When you own a dog there are many things that you get with the dog such as lifelong love and companionship. Something else you may get with your companion is dog breath. Here, our Somerset vets discuss the possible causes of your dog's bad breath and some possible ways to treat and prevent it.
Why does bad breath happen in dogs?
There is a reason 'dog breath' is such a common saying when describing something a little offputting, and that is that often our dogs have a little bit of bad breath. While it's perfectly normal for your pup to have some smell on their breath from eating, playing with toys and just generally living their lives, this smell can sometimes grow into a stink that repels all but the bravest pup parents.
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.
Kidney Disease in Dogs
If your dog has recently eaten feces then their breath may smell like poop which is an issue that should be addressed while that same smell may also potentially be caused by 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 on top of harming your dog's health!
Liver Disease in Dogs
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.
Oral Health Issues in Dogs
Some of the most common symptoms of bad breath in dogs are oral conditions such as tooth decay, 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 you are noticing that your dog's breath is starting to smell then there is a good chance that your pup may be experiencing the early signs of an oral condition. Although if they are left unchecked, the smell will become much stronger and your pet's oral health and wellbeing will continue to decline.
Diagnosing Bad Breath in Dogs
The underlying cause of the bad breath will be the determining factor in what type of treatment your dog should receive. 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.
If you ever happen to discover that the smell of your dog's breath is changing then it is important to bring your dog in to be assessed as changes are usually indicative of oral conditions. 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 with your Somerset vet 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 To Treat My Dog's Bad Breath?
While there will be some serious conditions that cannot be treated at home there are some things you can do to prevent the symptoms of bad breath, one way you can help to treat or prevent bad breath in your dog is by ensuring your pup gets the routine oral hygiene care they need every day in addition to annual professional dental cleanings.
Brushing your dog's teeth every day starting as early in their life as possible is a great way to help avoid potential concerns later on down the road.
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.