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Why does my dog's breath smell so bad?

Why does my dog's breath smell so bad?

Bad breath in dogs is a common occurrence but can be a sign of health issues. Today, our Parrish vets explain what might be causing your dog's bad breath and how you can help to treat and prevent it.

What causes bad breath in dogs?

The term "dog breath" describes something that smells a little off-putting because our dogs frequently have some bad breath. Even though it's normal for your dog to occasionally have a stench from eating, playing with toys, and general daily life, this stench can occasionally intensify to the point where it repels all but the most courageous dog parents.

And while you may be tempted to just grin and bear the smell, more often than not, stinky dog breath is actually a sign of an underlying health issue that is causing the smell. There are several different possible causes of bad breath in your dog, but the most common are kidney disease, liver disease, and oral health issues.

Oral Health Issues

Oral health issues, which include everything from gum disease and tooth decay to oral infections, are the most common cause of bad breath in dogs. Whichever the exact reason, food particles and bacteria gradually accumulate in your dog's mouth and, if left unchecked, can lead to plaque and an odor that lingers. 

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. 

To ensure your dog's bad breath is not due to poor oral hygiene, take care of your pet's oral health and take them to the vet for regular professional dental cleanings.

Kidney Disease

If your pup's bad breath smells like feces or urine, it can be a sign that they have recently eaten poop (which is a whole other issue), but may also be a symptom of kidney issues. 

Not only can kidney damage be detrimental to your dog's health, but it can also cause a buildup of toxins and waste products in the body that contributes to bad breath in puppies! 

Liver Disease

Your dog may have a liver disease if they have recently developed extremely bad breath and other symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea go hand in hand with their new smell. 

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, since several causes of bad breath can be very serious health issues. 

Depending on the extent and location of the pet's ailment, your veterinarian may prescribe prescription drugs, special diets, therapies, or even surgery to help treat it. The best course of action for treating the underlying medical condition causing your dog's foul breath can be recommended by your veterinarian. 

Home Treatment for Bad Breath 

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

You should brush your dog's teeth every day, spending the time when they are young to help them get used to the experience of tooth brushing.

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

Ask your vet what kinds of oral health products they recommend for helping your dog to stave off 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.

Foods that are safe for human consumption, common houseplants, and some human medications can be highly toxic to our pets. If you have any substances in your home that may lead to organ failure or disease in your dog, be sure to keep them out of reach as much as possible.

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.

Have you noticed your dog's breath getting increasingly worse? Contact our Parrish vets to book an examination for your pup.

New Patients Welcome

Ellenton Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Parrish companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(941) 776-1100