Few dogs have pleasant, minty fresh breath.
Foul breath however is also not a normal state that must simply be tolerated.
Just like people, bad dentition, broken or rotting teeth, sore and damaged gums and other dental problems are the most common causes of bad breath in dogs.
This is not the only cause of bad breath but it is certainly the first one that needs to be ruled out.
To follow are 7 of the most common causes of bad breath in dogs, and how to deal with them.
Halitosis in dogs is not normal
Allowing your dog’s bad breath to go unchecked is doing your dog a disservice. It can be dangerous and may contribute or cause more serious problems.
Up close, your dog’s breath may smell slightly of their food or whatever they ate last – but not foul or very strong. You should not be able to smell it from more than a few centimeters away.
If your dog’s bad breath is noticeable just by patting them, or if their coat also smells horrible after they have groomed themselves, you have a problem. Do not ignore it!
1. Dental problems
The most common cause of bad breath is poor dentition. This is not acceptable or normal! Ideally, it is wise to get your dog used to teeth brushing a couple of times a week while they are still young.
Dogs that have not had good dental care will start showing signs of tooth decay and sore gums by the time they reach seven or eight years old. At this stage your vet will usually recommend a sedated dental procedure, to allow them to deep clean the teeth and deal with any problems.
This should sort out the halitosis problem!
A dog that is not drinking enough water will develop bad breath too.
Dehydration is the second most common cause of halitosis in dogs.
If your dog’s breath is sometimes pretty bad, not related to something that they just ate and tends to come and go, make sure that they are drinking enough.
3. Foul food
Dogs rarely worry about what they eat. They often scavenge when out walking and pick up all manner or nasty things such as roadkill, poop from other animals and other unpalatable offerings!
If your dog has eaten something nasty, their breath may smell bad afterwards for some hours longer while it works its way through their system!
4. A poor quality diet
If your dog’s diet is not the right fit for them or is not of a good quality, this can affect their breath too.
This is not restricted to when they have just eaten, but while the food is working its way through their system too.
Changing to a better quality food or something more appropriate for your dog will usually resolve the problem within a week or two.
5. Food allergies
Food allergies and intolerances in dogs can cause bad breath. These allergies will irritate the stomach and may lead to diarrhoea, stomach upsets and other issues with the digestive tract.
Anything that is not quite right with the dog’s digestive tract can cause bad breath. If you see indications of a potential sensitivity or problem with your dog food, you may need to make adjustments.
Feeding your dog a food suit their sensitivities is the answer. Your dog’s breath should improve within a week or two once again.
Undiagnosed diabetes is something that can cause an unusual smell to the dog’s breath, which may be very strong.
This is due to a process called ketosis, which occurs when the body is unable to convert food into energy, due to a deficiency of insulin.
In its place, the body will begin to burn its own fat stores, which of course leads to weight loss, and the signature smell that comes with it.
The smell of ketosis breath is usually rather sweet with a tinge of decay, like rotting fruit, but can vary from case to case.
Getting a proper diagnosis for your dog and beginning a management regime will soon resolve the issue and the associated health problems that diabetes can cause.
7. Other health issues
Anything that causes a stomach upset or problem in the digestive tract can lead to halitosis. However, other health conditions that can lead to bad breath too.
Bad breath may be an important diagnostic tool for your vet, so do not ignore it!
Kidney and liver conditions are just a couple of things that can change the smell of your dog’s breath, so if you cannot work out why your dog’s breath is bad, please ask your vet to give them a check-up and maybe run some tests.
If your vet has given a clean bill of health but you still have a bad breath issue, PlaqueOff Animal can help sort it out. Once taking PlaqueOff animal, bad breath should be a thing of the past between one and three weeks.
Not only does it help to get rid of the bad breath issue, but it reverses and removes tartar and plaque build up. Learn more about Vets recommend PlaqueOff Animal every time