Bad Breath In Dogs
Although people often laugh about doggy breath, lots of dogs have breath that is normal for a dog and it doesn’t smell bad. However, bad breath in dogs can occur for a number of reasons. Most dogs get bad breath because they chew something or play with something that has a foul odor. If your dog eats doggy poop, then he will have breath that smells like poop, and that’s not pleasant. But he isn’t ill and the bad breath will eventually go away.
In other cases a dog may have bad breath for more serious reasons. Bad breath in dogs can be a symptom of a serious illness, such as kidney disease, or your dog could have dental disease. So, if your dog has chronic bad breath, and not just an occasional bout of bad breath from eating something nasty, you should definitely check it out.
Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, in dogs, may be caused by dental or other health problems such as:
- gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums
- periodontitis, or inflammation of tissue around the teeth
- an abscessed tooth
- a bone or even dog hair that become stuck in your dog’s mouth
- an ulcer in your dog’s mouth
- a foreign body wedged in your dog’s mouth
- a tumor in your dog’s mouth
- lung disease, such as lung cancer
- kidney disease
All of these problems can lead to very bad breath. Bad breath can be an indication that there is a serious problem in your dog’s mouth or elsewhere in your dog’s body. With kidney disease, for example, the kidneys normally filter out toxins and impurities from your dog’s body. When they aren’t functioning properly, as in kidney disease, those toxins build up in your dog’s body. One way to tell that something is wrong is when your dog has severe bad breath because of the toxins in his body.
In addition to very bad breath, you should watch for other signs that something may be wrong with your dog. These symptoms may include:
- an oral discharge
- pain in your dog’s mouth
- blood in your dog’s mouth
- problems swallowing
- problems eating or loss of weight
If your dog acts like he can’t chew or he is reluctant to eat, you should consider whether he may have problems with his teeth. Owners often assume that their dog is being picky or that they just aren’t hungry, especially if the dog is old. Many times old dogs, in particular, have teeth problems and can’t chew their food. They may start to lose weight. Owners may think this is a normal part of getting old. The fact is that the dog may have an abscessed tooth or other dental problem. A trip to the vet to have your dog’s teeth evaluated may be all your dog needs to help him start eating again.
If your dog displays any of the symptoms listed above, including chronic bad breath, you should take him to see a veterinarian. Your vet will try to determine the cause of your dog’s bad breath. Your vet will talk to you about your dog’s veterinary medical history and perform a physical exam. Your vet will also need to do an oral exam on your dog. This could require your dog to be placed under an anesthetic, but you will need to discuss this matter with your vet is you have concerns about it. Your vet will need to probe your dog’s teeth and gums to see if your dog has any gum or periodontal disease. It is estimated that about three-fourths of dogs over the age of three years have some periodontal disease. Your vet may also need to take x-rays of your dog’s teeth and mouth.
Your vet will need to determine the correct cause of your dog’s bad breath in order to treat it, whether it is a dental problem or some other issue. If your dog has an object in his teeth or mouth, your vet will need to remove it. If your dog has an oral tumor, it will need to be removed. If your dog has an abscessed tooth or other dental issue, it should be treated. Your dog’s teeth may need to be cleaned and scraped to remove tartar. Most dogs need to have this procedure done professionally once in their lives.
Obviously, if your dog has a lung or kidney problem, your vet will need to begin treatment.
Once the issue is under control, especially if it is a dental problem, you can continue to care for your dog’s teeth at home by doing the following:
Brush your dog’s teeth regularly. You can find dog toothbrushes for sale at pet stores and online, along with doggy toothpaste in flavors that dogs like. Do not use human toothpaste since it contains ingredients that are dangerous for dogs.
You can spray your dog’s teeth and mouth with a 0.12 percent solution of chlorhexidine daily for seven to 14 days. Chlorhexidine is an antiseptic and antibacterial for doggy bad breath.
Give your dog dental chews and hard chews to help him scrape his teeth. These products help keep your dog’s teeth clean. Some chews also come in refreshing flavors to improve your dog’s breath.
Bad breath in dogs can not only be treated but it can often be avoided if you take good care of your dog’s teeth.
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