Do you recoil from your pup when they get close for a cuddle or find yourself apologizing for their smell to others? Bad breath is very common in dogs—especially as they age—and can actually be a sign of serious health issues in your pooch. Here, our Torrance vets explain what causes your dog's bad breath and how to prevent and treat it.
Why Does My Dog's Breath Smell So Bad?
There is a reason that stinky "dog breath" is a saying when referring to someone having bad breath. Often dogs will have a bit of bad breath. While it's perfectly normal for your pup to have their breath smell a bit from playing in the dirt, eating or chewing on toys, there is a difference between a smell and what can become a repellant stink!
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 reasons why dogs have bad breath, but the most common are kidney disease, liver disease and oral health issues.
If your dog's bad breath smells like urine or feces, it may be a sign to you that they have recently consumed poop (which is a behavior worth looking into) or a symptoms of kidney disease.
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 a serious case of bad breath alongside symptoms like persistent vomiting and diarrhea, they may have liver disease as the root cause of their unpleasant symptoms.
Oral Health Issues
Far and away the most common cause of bad breath in dogs, oral health issues is a wide umbrella term that ranges from decays teeth to oral infections and gum disease. Regardless of the precise oral health issue at play in your pup's mouth, bacteria and food debris will build up over time in the oral cavity unless they are cleaned regularly, creating plaque and causing af bad 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.
How to Treat Bad Breath in Dogs?
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.
All of that being said, whenever you notice and change in the scent of your dog's breath you shouldn't assume its cause or that it's perfectly normal. Bring your dog into the vet as soon as possible for examination and diagnosis. Many causes of bad breath can actually be quite serious and require immediate veterinary attention.
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.
What Can I Do To Treat My Dog's Stinky Breath?
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.
You should brush your pup's teeth every day, spending time when they are young to help them get used to the experience of having their teeth brushed.
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 disease affecting your dog's liver or kidneys and internal organ failure, there are also a number of relatively easy measures you can take to help your pup mitigate the chances of these conditions arising.
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.