Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes and Treatment
The medical term used for the description of an offensive odor from the mouth is called Halitosis. This may be due to a plethora of reasons, among which are periodontal disease (resulting from the presence of bacteria in the mouth), diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, and much more. The canine population is not exempted from halitosis; thus, pet parents with dogs should keep this at the back of their minds. Besides, bad breath in dogs will prevent you from hugging and cuddling up to your canine companion, which negates the reason you acquired the dog. However, understanding the causes of halitosis will put you in a better position to tame the stench, and enjoy those puppy kisses like before. Continue reading to find out more about bad breath in dogs, as well as the causes and treatment.
Needless to say, the major symptom of halitosis is an unbearable foul, putrid stench that emanates from your dog’s mouth. However, as a result of the fact that there are multiple causes of malodorous breath in the canine population, there are many other things you may observe about your pooch. They include:
- Puffy and swollen gums
- Blood tinged saliva
- Bleeding gums
- Sweet fruity smell and of course, the obnoxious reeking smell, which is the most common
What Causes Bad Breath In Dogs?
Many dog adopters are of the opinion that bad breath is just something associated with the canine population, and so they tend to dismiss it without looking into the root cause of the condition. But then, people who care to investigate it will possibly find a good reason behind the stench. Below are some of the common ones:
- Periodontal Disease and oral hygiene
These two are the most common causes of halitosis in dogs. Just in the same way as the human population, the accumulation of tartar and plaque can result in the development of oral bacteria, which in turn leads to bad breath. When your canine friend is not a chewer, and you fail to clean his teeth on a regular basis, then plaque that has built up over time will begin to emit an offensive odor. However, in the long run, poor oral hygiene can cause periodontal disease. When the tartar and plaque become too much, it can displace the gums, pushing them away from the teeth. By so doing, it will expose new areas that bacteria can grow on. In addition to inflaming the pup’s gums, it will lead to infections, cavities, tooth loss, tissue destruction, and sometimes pus formation. It goes without saying that it can result in a very offensive odor.
- Unpleasant dietary habit
The canine population can be quite gross, and most of the time, these habits will directly translate into bad breath. Dogs are known to get into the garbage on a regular basis or feed on decomposing remains of animals; this unsupervised snacking can result in bad breath. Generally, dogs seem to have a liking for the feline poop, thus, introducing a cat into the house may become too tempting for your pet dog to resist. In addition to being smelly, it is unhygienic as well. Apart from the cat’s poop, some members of the canine population consume their own poop, and even other dog’s poop; this condition is called coprophagia, which results in bad breath in dogs, and sometimes, their horrified owners are faced with mild nausea.
Have you noticed your dog’s breath a fruity or sweet smell in your dog’s breath? then, it is time to call the vet. Fruity sweet breath is an indication of diabetes. There are still other indications of diabetes to watch out for, like frequent urination and drinking of water. You need to book an appointment for the dog to be examined.
- Kidney disease
A pup that consumes poop is likely to have his breath smelling like poop, but in a situation where your dog emits a breath that smells like urine, it may not likely be that your canine companion has been gulping down some pee. Urine stench to your pooch’s breath might be some form of warning indicating kidney disease. This calls for an appointment with your veterinarian as kidney disease is quite serious, and may even lead to a more complicated clinical condition.
- Liver disease
You observe your pet’s breath to be stinking, and you have witnessed him vomiting, rejecting his food (loss of appetite), and is developing some yellow tinge to the gums, then there is the possibility that your pooch is having liver problems. Just in the same way as kidney problems, liver disease may be an indication of a more serious health condition, which calls for the urgent attention of the vet.
Dog Bad Breath Cure
Though it is important to understand all the underlying reasons behind stinking doggie breath, what is of utmost importance is to know the best way to get rid of the condition. The cure for bad breath is not dependent on the cause; however, there are a few workable treatment options.
- If your pooch’s bad breath happens to be the type that is caused by tartar, plaque, or periodontal disease, then all you need to do is to book an appointment with the vet to see if your pet needs a dental clean. To ensure that your pup can cope with anesthesia, the vet will have to run blood work. You should take advantage of this kind of opportunity to rule out any other likely causes for the dog’s malodorous breath. While on the cleaning, there might be a need for the vet to get rid of damaged or loose teeth, but this is dependent on the extent the periodontal disease has gone.
- Talking about unsupervised snacking, protecting the household trash can, and restricting your pet’s access to unpalatable outdoor finds in the form of roadkill will take care of the issue. To stop your dog from consuming cat poop, then you need to keep the litter box outside of his reach. But a situation where the cat is pooping outside can be helped by cleaning up immediately after; this can take care of coprophagia.
- Other conditions like kidney, diabetes, and liver problems call for the attention of the vet who knows the best method to apply in treating such cases. Once you succeed in resolving the underlying issues that are giving rise to stinking breath in your pooch, the bad breath will naturally cease
The Prevention Of Malodorous Breath In Dogs
- The simplest and easiest way to prevent stinking breath in the canine population is through observing regular oral hygiene like brushing your dog’s teeth from time to time; this will reduce accumulated plaques, and makes for the promotion of better oral hygiene. Some pet parents have complained that attempting to brush their pooch’s teeth is a huge task, as many dogs are naturally averse to teeth brushing; however, a little training can do the trick, and your pup will enjoy having his teeth cleaned on a regular basis. If you can’t do it daily, weekly brushing can still suffice.
- On the other hand, a dog that has access to plenty of chewy toys will be better equipped to take care of his teeth naturally. Chewing reduces the accumulation of tartar and plaque, in addition to relieving boredom. Do well in keeping your canine friend’s teeth healthy and ensure that you only choose the chew toys that are suitable for your pet’s age as well as size.
- According to findings, smaller breeds of dogs are likely to need more dental care relative to the larger breeds, since they are more predisposed to periodontal disease. The reason behind this conclusion is that smaller breeds have their teeth arranged closely together – this only promotes tartar and plaque accumulation. So, be sure to let them have access to more chewy toys from their puppy stage, and commence oral hygiene immediately you bring in a small breed.
- The importance of quality balanced diet cannot be overemphasized in the canine population, besides, giving your pooch plenty of exercises, and taking him on a regular visit to the vet for check-ups can prevent the occurrence of systemic disorders in the form of diabetes. In addition, taking care of the health of your dog can prevent many other health problems, and can aid the vet in picking up the underlying cause of your pooch’s malodorous breath before it becomes complicated.
- Apart from canine toothpaste, a plethora of other oral health products exist – this includes the likes of dental chews, special oral health diets, as well as water activities. You are free to seek your vet’s advice on any of these products.
- You can also prevent your canine companion from having bad breath by booking an appointment with the vet to talk about the likely causes of your dog’s bad breath as well as treatment options. Just in the same way with most health conditions, prevention is better than cure, so, get a hold of that tube of canine toothpaste, and get to work brushing your pet dog’s teeth once daily to avoid oral decay.