Dog Bad Breath: 4 Hidden Causes

Everyone loves puppy kisses, except when their bad breath is enough to knock you off your feet. Some people believe that bad breath in dogs is normal, but it could be a sign of an underlying condition or disease. Before you give your dog a minty fresh treat, let’s delve into the possible reasons why your dog may have bad breath and the ways to treat it from the source.

Causes Of Bad Breath In Dogs

Some dog owners dismiss bad breath as a typical part of having a dog, but it is important to realize that there may be a reason behind it.

1.) Dental or Gum Disease

One of the most common causes of bad breath in dogs is Periodontal disease which is typically caused by bad oral hygiene.

The buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth allows the growth of bacteria that are harmful and contribute to bad breath.

Too much tartar and plaque build up can push gums away from the teeth, resulting in more nooks for bacteria to thrive in. This causes gum inflammation (Gingivitis), dental infection, cavities and tooth loss in addition to bad breath. If you do not brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis or your dog is not a chewer, it is possible that plaque buildup is the cause of bad breath.

2.) Dietary Habits

Dogs sometimes eat gross things.

If your dog has access to garbage, decomposing animal remains or feline droppings then the cause of bad breath may be linked to unhealthy and unsupervised snacking.

Dogs universally love cat poop, and will most likely endulge if given the chance. Not only is that unhygienic, but it can transmit intestinal parasites and harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. If your dog’s breath smells like fecal matter, this could be the potential cause.

3.) Liver Disease

Like kidney disease, it may be fatal if left untreated. Common symptoms include:

  • Yellowing of eyes and gums
  • Breath that smells like urine/ammonia
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss

Typically, the life expectancy of a dog with chronic hepatitis is 2-3 years. A urine like odor coming from your dog’s breath is a warning sign. If you suspect your dog has Hepatitis, it is imperative that you contact your veterinarian.

4.) Kidney Disease

The job of the kidney is to filter out waste and toxins. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, toxins such as urea may start building up in the blood (Uremia).

This may cause the breath to smell like urine or ammonia which is a sign of serious kidney disfunction and possibly failure.

If left untreated, kidney disease may be fatal. Excessive amounts of Urea may result in ulcerations in the mouth and stomach. If these ulcerations are not treated, they can result in infection further causing bad breath. Consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has kidney disease.

Bad Breath Remedies and Treatment

Although knowing the underlying cause of bad breath is important, knowing how to treat it is just as important. If your dog has bad breath, you should consider visiting your veterinarian for a dental checkup and exam. They can possibly identify disease and give you information regarding a treatment plan.

Dental hygiene comes first. Here are some ways you may improve dental health in your dog:

Regular Brushing: Brushing your dog's teeth on a weekly basis is beneficial in reducing plaque buildup. Use canine toothpaste and toothbrushes for the most effective cleaning. 

Dental Chews, Treats and Products: Dental treats are help remove plaque buildup when your dog chews. Not only does the manual action of chewing break up plaque, the treats contain enhancing properties that promote healthy gums and teeth. In addition, you may consider dental water additives. All you need to do is add a small amount to your dogs water each day to help with oral cleanliness. Chew toys may also be helpful in removing plaque buildup.

Diet change: There are diets specifically tailored to dental hygiene and health that may reduce plaque buildup. In addition to ingredients that promote dental health, they also utilize a larger kibble size with coarse texture.

Dog Breath FAQ

Are there any home remedies to treat bad breath in dogs?

The best way to treat bad breath in dogs is to discover the underlying cause and treat it. However, there are some holistic products for dogs that may be useful in lessening the bad breath and prevent it from becoming worse.

Can doggy breath be fully cured?

Since bad breath is an effect of an underlying disease or cause, it is important to identify if the breath is abnormal. Dogs naturally have a dental smell, but it only becomes a problem when it is an excessive or overwhelming smell. Unless you find the direct cause, treatment will only mask the scent and not handle the root of the issue.

Top Products For Bad Breath In Dogs

Dog toothbrush kit

Dental treats

Dental cleaning toys

Enzymatic toothpaste

Dental spray

Plaque gone supplements

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