Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs and Possible Solutions Does your canine best friend blow a stinky breath in your face every time they bark or sit next to you?

BY | January 20 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs and Possible Solutions

Does your canine best friend blow a stinky breath in your face every time they bark or sit next to you? You are not alone, let's find out what causes this.

If you own a dog then you probably know that stinky dog breath isn't exactly normal. Yes, their normal breath isn't quite minty, but it's not pungent either. If your dog's breath gets very bad, then there's got to be something wrong somewhere.

 

Let's review some possible causes of bad dog breath

 

1.     Gum disease

 

The buildup of bacteria or plaque on your dog's teeth can progress to irritation and inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). This can progress to periodontal disease. This can cause some real stinky breath for your dog.

 

Despite this being preventable with a good oral hygiene regimen, lots of dogs still get gum disease.

 

Why? Perhaps, dog owners don’t take their dogs’ morning and night routines as seriously as they take theirs.

 

2.     Other underlying health conditions

 

Diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, or kidney disease can affect a dog's internal system and result in bad breath. Bad breath isn't the only thing to worry about here. Unhealthy dogs with poor oral hygiene often have their sicknesses exacerbated by the bad bacteria from their teeth. It's a toxic cycle.

 

3.     Respiratory diseases

 

Diseases that affect the respiratory tract may cause bad breath in dogs. Some of these diseases include sinusitis, nasal infections, or even some nasal tumors. Because the nasal cavity and the mouth are connected, pus from the respiratory disease can get to the back of the throat, thereby producing rather unpleasant odors from the dog's mouth.

 

4.     Gastrointestinal conditions

 

Some diseases of the gut, such as an enlargement of the esophageal tube can be the reason for your dog's halitosis (bad breath).

 

5.     Infectious organisms

 

These organisms, whether viral, bacterial, or fungal can lead to the build-up and emitting of unpleasant odors from your dog's mouth. Also, trauma as a result of various injuries can cause this [1].

 

6.     Bad food equals bad breath

 

By ‘bad food’, we don’t mean yummy, but unhealthy foods. We mean literal ‘bad foods’. Some dogs (especially young dogs) have been known to indulge in coprophagia. This is the act of eating stool from other dogs or animals or even themselves.

 

Yeah, that's a real thing.

 

There are several possible behavioral and psychological reasons why dogs do this. But mostly it's a case of dogs being dogs and only requires you to discourage such acts. And while they may get lucky and eat poop that's not infectious, they are certainly not escaping the horrible breath that comes from it [2].

 

We’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you out here

 

1.     Brush their teeth…it's that simple

 

Humans aren't the only ones who are meant to brush regularly. While brushing a dog’s teeth is not an easy task, you can make this work. We recommend brushing daily, but if you can't, then aim for a couple of times a week.

 

To make this process easier, get toothpaste that's made just for dogs with a great flavor. Maybe consider a “little bribe”, a treat or some petting after brushing might work. Soon, they will associate brushing with good things and might stop fighting it.

 

2.     Use dental treats

 

Dogs that chew actively often have less build-up of plaque. Some dental treats have even been shown to reduce plaque by up to 70% through the mechanical action of chewing. It’s best to use dental treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).

 

Some great options include rawhide chews, dental chews, bones, or even dental chew toys. Talk to your vet about which will be best for your dog [3].

 

3.     Treatment of the underlying cause

 

If the cause of your dog’s bad breath is poor oral hygiene, then you can combat this by making adjustments to their hygiene. If on the other hand, it’s from either one of the diseases outlined above, then your best bet is going to the vet. You probably won't even know which disease it is but your vet can figure this out with a series of tests.

 

Once that is done, they can go ahead and treat it. Chances are, with successful treatment, and some improvement in the oral hygiene department, bad breath in your dog will be a thing of the past.

 

4.     Use some water additives

 

This is similar to mouthwash except it’s for dogs and it’s safe to consume. Thank goodness, because we're not sure any of us would have any luck getting them to spit it out. Anyway, these dental water additives are often in liquid form and administered to your dog to their drinking water.

 

This could help reduce bad breath, prevent plaque build-up, and may help kill microbes in the dog's mouth - sounds pretty good, right? Well, why don't you give it a try? [4].

 

5.     A trip to Dr. Pol…or your go-to vet

 

Either way, just make sure you go in for a check-up. Also, going to the vet because of your dog’s bad breath could be a good thing, because it could help point them in the right direction on a possible disease or sickness your dog has.

 

6.     Train your dog

 

This is a solution to bad breath caused by their poor diet choices. Dogs can be really stubborn when they want to be. You can feed them well as much as you can, but they will still find their way to the garbage can or some roadside poop. Ensure you train them well to discourage such disgusting habits.

 

Ultimately, dogs are man's best friends, but sometimes their breath can make you want to be their best friend from a distance. However, bad breath doesn't make a dog bad.

 

It's probably just a little ‘ruff’ around the edges, but with the tips outlined above, you can totally smoothen these edges out.

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