My Dog's Breath Smells! What Should I Do?

My Dog's Breath Smells! What Should I Do?

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Dog halitosis can be unbearable at times. However, there are many easy ways to treat a dog's bad breath. Find out here.

Is your pooch sporting a permanent case of morning breath? Dog halitosis is a common complaint of pet owners. In some cases it can be a sign of more serious illness, but typically a little extra dental care can alleviate your pup's offensive odors. See what causes bad breath in dogs, and learn the simple ways to treat it.

What Causes Bad Breath in Dogs?

Bad breath is caused by an increase of the bacteria that produces odor in your dog’s mouth and stomach. There are many factors that can cause this increase and bad breath in canines. The main culprit is usually poor dental health. Tartar buildup, plaque, and gum disease will all enhance bad breath in dogs.

Diet can also be a factor in your dog's stinky breath, especially if you feed your pup canned or table food. If your dog has a habit of eating trash, other pets' food, and anything but the kitchen sink, this may also contribute to its breath issues.

In more serious cases, bad breath can indicate larger issues, like diabetes or kidney disease. If you see symptoms of other diseases or if bad breath persists after adjusting diet and oral health regimens, be sure to consult your veterinarian.

Treating Bad Breath

When tooth, gum, or diet issues are the cause of your dog's bad breath, then you can try the following solutions under the supervision of your vet:

Start a Dental Care Regime

Fighting plaque and tartar buildup is the first step in keeping dogs' teeth healthy and clean, and in turn will reduce bad breath. Dogs' teeth should be brushed at least twice a week. Use toothpaste formulated for dogs and whichever doggie toothbrush works best for you and your pet. While you clean your dog's teeth, check for foreign objects that could be lodged in your dog's teeth or gums. Rawhide chews like Dingo Beefy can also improve your pet's dental health.

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Consider Professional Cleanings

Many vets also recommend that dogs have their teeth professionally cleaned once every year. Veterinarians will thoroughly clean your dog's chompers, take x-rays, check for cavities, and remove diseased teeth. Talk to your vet about dental checkups and cleanings.

Monitor Your Dog's Diet

Diet influences a dog's oral health, and can also contribute to stinking up their breath. Feed your dog high quality food that is easy to digest. Canned food and table food can be factors in bad breath, so unless your veterinarian directs you to use canned food, stick solely to the dried variety. If possible, don't moisten dried kibble as the added crunch will help fight tartar. Also make sure your dog isn't eating cat or other pet food, trash, or any outdoor matter, and take the necessary precautions to clean or remove these items from your dog's reach.

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Add Parsley

Parsley is a natural breath freshener that is safe for dogs to ingest unless their stomachs are sensitive to it. Experiment with this fresh herb by adding it to your dog's food.

Find Breath Freshening Chews and Treats

Some dog chews and treats help clean teeth and keep breath fresh. Hard, dried dog treats work like kibble to reduce plaque with chewing. Just make sure these biscuits aren't packed with sugar, which will only add to tooth issues and require more cleaning. Other chews have anti-microbial and other ingredients that promote tooth health and fresh breath.

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Keep Carrots on Hand

Raw carrots cut into bite-sized chunks or baby carrots are an all natural treat that helps alleviate bad breath. Though they are low in fat, treat carrots as a snack and do not over-feed them to dogs as the sugars can cause weight gain in excess.

Provide Toys That Promote Healthy Teeth

Chewing is instinctual to dogs, and is their natural way of cleaning teeth. There is a variety of chew toys designed specifically to cause tooth friction, promote flossing, and clean canine teeth. Chewing materials that are great for dog dental care include rawhide, durable rubber, some tough plastics, and strong bones that are safe for dogs. Products like Kong Quest Bone hide treats and thus encourage your dog to chew for long hours. Stock your pet up with a few toys that are appropriate for their size and let them start gnawing away to healthier teeth.

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Try Mints, Sprays, and Mouthwashes

For a quick breath freshener, pet mints, sprays, and mouth rinses will provide temporary reprieve of doggie bad breath. They should not be used in place of cleaning your dog's teeth, but can help mask offensive odors and reduce plaque buildup.

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Follow these tips and you’ll have your dog all ready for a big ol’ smooch. Or at least for a big ol' face lick. Pucker up!

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