Why does my dog’s breath smell bad?

April 13, 2012

Anyone with a less than appealing breath would be teased to have “dog breath”. Dogs should not have an undesirable breath especially if the owners ensure that the oral hygiene of the pet is maintained through regular tooth brushing. However, because these pets have the propensity to raid trash cans to eat spoiled foods, to dig buried “treasures” to eat rotting carcasses and to eat their own and other dog’s feces, it is not surprising if dogs would have stinky breath.

Halitosis is the medical term for the offensive odor that comes out from the dog’s mouth. Aside from the indiscriminate eating habits, the bad smell emanating from the dog’s mouth can be due to other factors. The dog may have a serious dental disease. The pet may be suffering from gingivitis, a condition that involves the inflammation of the gums. Gums of healthy dogs would be pinkish in color. A healthy dog’s breath would not be pleasant but it would not be stinky either. Dogs with periodontal disease will have brownish deposits on the teeth. A thin red line will be noticed on the inflamed gums. The inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth will cause the dog’s foul breath. Although cavities are not so common in dogs, bad breath of some individuals can be due to this dental condition. Build up of tartar and plaque that results to the accumulation of bad breath-causing bacteria occurs when dog owners neglect the dental care of the pet. The bad breath of the dog can be caused by oral ulceration and tumors and by foreign objects stuck in between the teeth and on the mouth.

Aside from oral causes, halitosis can be due to metabolic diseases. Bad breath that originates from other parts of the body can be due other medical conditions. Bad breath is one of the symptoms of lung cancer, serious kidney diseases and Diabetes Mellitus. The dog’s offensive breath can be caused by a gastrointestinal problem too. Megaesophagus, a condition where the enlargement of the esophagus occurs because ingested food is prevented from going directly to the stomach is another reason for the dog’s offensive breath.

Because dogs are social animals they will thrive in conditions where they constantly receive loving attention from the human family. However, the offensive odor emanating from the dog’s mouth will prevent the family from getting close to the pet. A dog owner has to take measures to address the pet’s condition not only because of this concern but also because the source of the offensive odor can be a life threatening medical condition. More than being unpleasant and inconvenient, the conditions that cause bad breath can have significant impact on the wellbeing of the pet.

Halitosis treatment would depend on the underlying cause. Specific treatment for the underlying medical condition is necessary. Treatment plans will be geared towards managing the disorder. Given the fact that the most common cause of bad breath is oral problems, the dog would need dental care. Dental care is a part of grooming that is often neglected by dog owners. Once the dog has developed periodontal diseases no amount of teeth cleaning can get back the oral health of the pet. A vet’s attention will be necessary to professionally clean the teeth and to administer necessary treatments.

A dog owner can keep the teeth of the pet healthy by including dental care in the grooming routine of the pet. In doing so, the breath of the dog can be prevented from being stinky. A once a week tooth brushing will maintain the oral hygiene of the dog. Providing the dog with bones and rawhide chews will help in cleaning the teeth and in preventing plaque and tartar build up.

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