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Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

It's not uncommon for dogs to have bad breath, but it could be indicative of underlying health problems. Our veterinarians at Ankeny are here to shed light on the possible causes of your dog's bad breath and offer helpful tips on how to treat and prevent it.

Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs

It's common for our furry friends to have bad breath, often referred to as "dog breath." This odor can stem from everyday activities like eating and playing with toys. However, sometimes the smell can become overpowering and off-putting, indicating an underlying health issue. Bad breath can be caused by kidney or liver disease, as well as oral health problems. As a responsible pet owner, addressing any concerning odors and seeking veterinary care if necessary is important.

Oral Health Issues

Oral health issues are the main reason for bad breath in dogs. This term encompasses a variety of health problems, from tooth decay to gum disease and oral infections. If not cleaned regularly, bacteria and food residue accumulate in your furry friend's mouth, resulting in plaque buildup and an unpleasant odor.

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. 

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 pup's bad breath smells like feces or urine, it can be a sign that they have recently eaten poop (which is a whole other issue), but it may also be 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! 

Liver Disease

If your dog's breath has started to smell really bad lately and they are also experiencing symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, it could be a sign of liver disease. This condition could be the root cause of their symptoms.

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 several causes of bad breath can be very serious health issues. 

Depending on the affected body part and severity, your vet may suggest various treatments for your pet's condition, such as prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies, or even surgeries. They can guide you on the best course of action for your pup's bad breath caused by an underlying health issue.

Home Treatment for Bad Breath 

Although you can't treat kidney or liver disease at home, you can help prevent bad breath in your dog by ensuring they receive routine oral hygiene care each day, as well as annual professional dental cleanings. It's important to begin brushing your dog's teeth when they are young to help them get accustomed to the experience. If brushing proves difficult, there are a variety of dental chews and dog food available that are designed to promote oral health.

Consult with your vet to determine which oral health products are best suited for your dog. To prevent internal organ failure or disease in your dog's liver or kidneys, there are a few simple measures you can take. Be aware that some human medications, common houseplants, and foods safe for humans can be toxic for pets. Keep these substances out of reach as much as possible and consult with your vet to ensure your dog is not at risk.

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 Ankeny vets to book an examination for your pup.

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Creature Comforts Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our Ankeny vets take the time to get to know our clients and treat every pet as if it were our own. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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