Dogs commonly experience bad breath, which could indicate underlying health issues. In this blog, our veterinarians at Diamond Bar break down the potential causes of your dog's bad breath and provide practical steps for treatment and prevention.
Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs
Our dogs often have bad breath, leading to the term "dog breath" for an unpleasant smell. While it's normal for your pup to have some odor from eating, playing, and living their lives, this smell can escalate into a stench that repels all but the bravest pup parents.
Rather than just tolerating the smell, it's crucial to recognize that the stink in your dog's bad breath often indicates an underlying health issue. Bad breath in your dog can stem from various causes, with the most common being kidney disease, liver disease, and oral health problems.
Oral Health Issues
Dogs most commonly suffer from bad breath due to oral health issues, a term encompassing problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. Regardless of the specific cause, bacteria and food debris accumulate in your dog's mouth over time if not regularly cleaned, leading to plaque and a persistent odor.
If your dog's breath has a slight smell, it likely indicates emerging oral health issues. However, the odor will intensify if left unaddressed, and your pet's oral health and overall well-being will deteriorate.
To ensure your dog's bad breath is not a result of poor oral hygiene, actively maintain their oral health and schedule regular professional dental cleanings at the vet.
If your pup's bad breath smells like feces or urine, it can be a sign that they have recently eaten poop (which is a whole other issue), but may also be a symptom of kidney issues.
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 and 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 a liver disease at the root cause of their symptoms.
Treating Bad Breath in Dogs
Your dog's bad breath indicates an underlying health condition, shaping the necessary treatment. Addressing the root cause is crucial, as bad breath itself is a symptom rather than an isolated problem. Once the underlying issue is effectively treated, the bad breath should subside.
Don't assume the cause or dismiss the change in your dog's breath as normal. Promptly take your pup to the vet for examination and diagnosis. Bad breath can signal serious health issues, and swift action is essential.
Depending on the affected body part and severity, your vet may recommend various treatments, including prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies, or surgeries. Rely on your vet's guidance to determine the most effective course of treatment for the underlying health issue causing your pup's bad breath.
Home Treatment for Bad Breath
Although you can't address kidney or liver disease at home, you can actively contribute to treating and preventing bad breath in your dog. Ensure your pup receives daily oral hygiene care and schedule annual professional dental cleanings.
Take charge by brushing your dog's teeth every day, especially when they are young, to acclimate them to the toothbrushing experience. If your pup resists brushing, consider using dental chews or specialized dog food designed to promote oral health.
Consult your vet for recommendations on oral health products to combat bad breath in your dog.
In addition to oral care, take proactive measures to prevent internal organ failure or disease in your dog's liver or kidneys. Identify and eliminate potential hazards in your home, such as certain human medications, common houseplants, and pet-toxic foods. Be aware of substances that could lead to organ disease or failure, and keep them out of your pup's 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.