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Why does my dog's breath smell so bad?

Stinky dog breath is a common occurrence but can be a sign of health issues. Today, our Perry vets why dogs have bad breath and how you can help to treat and prevent it.

Bad Breath in Dogs

The term ‘dog breath’ refers to something with an unpleasant odor, used because dogs sometimes have some bad breath. While it is normal for your dog to have a slight odor on their breath from eating, playing with toys, and simply living their lives, this odor can occasionally become so offensive that it repels all but the most daring dog owners.

What causes bad breath in dogs?

While you may be tempted to ignore the smell, more often than not, your dog's bad breath is a symptom of a larger health problem. There are several possible causes for your dog's bad breath, the most common of which are kidney disease, liver disease, and oral health issues.

Oral Health Issues

Oral health problems are the most common cause of bad breath in dogs. This umbrella term includes tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. Regardless of the exact cause, bacteria and food particles will accumulate in your dog's mouth if not cleaned on a regular basis, resulting in plaque and a persistent odor. 

If your dog's breath smells bad, it is most likely due to a developing oral health problem. If not treated, the odor will worsen, as will your pet's oral health and well-being.

To ensure your dog's bad breath is not due to poor oral hygiene, take care of your pet's oral health and take them to the vet for regular professional dental cleanings.

Kidney Disease

If your dog’s bad breath smells like feces or urine, it can be a sign that they have recently eaten poop (which is a whole other problem), but may also be a symptom of kidney issues. 

If your dog's kidneys aren't functioning properly to filter and process toxins and waste, the buildup in the dog's body may be causing bad breath in addition to harming the dog's health.

Liver Disease

If your dog has recently developed extremely foul breath that is accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, he or she may be suffering from a liver disease. 

Treating Bad Breath in Dogs

The course of treatment for your dog's foul breath will depend on the underlying cause. Since foul breath is more of a symptom than a real health issue, it should go away after the root cause is taken care of.

You shouldn't automatically assume that a change in your dog's breath smell is normal. Since there are a number of potentially life-threatening reasons why your dog is showing signs of foul breath, it is imperative that you take him or her to the vet without delay for an evaluation. 

Depending on the severity of your pet's condition, your veterinarian may recommend a course of treatment that includes medication, a special diet, therapy, or even surgery.

Considering that bad breath is a symptom of an underlying issue most of the time, at-home remedies aren’t recommended. However, regularly brush your dog's teeth with dog-specific toothpaste and provide dental chews or toys can at least help with their oral health.

Home Treatment for Bad Breath 

You can help alleviate or prevent bad breath in your dog by providing daily oral hygiene care and regular professional dental cleanings.

Brush your dog's teeth on a daily basis, and acclimate your puppy to the sensation while they are still young. There is a large selection of dental chews and dog food designed to promote oral health, so you don't have to brush your puppy's teeth if he won't tolerate it.

Consult your veterinarian about how to improve your dog's oral health and prevent bad breath.

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.

Have you noticed your dog's breath getting increasingly worse? Contact our Perry vets to book an examination for your pup.

New Patients Welcome

Looking for quality veterinary care in a warm and friendly atmosphere? Westmoreland & Slappey Animal Hospital in Perry, GA is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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