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Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & How to Help

Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & How to Help

Does the smell of your dog's bad breath make you cringe? If so, you need to take your pooch to the vet. Today our Kinston vets share a few common causes of bad breath in dogs and how it can be treated. 

Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs

Bad breath is seen fairly often in dogs. It's normal for your canine companion to have a bit of a stench on their breath after playing with toys, eating, or just being their normal doggie self. However, there are occasions where the little smell can become so bad it can repel all but the strongest dog owners. 

But, it's important to know that bad breath in dogs isn't a laughing matter. Your pup's bad breath may be a sign of an underlying health problem. While you might be tempted to just shrug it off, it's critical to bring your dog to the vet if they have chronic bad breath.

Oral Health Problems

Oral health issues are the most common cause of bad breath in dogs. These issues can range from tooth decay and gum disease to oral infections. Regardless of the precise cause, bacteria and food debris can build up over time in your pup's mouth if not regularly cleaned away, resulting in plaque and a persistent bad smell.

If your dog's breath smells a little bit, it is likely caused by emerging oral health issues. Although if they are left unchecked, the smell will become much stronger and your pet's oral health and wellbeing will continue to decline.

Kidney Disease

If your dog's bad breath smells like urine or feces, they may have recently eaten poop (this is another common issue that should be addressed by your vet) or have kidney issues. When your pup's kidneys aren't functioning the way they should they won't be filtering and processing toxins and waste materials as needed. This could cause a buildup of waste products in your dog's body, which is both harmful to the overall health of your dog and a possible cause of bad breath.

Liver Disease

If your dog has recently developed seriously bad breath and their new scent is accompanied by worrying symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, their stinky breath could be caused by liver disease.

Treating Dogs With Bad Breath

The treatment your vet uses for your pup's bad breath will depend on its underlying source. After your pup has been treated successfully for their underlying health issue their bad breath should start clearing up.

If you see a sudden change in your dog's breath, especially if your pup is older, it's imperative to take them to the vet, so the underlying cause can be diagnosed as early as possible. Treatments are typically easier and more successful when the problems are detected in the early stages.

The treatments for your dog's bad breath could include prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies, and even surgeries, depending on the cause and severity of the underlying condition.

Preventing Bad Breath in Dogs

While you can't treat kidney or liver disease at home, you can help prevent or treat your dog's bad breath by providing them with the oral hygiene care they require every day and by taking them to the vet for professional dental cleanings.

Our vets recommend starting to brush your dog's teeth when they are still young. This might sound crazy but, taking the time when they are young helps get them used to the feeling of having their teeth brushed. It can also help avoid more serious dental health issues when they are older.

If you can't train your pup to have their teeth brushed there are a wide variety of dental chews and dog foods available that are formulated to promote good oral health. Ask your vet about these and other oral health solutions for your dog.

There are some simple measures you can implement to help prevent internal organ damage and other diseases that can affect your dog's liver or kidneys.

  • Make sure all human medications are kept out of your dog's reach. Many are toxic to pets and can cause severe organ damage.
  • Keep known toxins locked up such as antifreeze which can lead to severe and sudden organ failure in dogs.
  • Ensure that all houseplants and foods within your pup's reach are safe for dogs. Foods such as raisins and chocolate can be deadly for our canine companions, and countless houseplants can be problematic for your pup's health.

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.

Contact our Kinston vets today and book an appointment if your four-legged friend has chronic bad breath.

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Five Oaks Animal Hospital is thrilled to be accepting new patients! Our qualified vets are passionate about the health of Kinston companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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