Bad Breath Is No Laughing Matter | Westchester Animal Hospital

Bad Breath Is No Laughing Matter

What Causes Bad Breath?

Odor producing bacteria in your dog’s mouth, lungs, or gut is the culprit for your dog’s bad breath. Bad breath indicates that something is wrong and should not be ignored. While periodontal disease is the most likely cause, it can also signal more serious conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease. You should seek professional veterinary help to determine the underlying cause of your dog’s bad breath.

Periodontal Disease

As food and bacteria accumulates in your mouth, it produces the sticky film known as plaque. Plaque builds-up and hardens when combined with salts in saliva to form tartar. Tartar can cause a lot of dental problems, including bad breath. Bacteria that isn’t treated will cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. When left untreated, infection between the gum and teeth develops leading to periodontal disease.

Health Problems

The bacteria in gum disease has been linked to heart disease and other health problems. To avoid unnecessary health complications, you should consider getting your dog’s teeth cleaned once a year. More likely than not, however, persistent bad breath indicates other more serious medical problems. These include diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease.

More Serious Conditions

While we highly recommend you seek the advice of a veterinarian, there are some things to look for if you notice a sudden change in your dog’s breath.
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A sweet smelling breath with an increase in urination coupled with increased thirst may signal early signs of diabetes
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A urine breath smell may signal kidney disease
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Foul breath and a yellowish color in the gums and corneas may indicate liver problems
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Foul breath, red or swollen gums, and a brownish crust around the gum line are indicative of gum disease

Treatment

The course of treatment depends on the cause of your pet’s bad breath. Your vet will perform a physical examination and request laboratory work to rule out certain conditions and determine the best treatment options. Your vet may recommend a dental cleaning and request additional information concerning your dog’s current diet. A change in your current dog food choice may be recommended.
Prevention
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Get dental cleanings during your annual checkups
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Monitor and track your dog’s breath and dental health
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Use vet recommended high-quality dog food
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Use a dog safe toothpaste and brush your dog’s teeth daily
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Settle on chew toys that help with natural teeth cleaning
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Provide dental treats to improve your dog’s breath