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Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

If you are having a hard time being near your dog's face because of smelly breath, it may be caused by more than just their chewing habits. Today, our Merced vets answer the question, 'What causes bad breath in dogs?', discuss the common causes and offer advice on treating stinky dog breath.

Why does my dog's breath smell so bad?

There's a reason that 'dog breath' became a saying. Many dogs have had a case of awful breath at least once in their lives. While it's normal for dogs to have some smell on their breath due to eating, playing with toys, and living, sometimes this smell can become unbearable.

The stink in your dog's bad breath can indicate an underlying health issue causing the smell rather than just a result of their daily activities. So if you find yourself asking, 'Why do dogs have bad breath?' it may be one of the following reasons:

Oral Health Issues

Bad breath in dogs can be caused by oral health issues, such as tooth decay, gum disease and infections. This is caused by bacteria and food particles that accumulate in their mouths over time, leading to plaque buildup and a persistent odor. 

If you notice a mild, unpleasant smell coming from your dog's mouth, it may be an early sign of oral health problems. Addressing these issues promptly is important, as they can worsen and affect your pet's overall health and well-being.

To ensure your dog's bad breath is not due to poor oral hygiene, take care of your pet's oral health and take them to the vet for regular professional dental cleanings.

Kidney Disease

While the smell of poop or urine on your dog's breath may indicate that they were recently eating something they shouldn't be, it could also point to a kidney issue.

When the kidneys fail to filter and process toxins and waste materials, these harmful substances accumulate in the body, causing bad breath and posing a significant threat to the dog's health.

Liver Disease

Bad breath, vomiting, and diarrhea are all symptoms of liver disease. This is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary intervention.

How is bad breath in dogs treated?

Dogs suffering from bad breath are often experiencing an underlying health issue. The type of treatment your dog needs will depend on the cause of the bad breath. It is crucial not to ignore any changes in the smell of your dog's breath and take them to the vet for examination and diagnosis. It's essential to address bad breath as it may indicate underlying health issues that need immediate attention.

Your vet may recommend prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies, or surgeries to treat your pet's condition, depending on the severity and which part of their body it affects. Your vet can advise you on the best course of treatment for the underlying health issue causing your dog's bad breath.

How can you prevent stinky dog breath?

Preventing bad breath in dogs is a pretty straightforward task. One of the best ways is to ensure your dog receives regular oral hygiene care daily and professional dental cleanings annually. 

When it comes to at-home care, you can start by brushing your dog's teeth daily, especially when they are young, to help them get used to the experience. If your pup doesn't tolerate brushing, there are a variety of dental chews and specialized dog food available that can promote oral health. Your vet can recommend the best oral health products for your dog.

Preventing internal organ failure and disease that can cause bad breath is also important. You can take several measures to help your dog avoid these issues. For example, some human medications, common houseplants, and foods that are safe for us can be toxic to our pets (like chocolate!). It's crucial to know which substances in your home could cause organ disease or failure in your dog and keep them out of reach as much as possible. Your vet and the ASPCA website can offer a wealth of knowledge on this subject.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is the smell of bad dog breath getting you down? Contact our veterinary team in Merced to book a dental examination for your pup.

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