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Why does my dog's breath smell so bad?

Why does my dog's breath smell so bad?

Do you find yourself recoiling from the smell coming from your dog's mouth? Bad breath is common in our canine companions, especially as they age, but it can indicate a serious health issue for your pup and shouldn't be ignored. Today, our Waxhaw vets explain what causes bad breath in dogs and how you can treat it.

Why does my dog's breath smell?

There is a reason 'dog breath' is such a common saying when describing something that has an offputting smell. While it's perfectly normal for your pup to have some smell to their breath from eating and chewing on toys, this smell can sometimes grow into a terrible stink that repels all but the bravest pup parents.

If this is the case with your pup, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. There are a number of different possible causes of bad breath in your dog, but the most common are gum disease, kidney disease, or liver disease.

Oral Health Issues

Oral health issues are the most common source of bad breath in dogs. Oral health issues can range from tooth decay to gum disease and oral infections. 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. 

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. 

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. 

Kidney Disease

If your pup's bad breath smells like feces or urine, it may be a sign that they have recently eaten poop (which is a problem in and of itself) or a symptom of kidney issues. 

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

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 a number of causes of bad breath can be very serious health issues. 

Treatments at your vets can range from prescription medications, 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. 

What can I do at home to prevent stinky dog 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.

In addition to regular brushing, or if you aren't able to train your pup to tolerate brushing, there are 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.

Some human medications, common houseplants, and foods that are safe for our consumption are actually 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.

Are you looking for a solution to your dog's bad breath? Contact Providence South Animal Hospital to book an appointment for your canine companion as soon as possible to have the cause of their bad breath diagnosed and treated.

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Providence South Animal Hospital provides comprehensive veterinary care for your cherished pets in Waxhaw.

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