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The Causes & Treatments of Bad Breath in Dogs

Are you finding that your dog has stinky breath and are wondering why your dog's breath smells so bad? Today our vets in Tracy discuss the reasons why your dog may have bad breath, how you can prevent it, and when to take them to the vet if it's caused by an underlying health condition.

The Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs

Have you ever heard the common phrase 'dog breath' used to describe something that smells a little offputting? The term comes from dogs that have a breath that smells a little bad. It's normal for dogs to have a smell on their breath that comes from their lifestyle, food, or even playing with their toys but, it can get bad and scare dog parents with the strongest noses. 

And while you might be compelled to grin and bear the terrible stench,  the bad smell is usually caused by an underlying health problem that requires treatment. Some of the conditions that can cause bad breath in dogs include kidney disease, liver disease, and oral health conditions.

If you notice that your dog's breath smells bad you should schedule an appointment with your vet to have the cause diagnosed so treatment can begin as soon as possible.

Kidney Disease

If your pooch's bad breath smells similar to urine or feces, it could be a sign that they have just ingested poop (which is something you should look into on its own) or a symptom of a kidney problem. 

If your dog's kidneys aren't working the way they should to filter and process toxins and waste materials, they can build up in your pup's body and add a bad smell to their breath on top of harming your dog's health!

If you notice any of the other symptoms of kidney disease in your dog on top of bad breath such as drinking lots of water, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in urine, and a decreased appetite, call your vet immediately.

Liver Disease

If your dog has recently developed seriously bad breath and their new scent is accompanied by concerning symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, they may have a liver disease at the root cause of their symptoms. This condition requires urgent veterinary care.

Oral Health Issues

Oral health issues are the most common causes of bad breath in dogs, which include conditions such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. Regardless of the precise cause, bacteria and food debris can build up over time in your pooch's mouth (if it isn't brushed away regularly) creating plaque and a persistent smell. 

If your dog's breath smells a little bit, it is likely caused by emerging oral health issues. If these issues aren't treated by a veterinarian, the smell will become much stronger and your pet's oral health and wellbeing will continue to decline. 

How to Treat Bad Breath in Dogs

The reason for your dog's bad breath will significantly influence the treatment they will require. Because bad breath is usually a sign of an underlying health condition (rather than a health problem itself), it should go away as soon as the underlying problem is successfully treated by your veterinarian.

That being said, whenever you notice a change in the smell of your dog's breath schedule an appointment with your veterinarian who will be able to diagnose the problem and provide you with treatment options. Do not assume that the bad smell on your dog's breath is normal because bad breath can be caused by a range of very serious health issues, that could impact the longevity and quality of your dog's life. 

The treatments your vet provides you with could consist of prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies, and even surgeries depending on what part of their body is affected and the severity of the condition. Your vet will be able to advise you on what the best course of treatment will be for your pup's bad breath. 

What Can I Do To Prevent My Dog's Breath From Stinking?

One of the best ways you can help prevent your dog from developing bad breath is to ensure that they get the oral hygiene care they need every day in addition to annual professional dental cleanings.

You should brush your dog's teeth every day, starting from when your pup is young to help them get used to the experience of tooth brushing.

In addition to this or if you aren't able to train your pup to tolerate brushing, provide them with dental chews or/and dog food that is designed to promote oral health.

Ask your vet what kinds of oral health products they recommend for helping your dog prevent bad breath.

There are also easy measures you can take to protect your pup from internal organ failure or diseases that affect their liver or kidneys such as being aware of the substances you have in your home that could cause organ disease or failure and keep them out of reach. These items include can include some human medications, common houseplants, and foods that are safe for our consumption but are actually quite toxic for pets.

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 vets at Affordable Pet Vet Clinic as soon as you can if your dog has bad breath to schedule a veterinary appointment. Your vet will be able to diagnose and treat the cause of your pooch's stinky breath.

Looking for quality veterinary care for your pet in Tracy?

(209) 832-8882