Do you find yourself tearing up because your dog has bad breath? Bad breath is quite common in our canine companions, especially as they age, and can be a sign of minor or severe health problems. Here, our Wisconsin Dells vets explain what might be causing your dog's bad breath and how you can help to treat and prevent it in the future.
What Causes Bad Breath in Dogs?
There is a reason 'dog breath' is such a common saying when describing something a little off-putting. While it's perfectly normal for your pup to have some smell on their breath from eating, playing with toys and just living their daily lives, the smell will surely increase if the proper measures are not taken.
While you may be tempted to assume that your dog's bad breath will go away on its own, more often than not the stink in your dog's bad breath is actually a sign of an underlying health issue whether it is mild or severe. There are a number of possible causes that could cause a dog to have bad breath, the most common being oral health issues, and kidney or liver disease. If you think your furry friend could have any of the medical conditions below, contact a vet immediately.
Oral Health Issues
The most common cause of bad breath in dogs, oral health issues is an umbrella term including health issues ranging from tooth decay to gum disease and oral infections. Regardless of the precise cause, bacteria and food debris build up over time in your pooch's mouth if not regularly cleaned away, creating plaque and a 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.
If your pup's bad breath smells like feces or urine, it may be a sign of kidney issues as long as you are certain your dog hasn't eaten one of the two (which is a whole other issue).
If your dog's kidneys aren't working properly to filter and process toxins and waste materials, their buildup in their body may be contributing to the bad smell of their breath in addition to putting your dog's health at risk.
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.
Why Your Dog Needs Routine Professional Cleanings
The reason why your dog has bad breath will largely influence the kind of treatment they will require. Since bad breath is a sign of an underlying health condition rather than a health problem itself, it should dissipate once the underlying problem is successfully treated with a professional Exam and cleaning.
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.
Treatments at your vets can range from prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies and even surgeries to help treat 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 underlying your pup's bad breath.
How Can I Treat My Dog's Stinky Breath at Home?
While you aren't able to treat kidney or liver disease at home, one way you can help to treat or 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.
In a perfect world, you should brush your dog's teeth every day, although it isn't very realistic. Try brushing their teeth as often as possible (especially when they're young pups) to help them get used to the experience of tooth brushing.
Either in addition to this or if you aren't able to train your pup to tolerate brushing, instead of brushing, there are also a wide variety of dental chews and dog food designed to promote oral health available.
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.