Today, we’re sniffing out the goss on bad doggy breath. If your dog is giving you smelly dog kisses, read on to learn more about what causes bad breath in dogs, potential health issues associated with bad breath, and ways to prevent bad breath in your dog.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Dental Disease and Poor Oral Hygiene
One of the main causes of bad breath in dogs is poor oral hygiene. Dental disease (periodontal disease) starts when plaque builds up on the surface of teeth, leading to inflammation around the teeth and gums. Plaque itself builds up from a combination of bacteria, food and saliva and if not removed, may harden and turn into a brown-yellow substance called tartar.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Bad breath (caused from bacteria built up in mouth)
- Gums that are inflamed/red or bleeding
Symptoms of advanced periodontal disease include:
- Difficulty chewing
- Randomly dropping food out of the mouth
- Teeth that may be damaged, loose or missing
- Chewing food on one side of the mouth
- Facial swelling
- Excessive drooling
- Behavioural changes – not wanting to play with chew toys as much
Bad Diet and Food Allergies
Another cause of bad breath may be due to your dog eating things that aren't meant to be eaten, like rubbish, cat poop or dog poop! If your dog has a food allergy, this can also cause your dog to have bad breath.
Underlying Health Issues
Did you know that the smell of your dog’s breath could also be a sign that your dog has a disease?
Dog’s breath smells…
- Would you describe your dogs breath as fruity or sweet? This might indicate that your dog has diabetes. Instead of processing sugar (glucose) into energy, the body instead starts a process to burn fat and turns it into chemicals called ketones. The smell that is produced from this process (ketoacidosis) can cause the breath to smell like acetone, polish remover, fruity or sweet.
- Got stinky breath that smells fishy or like urine? This could indicate that your dog has chronic kidney disease (CKD). If smelly breath is accompanied with other symptoms, such as excess drinking, excess urination, lethargy and loss of appetite, it's definitely time for a trip to the vet.
Diabetes and CKD are both very serious health conditions, and so should be diagnosed and controlled by a professional veterinarian.
Treating and Preventing Bad Breath
Time For a Check-Up At The Vet
As always, a great first step is to take your dog to the vet, so that they can rule out any underlying health issues and check on their teeth. Your vet will assess your dog's teeth, then can suggest the most appropriate treatment for your dog.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Did you know that you can brush your dog’s teeth?
Getting you and your dog into a new teeth-brushing routine can be tricky, so start small by getting them used to you touching their mouth, then start introducing them slowly to their new pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste, making sure you choose a time in the day when they are calmest to brush their teeth.
How can a toy help improve your dogs oral hygiene? Specially designed toys such as the Kong Dental range help to massage their gums and cleans their teeth with their special ridges.
Dental Food and Treats
Specially formulated treats and food are designed to help reduce plaque formation. Popular brands we stock include:
Dental Dog Food
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dog Dental
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dog Dental Special Small
- Hill’s Science Diet Dog Adult Oral Care
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Dog T/D Dental Care
Nip Bad Habits in The Bud
Does your dog have a bad habit of treating your rubbish like an all-you-can-eat buffet? You can purchase pet-proof bins to keep nosey noses out of where they shouldn't be, and always clean up any rubbish left around the house straight away. If the litter tray or poop is the problem, make sure to take care of the unwanted mess right away. It is also best to keep the litter tray in a separate room away from the dog or see if your cat will use a covered litter box that is designed for privacy and to keep out unwanted intruders.