to the daily brushing, there are also a wide variety of dental chews and dog food designed to promote oral health available.
Your vet would also be able to recommend a wide range of oral health products for helping your dog to stave off bad breath.
To prevent internal organ failure or disease affecting your dog's liver or kidneys, there are also a couple of easy measures you can take to help your pup avoid these causes of bad breath.
There are some human medications, common houseplants, and foods that are safe for our consumption but are quite toxic for our pets. Take the time to make yourself aware of which substances you have in your home that could cause organ disease or failure in your pooch and keep them out of reach as much as possible.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.