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Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes and Treatments

Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes and Treatments

Does your dog's breath ever smell so bad it makes you cringe? Bad breath is actually fairly common among dogs, especially as they get older, however, it could be a sign of a serious health problem. In this blog, our Bakersfield vets discuss the possible causes of your dog's bad breath as well as how it can be treated and prevented.

The Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs

The term 'dog breath' is a common saying used when discussing something that smells a little offputting because dogs' breath is typically a little stinky. While it is normal for your pooch to have a bit of a smell on their breath after playing with toys, eating, and generally just living their lives, this smell can occasionally turn into a stink that can repel all but the bravest dog owners.

And while you might be tempted to just smile and put up with the smell, more times than not the stink of a pup's bad breath is actually caused by an underlying health problem. There is a variety of potential causes for your dog's bad breath, but the most common are liver disease, kidney disease, and oral health problems.

Kidney Disease

If your pup's bad breath smells like feces or urine, it may be a sign that they have recently eaten poop (which is something you should look into on its own) or a symptom of kidney issues.

If your dog's kidneys aren't working properly to filter and process toxins and waste materials, their buildup in the pup's body may be contributing to the bad smell of their breath on top of harming your dog's health!

Liver Disease

If your pooch has recently gotten seriously bad breath and their new scent is accompanied by worrying symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, liver disease may be the root cause of their symptoms.

Oral Health Problems

Oral health issues are the most common cause of bad breath in dogs, and this term can include health issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. Regardless of the exact cause, food debris and bacteria can build up over time in your pup's mouth and if it isn't cleaned away regularly, plaque can develop creating a persistent smell.

If your dog's breath has a little bit of a smell to it, it's probably the result of arising oral health issues. And, if these go unchecked, the smell will get a lot stronger and your pet's oral health and wellbeing will keep declining.

Treating Bad Breath in Dogs

The reason why your dog has bad breath will largely influence the kind of treatment they will require. Since bad breath is a sign of an underlying health condition rather than a health problem itself, it should dissipate once the underlying problem is successfully treated.

That being said, whenever you notice a change in the smell of your dog's breath you shouldn't assume its cause or that it is normal. Bring your pup to your vet as soon as possible for examination and diagnosis, because a variety of bad breath causes can actually be very serious health issues.

Treatments at your vet can range from prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies, and even surgeries to help treat your pet's condition depending on what part of their body it affects and its severity. Your vet will be able to provide you with the best treatment options for your dog's bad breath.

Home Remedies for Your Dog's Bad Breath

While you aren't able to treat kidney or liver disease at home, one way you can help treat or prevent your dog's bad breath is to ensure your pup gets the routine oral hygiene care they need every day in addition to annual professional dental cleanings.

We recommend brushing your dog's teeth daily and taking time when they are young to help them get accustomed to the process of having their teeth brushed. 

Either in addition to this or if you aren't able to train your pup to tolerate brushing, there are a wide variety of dental chews and dog foods designed to promote oral health that you can use instead of brushing.

Talk to your vet about the kinds of oral health products they suggest for helping your dog's bad breath.

When it comes to preventing internal organ failure or disease affecting your dog's liver or kidneys, there are also a couple of easy measures you can take to help your pup avoid these causes of bad breath.

Some human medications, common houseplants, and foods that are safe for our consumption are actually quite toxic for our four-legged companions. Remember to be cautious about the types of substances you keep in your home that can cause organ disease or failure in your pup, and make sure they are out of reach.

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 Bakersfield vets today and schedule an appointment, if you are noticing a change in your dog's breath. Our veterinary team will be able to diagnose the cause of your dog's bad breath and provide you with the best possible treatment plan.

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Stine Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vet is passionate about improving the health of Bakersfield companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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