Treating cat and dog halitosis doesn’t have to be hard. A combination of at-home dental care and visits to the vet’s office will generally help your pet’s breath stay fresh and avert dental problems.
Prevent Dental Problems
Take the following steps to help keep your cat or dog’s teeth and gums in great shape:
Visit the Vet Once a Year
During your annual visit, the veterinarian will take a look inside your pet’s mouth, looking for dental issues, such as lesions, fractured or broken teeth, and plaque buildup. If there are problems, the vet can clean your pet’s teeth. If your pet’s teeth need to be cleaned, most likely your vet will administer anesthesia prior to the cleaning.
Brush Your Pet’s Teeth Daily
One of the best ways to prevent dental problems is going to be a familiar piece of advice from your own dental visits: Brush. Get in the habit of brushing your pet’s teeth on a daily basis. If that's more than you can handle, weekly is better than monthly and monthly is better than never. Food can easily get stuck in between a pet’s teeth, and for outdoor dogs especially, bits of sticks can be trapped in their mouths. If this food, and any other items trapped in your pet’s teeth, isn’t cleared away, then it can cause plaque buildup, bacterial infections, and poor breath.
Most likely, pets won’t be eager to have their teeth brushed, since it’s a bit of an uncomfortable and vulnerable experience. Ease your cat or dog into the process by using a toothbrush that fits over your finger. Always make sure to use pet-specific toothpaste, since the toothpaste that you use can cause your pet to have a tummy ache. Pleasant associations can help make it easier to brush your pet’s teeth -- time treats for after the brushing is complete.
Provide Mouthwash & Floss
Your own mouthwash won’t work for cats and dogs, but specially formulated mouthwashes for pets, like Biotin and rinses with Chlorhexidine, can be very effective at keeping breath fresh. You can’t floss your pet’s teeth, but some toys, ropes, and bones are specially formulated to help clear out in between your pet’s teeth.
Give Pets Special Dental-Treats & Foods
Try providing your pet with treats to help maintain clean teeth and gums. Some chew toys are designed to help prevent plaque from building up. Treats are available that are tasty to pets, but also have breath-freshening ingredients. Some types of dog and cat food -- particularly dry food -- can help to reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
When prevention doesn’t do the trick, your vet can work on treating the problem causing bad breath. The treatment plan will vary depending on the cause of the halitosis. If bad breath is not linked to a dental problem, the vet will give your cat or dog a thorough physical to determine if a condition like diabetes, liver issues, digestive problems, or a kidney disease is the culprit. Vets may ask about any changes in eating or behavior as part of this investigation.
For halitosis that’s caused by dental problems, your vet will do a thorough cleaning of your pet’s mouth, including scaling your cat or dog’s teeth to remove any plaque or tartar buildup. If necessary, your vet can extract damaged teeth or handle cavities. Your cat or dog will be under general anesthesia for the cleaning, which may require your pet to fast the night prior to the cleaning.
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.