The symptom of your pet’s halitosis is obvious to your nose: stinky, unpleasant smelling breath. A cat or dog’s breath is not naturally unpleasant; if you notice a perpetual bad odor, this can be a sign of periodontal disease or reflect a serious health problem such as diabetes. In contrast, a temporary bad odor occurring after your pet eat something unpleasant is natural and nothing to be concerned about.
What to Look For
Once you spot an odor coming from your pet’s mouth, try looking for other common associated symptoms. To do this, you’ll need to open your cat or dog’s mouth, and move their lips so that you can closely examine the pet’s teeth and gums. When you’re inspecting your pet’s mouth, keep an eye out for:
- Broken or cracked teeth: Often caused by chewing on hard objects like treats or sticks, broken or fractured teeth are extremely painful for pets, and can sometimes lead to infections.
- Missing teeth: For young pets, this can be a result of baby teeth falling out, but missing teeth in mature pets is more problematic.
- Gums: Check the color of your pet’s gums. Healthy gums are pink; gums that are either a pale white or a vibrant red are not healthy. Get in the habit of checking your cat or dog’s gums frequently to get a sense of what the normal color is for your pet; checking regularly will help you spot variations caused by sickness.
Other Signs of Dental Problems & Halitosis
There can be other signs of dental problems that you can observe without investigating the inside of your pet’s mouth. Keep an eye out for:
- Eating habits: If your pet stops eating, eats less, or eats on a different schedule, this reluctance can be a sign of some kind of a dental problem.
- Smelly saliva: It’s not just breath that smells, it’s saliva too. If your dog or cat’s drool is unusually (and perhaps repulsively) pungent, think about looking for obvious signs of dental issues in their mouth, and consider visiting the vet.
- Some lethargy or depression: This can happen as a response to dental pain, but it can also be a result of your pet’s sensitivity to your changed reaction. If an owner is not as affectionate as usual because of an odor, your pet won’t know the cause and may feel despondent as a result.
Pay attention to your pet’s breath and keep an eye on conditions in your cat or dog’s mouth. Maintaining your pet’s dental health, in conjunction with annual appointments to the vet, will help keep your pet’s breath smelling fresh, and make it easier to catch any serious health concerns causing halitosis.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by,your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.