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Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

So your dog's breath smells, what's the big deal? Well, smelly breath can be a sign that there is an underlying health concern that should be evaluated. Here, our Brooklyn vets talk about the causes of bad breath in dogs and what you should do if your pup has some seriously stinky breath.

Why does my dog's breath smell?

'Dog breath' is a term that I'm sure many of us have heard at least once, and we know that this means smelly breath. While it's perfectly normal for your pup to have some smell on their breath from eating, playing with toys and just generally living their lives, this smell can sometimes grow into a stink that repels all but the bravest pup parents.

So while smelly dog breath may seem normal, it is often a sign that there is an underlying concern that should be dealt with as soon as possible. This can lead you to wonder 'What causes bad breath in dogs?'. There are several different possible causes of stinky dog breath, but the most common are kidney disease, liver disease and oral health issues.

Kidney Disease

The smell of poop on your dog's breath can either indicate that your dog has been eating theirs (which you should look into anyway) or that they are suffering from kidney disease.

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 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. 

Dental Issues

Dental issues, including decay and infections, can cause some serious smelly breath in dogs. Regardless of the precise cause, bacteria and food debris build up over time in your pooch's mouth if not regularly cleaned away, creating plaque and a persistent smell. 

When it comes to smelly dog breath, dental issues and decay are the most common underlying causes. Usually, these issues are minor and can be managed with professional dental care. However, if they are left unchecked, the smell will become much stronger and your pet's oral health and wellbeing will continue to decline. 

What to Do if Your Dog Has Stinky Breath

So what should you do if your dog has bad breath? The first step will be to determine the underlying cause. This underlying condition 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.

This also means recognizing that bad breath isn't exactly normal and that you should always get it checked out by a vet. 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. 

The treatment options for bad breath can include medications, a dental examination and cleaning, 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 advise you on what the best course of treatment is for the health issue underlying your pup's bad breath. 

Treating Bad Breath in Dogs

While you should schedule an appointment to ensure that there are no serious dental or medical concerns requiring veterinary treatment, there are a few things you can do at home to keep your dog's breath smelling good. This can include daily teeth brushing. Along with this at-home care, you should also bring your dog in for professional dental cleaning and exams yearly.

Begin brushing your dog's teeth when they are still young, this can help ensure that they become accustomed to daily cleaning.

Dental chews can be a great addition for dogs that aren't a fan of teeth brushing. These will help to keep their teeth clear of debris.

Your vet will also be able to offer advice as to what dental care products you could use at home to clean and protect your dog's oral health.

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 quite toxic for our pets. Make sure you are aware of what kinds of substances you have in your home that could cause organ disease or failure in your pooch and 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.

Do you do everything you can to avoid breathing near your dog's face? They may have a health or dental concern. Contact our vets in Brooklyn to schedule a visit.

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