Bad Doggy Breath: What It Means and How to Improve It
While we love our dogs, we don’t always love their breath. A stinky mouth can mean smelly kisses, and that can put a damper on up close and personal time with our pups. So what causes bad breath, also known as “halitosis,” in dogs? To help pup parents understand reasons for the reek, and how to lessen the odor, Best Elk Antlers has compiled a list of causes and solutions:
Oral health. One of the most common causes of halitosis is a dog’s oral health. Many pups, especially smaller, adult dogs, are more prone to dental disease and plaque and tartar buildup. Check your pup’s teeth for leftover food, tumors/growths or signs of gum disease, and speak with your vet if you find anything questionable. Even if you think your dog’s teeth look clean, try brushing them once a day with pet-safe toothpaste. Also, if possible, consider trying to floss your dog’s teeth as well. Lastly, an all-natural dog chew is also a great way to help regularly clean your pup’s teeth.
Diet. Diet is another potential cause of bad doggy breath. When coupled with intestinal symptoms, bad breath may be a result of your pup’s body reacting to the food they eat, especially if it contains low-quality ingredients or your dog has an allergy or sensitive stomach. If this is the case, talk to your vet about a diet change and possibly the addition of a supplement such as a probiotic. Additionally, eating indiscretions – such as trash or fecal matter – may also cause your pup’s breath to be not so pleasant, so keep an eye out for a sneaky Spot!
Underlying medical condition. After addressing the first two potential causes of halitosis, if your dog’s bad breath is persistent, it could be the result of an underlying medical condition. Some health issues that have been known to cause foul breath include:
- Diabetes Mellitus – Unusually sweet/fruity breath, especially when coupled with excessive thirst and urinating.
- Kidney Disease – Foul breath with a slight urine smell.
- Liver Disease – Especially bad breath in conjunction with vomiting, loss of appetite, or jaundice-like symptoms.
- Cancer – Halitosis accompanied by significant change in appetite/weight, personality, or the presence of tumors/growths.
- Gastrointestinal Issues – Bad breath coupled with vomiting, diarrhea/constipation or flatulence could indicate a gastrointestinal problem such as colitis, gastroenteritis, pancreatic or other disorders.
If you suspect that your pup may have halitosis as a result of an underlying medical condition, contact your vet immediately for personalized treatment options.
Remember, a great start to keeping your dog healthy is a good diet, regular exercise, proper hygiene, and lots of love!
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