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Dog Bad Breath Causes & Remedy

Why Does my Dog Have Bad Breath?

Isn’t it wonderful to have your furry friend run up to you and show affection by licking your face? Such an amazing feeling, until you smell the gust of bad breath. You might think it’s normal for your dog’s breath to smell, but it can be a sign of an underlying health problem which needs taking care of.

The most common causes of bad dog breath are oral health issues. While there hasn’t been any evidence that certain dog breeds are more susceptible to halitosis. But, some specific dog breeds, such as toy breeds are considered to have higher gum disease, thus resulting in more bad breath. So, if your dog has persistent bad breath, you should take it to the vet.

Therefore, it is best to know more about the causes of bad dog breath and how to remove bad breath of dogs.

What causes bad breath in dogs?

Persistent bad breath in dogs can be due to a number of health problems, including:

  • Gum disease –

    If your dog has bad breath alongside inflammation and redness of the gums, they are likely to be suffering from gum disease. It can result from tartar build-up leading to tooth decay or even tooth loss. Too much plaque and tartar can move the gums away from the teeth, allowing bacteria to grow in new places. Plus, if your pup is not a chewer and you don’t get his teeth cleaned on a regular basis, then plaque accumulation can result in your dog having bad breath. Hence, regularly check your dog’s mouth for signs of gum disease and try to establish a daily oral care regime at home.
  • Kidney Disease –

    If your dog’s breath smells like ammonia, they may be suffering from kidney disease. This happens when your pup’s kidneys aren't operating properly to filter and digest waste materials and toxins. Their buildup in the body could be contributing to a terrible odour in their breath, as well as causing health problems for your dog. Another sign of kidney disease could be your dog’s urine odour. Such symptoms should prompt you to see your veterinarian. Kidney disease is a dangerous condition that might be a sign of something more serious.
  • Diabetes –

    This is noticeable when dog breath smells sickly sweet and fruity due to ketones building up in the bloodstream. This sweet, fruity breath is a key symptom of diabetes. Set up an appointment with your veterinarian to have your dog evaluated and discuss other diabetic signs to look out for, such as more frequent drinking and urinating.
  • Liver Disease –

    Another prominent cause of your dog’s bad breath is improper liver functions. Foul breath, constant vomiting, repulsion towards food, lack of appetite and a yellow tint in the gums are all signs that your dog is suffering from a liver condition. Liver disorders, like kidney illness, might indicate a serious condition. Therefore, you should take your dog to the vet or emergency care as soon as possible.
  • Unhealthy Eating Habits –

    Dogs can be dirty. Their habits can sometimes directly transfer into poor breath. If your dog has access to garbage or decomposing animal remains on a daily basis, its foul breath could be the consequence of unsupervised eating. Dogs seem to love cat feces in general and having cats in the house can make it difficult for your dog to refuse. This is not only smelly but also unsanitary. As if cat feces weren't terrible enough, some dogs consume their own or other dogs' feces, a disorder known as coprophagia, which produces poor breath in dogs and moderate nausea in their terrified owners.

Treatment for dog’s bad breath

Once you and the vet have sought out the cause of your dog’s bad breath, you can begin treating it. But, before you get to treating your dog’s bad breath, it is necessary to understand the importance of keeping your dog’s mouth clean. The reasons are –

  • Keeping your pup’s teeth and gums clean will help in preventing dental disease or oral pain.
  • When the bones supporting your dog’s teeth become contaminated or damaged, they may loosen or fall out. It is here that good dental care for dogs keeps their teeth-supporting structures healthy.
  • Keeping your dog’s mouth clean will also prevent organ damage, otherwise the plaque bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel to their kidneys, heart, and liver. This bacterial spread can harm their organs and make them sick. But with good oral hygiene organ damage can be avoided.
  • Finally, the most important reason to keep your dog’s mouth clean is to prevent the nasty whiff of your pup’s breath. This is an indication that bacteria are accumulating due to improper dental care. Cleaning your dog's teeth on a regular basis can help avoid odour development.

Treating bad breath in dogs

The source of poor dog breath must be addressed, and luckily there are several treatment options available.

If your dog's foul breath is caused by plaque, tartar, or periodontal disease, the best thing you can do is make an appointment with your vet to check if your dog is suitable for a dental cleaning. Your veterinarian will do blood tests to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to undergo anaesthesia. Moreover, this appointment is a good time to rule out any other possible explanations for your dog's bad breath. Depending on the extent of the periodontal disease, your vet may have to extract loose or damaged teeth during the cleaning.

Covering the waste and limiting your dog's access to undesirable outside finds, such as roadkill, will eliminate the problem of unattended munching. Unless the cats are also pooping outside, placing the litter box out of your dog’s reach is a simple remedy that prevents cat feces intake, and cleaning up right away after your dog poops can help stop coprophagia.

Diabetes, liver, and kidney diseases are severe conditions that necessitate veterinary care. Your dog's bad breath should go away after the underlying issue is remedied.

Prevention of bad breath in dogs

If your dog’s breath smells due to a dental issue such as gum disease, try any of the following as a means of treatment and prevention:

  • Brush your dog’s teeth –

    Dental hygiene is equally important for your dog as it is for you. It is the best remedy for your dog’s bad breath. In fact, this is the very best way you can care for your dog’s teeth and gums daily. Start by gradually introducing a daily tooth-brushing routine to help remove plaque from the teeth which is the root cause of gum disease. However, remember to use a toothpaste and toothbrush made exclusively for dogs—don't give your dog your toothpaste! It contains toxic substances for dogs.
  • Dental treats –

    While brushing your dog's teeth daily is one of the best practices, giving them dental treats is an additional technique to improve their dental health. Dental treats may contain ingredients that promote your dog’s oral health or assist in physically eliminating plaque while your dog chews on them. Other products like dental water additives can help keep bad breath at bay while also improving oral health. These are usually unflavored, and all you have to do is put a small quantity in your pet's water bowl every day.
  • Quality and Balanced Diet -

    Feeding an outstanding species-appropriate diet created with high-quality ingredients helps keep the digestive system and your dog’s body in good shape.
  • Dry Diet -

    The abrasive texture of dry food can also help keep teeth clean. For best results, you can give your dog PEDIGREE® Dentastix™ Daily Oral Care. This dry dog treat contains active ingredients like Zinc Sulphate and Sodium Tripolyphosphate that helps keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy. It reduces tartar build-up by 80%. And the best part is that as your dog chews on the sticks, the 'X' shape and textured surface scrape plaque and tartar away. PEDIGREE® Dentastix™ are available for large, medium, and small dog breeds.

Feeding guideline: Dog treats like the PEDIGREE® Dentastix™ is good oral hygiene aids, however, they must not be used in place of a normal oral hygiene programme. Brush your dog’s teeth once a day to keep its teeth and gums healthy. Make sure you use dog-specific toothpaste.

To prevent bad breath in dogs, it’s essential to be proactive about your dog’s dental health, to look in their mouth regularly, establish a daily oral care regime at home and schedule regular visits to the vet.

Frequently Asked Questions on Dog’s Bad Breath

How can I freshen my dog’s breath without brushing?

You can freshen your dog's breath by adding half a teaspoon of raw organic apple cider vinegar to his water bowl. Adding a probiotic made exclusively for dogs to your dog's daily meal will help balance healthy dental bacteria and keep his breath smelling fresh.

Should you brush your dog's teeth?

What happens if you do not get your dog's teeth cleaned?

Does PEDIGREE® Dentastix™ really work?

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