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Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

Bad breath is a relatively common issue among dogs, especially as they get older, and it can be a sign of serious health problems. Today, our Denver vets share some potential causes for your dog's bad breath and how you can help them smell better.

Why Does My Dog's Breath Smell So Bad?

People often use the common phrase 'dog breath' when referring to something that smells a little off-putting for a reason - dogs often have bad breath.  It's natural for your pup to have a bit of a stench on their breath from activities such as playing with toys, eating, and just being themselves. However, this scent can often become very smelly and deter even the strongest of dog owners.

While it may seem tempting just to smile and put up with it, in many situations bad breath in dogs could actually be a sign of an underlying health condition. There are a handful of potential causes for your dog's bad breath and we discuss a few of them here. 

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 something you should look into on its own) or a symptom of kidney issues.

If your dog's kidneys aren't working properly to filter and process toxins and waste materials, they can build up in your pup's body, causing bad breath and harming your dog's health!

Liver Disease

If the smell of your dog's breath has recently become bad, and it's accompanied by other worrying symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, they could have liver disease.

Oral Health Problems

Oral health issues are the most common causes of bad breath in dogs, and this term encompasses a range of dental conditions such as oral infections, tooth decay, and gum disease. It doesn't matter what the exact cause is,  food debris and bacteria can build up in your pup's mouth over time and if it isn't cleaned away, it can cause plaque and a persistent stench.

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.

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.

Anytime you notice a difference in the way your dog's breath smells you shouldn't make any assumptions about the cause or brush it off as being normal. It's best to take your dog to the vet immediately for a physical examination and diagnosis because bad breath could be caused by a range of health problems.

Depending on what the cause is, your pet's treatments can range from prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies, and even surgeries. Your vet will be able to advise you on what the best course of treatment is for the cause of your pup's bad breath.

Home Remedies for Your Dog's Bad Breath

While you can't treat liver or kidney disease at home, you can help prevent bad breath by providing your dog with the oral hygiene care they require every day and taking them to the vet regularly for professional dental cleanings and examinations.

You should brush your dog's teeth every day and take the time when they are young to get them accustomed to the feeling of having their teeth brushed.

Either in combination with this or if you can't teach your pooch to tolerate brushing, as an alternative there are a wide variety of dental chews and dog foods available that are designed to promote oral health.

Ask your vet which kinds of oral health products they suggest using to help prevent your dog from developing bad breath.

When it comes to preventing internal organ failure or diseases that affect your dog's liver or kidneys, there are some measures you can take.

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.

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.

If you can't stand the stench of your dog's breath or if you have noticed a change in the way it smells, contact our Denver vets today to schedule an appointment. Our veterinary team will be able to diagnose and treat the source of your pup's stinky breath.

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