Why does my dogs breath smell so bad

Why does my dogs breath smell so bad

This question came through our private community as a question to ask our resident Vet, Stephanie (you can also see Stephanie's view on our recipes here)

The question was, "Why does my dog's breath smell so bad and what can I do about it". See the answer below

Halitosis, the term for smelly breath, can be caused by several factors.

The most common is poor dental hygiene. This is the build up of plaque or tartar on the teeth, which in turn leads to inflammatory conditions of the gums and periodontal disease.

Bacterial infections and dental plaque in the mouth result in foul smelling odours. 

Although there is a genetic element to the rapid build-up of dental tartar, a poor-quality diet or a diet which is not designed to support dental health can also contribute to this and it is really important as pet owners to educate ourselves about this.

A great article to read is this one HERE about bones as this is a great way to promote good dental health and stop so many of the issues dogs have with their teeth.

Other causes of halitosis could be a piece of foreign material which is stuck somewhere in your dog’s mouth.

I have commonly seen sticks lodged between the upper molars against the palate which have been there for days.

If you realise that suddenly your dog has really bad breath, then make sure you have a proper look inside their mouth to make sure there aren’t any foreign objects stuck there.

Other conditions of the mouth such as trauma, inflammation, oral ulcers, abscesses and tumours could also contribute to halitosis. These can be identified and treated by your veterinarian.

Lastly there are several systemic diseases, such as chronic kidney disease or gastrointestinal diseases as two examples, which actually change the smell of your dog’s breath. 

In all these scenarios, knowing your canine friend well, regularly monitoring him and taking note when things seem a little different or off, will really help to identify issues early on as well as prevent further problems.

Working closely with your veterinarian and taking your dog in for his regular dental assessments and routine scale and polishes will greatly assist in promoting good oral hygiene. 


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