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Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

Though bad breath in dogs is common, it can also point to health problems. Here, our Queens veterinarians explain why dogs may have bad breath - and how you can help treat and prevent it.

What causes bad breath in dogs?

Stinky dog breath can happen to even the most adorable of canines and lead frustrated pet parents to ask, "Why does my dog's breath smell so bad?".

While the smell of your four-legged friend's mouth may be offputting, it can also be a sign of one or more health issues that should be addressed. 

Though it's perfectly normal for a dog to have some smell on their breath from eating, drinking, playing with toys, and just generally living their doggy lives, this smell can sometimes progress into a repulsive odor that can make even the bravest pup parents grimace when their dog gets close. 

And while you may be tempted to just grin and bear the smell so you can be close to your pup, more often than not, that stink on your dog's bad breath points to an underlying health issue that's causing the smell. Though several different factors can lead to your dog's bad breath, the most common are oral health issues, kidney disease, and liver disease. 

Oral Health Issues 

Oral health issues covers many health issues ranging from tooth decay to oral infections and gum disease. No matter the exact cause, food debris and bacteria accumulate over time in your pup's mouth if not regularly removed, creating plaque and a persistent odor. 

If your dog's breath only smells a little bit, emerging oral health issues are likely the culprit. However, if these problems are left unchecked, the smell will grow much stronger, and your pet's oral health and well-being will continue to decline. 

To ensure your dog's bad breath is not due to poor oral hygiene, take proper care of your pet's health and schedule regular professional dental cleanings with your veterinarian. 

Kidney Disease

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

If the kidneys aren't functioning properly to filter and process toxins and waste materials, a buildup of both in your pooch's body may be contributing to the bad smell of their breath, in addition to harming your dog's health. 

Liver Disease

If your dog has recently developed severely bad breath and their new scent is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, liver disease may be the underlying cause. 

Treating Stinky Dog Breath

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. 

Treatments at your vet 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. 

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.

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.

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.

Professional Dental Care for Cats at Queens Animal Hospital

Dental cleanings and exams are an essential pillar in your dog's dental care routine. To make sure that your dog's mouth remains pain-free and healthy, our veterinarians recommend making annual dental care visits to your vet's office a part of their preventive healthcare routine.

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 worse? Contact our veterinary team in Queens to book an appointment for an exam and cleaning. We can also offer treatment options and advice.

New Patients Welcome

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

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