If you are a dog owner, you will have experienced being on the receiving end of your dog’s bad breath at some point in time.
Bad breath is a common condition that can make getting close to your dog an awkward and off-putting encounter. A chronic foul odor, however, can be a sign of serious illness, such as a potential infection or damage in the mouth cavity or other internal organs.
Like us, you can easily tell whether your dog has fresh or bad breath when he comes closer and wants to kiss you.
A fresh and healthy breath does not smell foul, putrid, or stinky. A healthy dog with no internal diseases and infection will smell good and you won’t be off-put.
In this article, we will look at the connection between smelly breath and diseases, common causes of bad breath, their interaction with diet, available treatments, and preventive options.
Let’s learn about how to fix bad breath in your dog for good!
Causes of Bad Breath
There are many causes of having bad breath in your dog. Some of them are harmless and usually occur when your dog eats poop of his own or another animal (yes, unfortunately, they tend to do this) but it is, at least, temporary.
But other causes might be a sign of chronic illness in your dog, ranging from oral infection to kidney disease. If your pet dog is suffering from bad breath, it’s more likely because of the following reasons.
Poor Oral Hygiene
This is known as the most common cause of bad breath (halitosis) in dogs.
Poor dental hygiene favors the build-up of bacteria on your dog’s teeth, called plaque. This plaque promotes the growth of bad bacteria that produces foul odors, resulting in bad breath.
If left unremoved, this plaque and tartar lead to several dental health complications such as cavities, gum infections or gingivitis, tooth loss, and periodontal disease.
Unpleasant Dietary Habit
A dog’s dietary habits can also be responsible for its bad breath.
Dogs that regularly eat garbage or other non-approved substances, such as decomposing animal remains, will produce an undesirable breath smell.
If you also have a pet cat, make sure your dog does not have access to the kitty litter box. Some dogs may like to sneak in a little snack even though it’s against their best intentions. Cat poop is not only smelly but also unhygienic.
Some dogs also have the habit of coprophagia, which means they eat their own poop or the poop of other dogs. This results in terrible breath and can result in mild nausea for their owner.
Foods containing low-quality ingredients or a high quantity of sugar favor the growth of bacteria in your dog’s mouth cavity. These bacteria absorb sugar and produce gas, which results in bad breath.
Treats made from rumen or bovine scalp can also cause unpleasant smells in a dog’s breath.
If your dog’s breath smells like urine, then it could be a serious warning sign of kidney disease. This causes the breath to smell like ammonia or something akin to bleach.
Kidney disease is very common in dogs, affecting almost 1 in 10 dogs in their lifetime.
Besides the chemical smell, other signs of kidney disease include increased thirst and frequent urination. This medical problem requires the immediate assistance of a veterinarian.
One of the main symptoms of diabetes is to get a fruity or sweet smell from your dog’s mouth.
Whenever you got the sweetish smell from your dog’s breath, you need to contact your veterinarian. An imbalance of sugar usually produces this kind of breath in your dog. Your vet can do further examinations to evaluate your dog’s condition.
If your dog produces extreme foul breath accompanied by vomiting, loss of appetite, and has yellowish gums, she may have developed some liver problems.
Similar to kidney and other diseases, this is a serious case where you need to take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Sometimes, an imbalance of the gut microbiome can cause foul breath in your dog.
This causes the overgrowth of bad intestinal bacteria, which produce a lot of smelly gas. This gas absorbed into the bloodstream and is exhaled, causing bad breath.
How to Treat and Prevent Bad Dog Breath
Treating bad breath in your dog may require immediate veterinary assistance since chronic bad breath indicates a bigger health problem.
Veterinarians will check your dog for their overall health status and whether any underlying diseases are causing the problem. Treatment may include removing dental plaque and tartar, and polishing the teeth, and cleaning their gums to restore them to their optimal condition.
Vets will use an ultrasonic descaling tool to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and use X-rays to extract any teeth if necessary. Your vet may also perform several clinical tests to diagnose the problem such as diabetes, kidney, or liver disease.
Once they diagnosed it, the treatment will begin accordingly, and this helps to remove the bad breath.
Also, as a responsible pet owner, you can follow several steps to prevent bad breath in your dog if it’s an infrequent occurrence:
The simplest way to prevent bad breath in your dog is to brush your dog’s teeth regularly
Take your dog to the vet for a teeth examination regularly to make sure there are no underlying medical problems
Feed your dog an easily digestible, high-quality balanced diet with adequate exercise
Do not feed your dog a high carbohydrate diet filled with processed grains or artificial foods