Do you resist kisses from your dog or apologize for the smell of the breath? Bad breath can be pretty common in our pooches and can be a sign of serious health issues. Here, Johns Creek vets explain what may be at the root cause of your dog's bad breath and how can help to prevent it or treat it when it does arise.
What Causes Bad Breath in Dogs?
Dog breath is a common saying when describing someone's bad breath for a reason. Pups often have bad breath especially as they age. While it's quite normal for your canine companion to have different smells on their breath sending on what they've recently eaten or what toys they've been playing with, but their breath can become stinky enough to repel all but the bravest dog owners.
And while you may be tempted to just grin and bear the smell, more often than not the stink in your dog's bad breath is actually a sign of an underlying health issue that is causing the smell. There are a number of different possible causes of bad breath in your dog, but the most common 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 umbrella term includes health problems from significant tartar building and tooth decay to oral infections or gum disease. Regardless of the exact cause, the smell of your pet's breath comes from bacteria and food debris that build up over time in their mouth unless regularly cleaned away, creating plaque and the persistent smell.
If your dog's breath smells a little bit, it is likely caused by emerging oral health issues. Although if they are left unchecked, the smell will become much stronger and your pet's oral health and wellbeing will continue to decline.
Bad breath that smells like urine or feces can either be a sign that your dog has recently eaten poop (which is something worth looking into on its own) or can be a symptom of health issues affecting your pet's kidneys.
If your dog's kidneys aren't working properly to filter and process toxins and waste materials, their buildup in the pup's body may be contributing to the bad smell of their breath on top of harming your dog's health!
If your dog has recently developed seriously bad breath and their new scent is accompanied by concerning symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, they may have liver disease at the root cause of their symptoms.
How to Treat Bad Breath in Dogs?
The kind of treatment your dog will require for their bad breath is primarily influenced by the root cause. Since bad breath in dogs is the sign of some other underlying health issue rather than a health problem itself, the stink should fade after your pet's health issue is successfully resolved.
That being said, whenever you notice a change in the smell of your dog's breath you shouldn't assume its cause or that it is normal. Bring your pup to your vet as soon as possible for examination and diagnosis, since a number of causes of bad breath can be very serious health issues.
Your vet will be able to offer treatment ranging from therapies and prescription medications or diets to surgical procedures depending on the root cause of your pet's bad breath and the part of their body it affects. Your vet will be able to recommend the best course of treatment based on their diagnosis of the cause of your pet's bad breath.
What Can I Do To Treat My Dog's Stinky Breath?
There are a few things you can do as a pup parent while at home to help prevent your pet from developing bad breath by helping to prevent the underlying conditions that cause it.
One way you can prevent bad breath in your dog is ensuring your pup gets the routine oral hygiene care they need every day in addition to annual professional dental cleanings.
You should brush your dog's teeth every day, spending the time when they are young to help them get used to the experience of tooth brushing. There are also a wide variety of dental chews and dog foods designed to promote oral health that is available to you.
Ask your vet what kinds of oral health products they recommend for helping your dog to stave off bad breath.
When it comes to preventing 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.
Some human medications, common houseplants and foods that are safe for our consumption are actually quite toxic for our pets. Make sure you are aware of what kinds of 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.