Why does my dog's breath smell so bad?

Stinky dog breath is a common occurrence but can be a sign of health issues. Today, our Edgewater vets why dogs have bad breath and how you can help to treat and prevent it.

Bad Breath in Dogs

The term "dog breath" refers to something that has an unpleasant odor because our dogs typically have a little bit of bad breath. While it's normal for your dog to have a slight odor on their breath from eating, playing with toys, and simply living their lives, this odor can sometimes become so offensive that it repels all but the most courageous dog owners.

What causes bad breath in dogs?

While you may be tempted to just grin and bear the smell, more often than not, the stink in your dog's bad breath is actually a sign of an underlying health issue. There are several different possible causes as to why your dog's breath smells, but the most common are kidney disease, liver disease, and oral health issues.

Oral Health Issues

Oral health issues are the most common cause of bad breath in dogs. This umbrella term refers to tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. Regardless of the precise cause, bacteria and food particles will build up in your dog's mouth if it is not cleaned on a regular basis, resulting in plaque and a persistent odor. 

If your dog's breath smells bad, it is most likely due to emerging oral health issues. If left untreated, the odor will worsen, and your pet's oral health and well-being will deteriorate too.

To ensure your dog's bad breath is not due to poor oral hygiene, take care of your pet's oral health and take them to the vet for regular professional dental cleanings.

Kidney Disease

If your dog’s bad breath smells like feces or urine, it can be a sign that they have recently eaten poop (which is a whole other problem), but may also be a symptom of kidney issues. 

If your dog's kidneys aren't functioning properly to filter and process toxins and waste, the buildup in the dog's body may be causing bad breath in addition to harming the dog's health.

Liver Disease

If your dog has recently developed extremely foul breath that is accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, he or she may be suffering from a liver disease. 

Treating Bad Breath in Dogs

The course of treatment for your dog's foul breath will depend on the underlying cause. Since foul breath is more of a symptom than a real health issue, it should go away after the root cause is taken care of.

You shouldn't automatically assume that a change in your dog's breath smell is normal. Since there are a number of potentially life-threatening reasons why your dog is showing signs of foul breath, it is imperative that you take him or her to the vet without delay for an evaluation. 

Depending on the severity of your pet's condition, your veterinarian may recommend a course of treatment that includes medication, a special diet, therapy, or even surgery.

Home Treatment for Bad Breath 

You can help alleviate or prevent bad breath by making sure your puppy gets the daily oral hygiene care they need and regular professional dental cleanings.

Brush your dog's teeth daily; acclimate your puppy to the sensation by doing it regularly while they are still young. There is a vast selection of dental chews and dog food made to promote oral health, so you don't have to brush your puppy’s teeth at all if you can't get him to tolerate it.

To find out what your veterinarian suggests for your dog's oral health to prevent bad breath, consult with them.

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 increasingly worse? Contact our Edgewater vets to book an examination for your pup.