We all cherish the moments spent with our beloved four-legged companions. However, there are times when we’re faced with a rather unpleasant surprise – bad doggy breath. This can make it challenging to enjoy those intimate moments with our furry friends.
It’s crucial to note that bad breath is a common issue among dogs of all sizes, ages, and breeds. Shockingly, it is estimated that more than half of all dogs suffer from this problem. While some causes are normal, others may require immediate veterinary attention. Identifying the underlying cause early on is essential to ensure it doesn’t indicate a more serious health condition.
Oral Health: The Leading Culprit
The primary reason behind bad breath, or halitosis, in dogs is poor oral hygiene. Just like humans, dogs can experience tooth decay, gingivitis, infections, and even tooth and bone loss. Neglected dental care can result in excruciating abscesses, which may lead to further health complications if left untreated. One study conducted by the Department of Clinical Sciences at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences found that 80-89% of dogs aged three and above suffer from some form of periodontal disease.
Remember, the mouth acts as a gateway to overall health and wellness. Since bacteria reside abundantly in both human and animal mouths, it is crucial to maintain proper oral hygiene to prevent harmful bacteria from accessing the digestive and respiratory tracts.
To combat bad dog breath effectively, the first step is consistent and thorough cleaning of your furry friend’s teeth and gums. Over time, bacteria, tartar, plaque, and food debris accumulate, resulting in persistent foul odors. Brushing your dog’s teeth with a canine-specific toothbrush and toothpaste is the most effective method. However, it may take time and training for some dogs to adapt to this routine. Alternatively, you can introduce enzymatic food or water additives to remove plaque and tartar while providing additional dental protection against future buildup.
While dental-specific foods and treats are popular for plaque and tartar removal, keep in mind that they may not clean the teeth and gums as effectively as advertised, especially without complementary measures such as brushing. Mint-flavored dental treats are particularly favored as they provide temporary fresh breath. However, combining multiple dental remedies, such as daily teeth brushing along with the usage of a dental water additive or dental treats, tends to yield the best results.
Digestion: The Burp Factor
Believe it or not, digestive gasses, commonly known as burping, can contribute to bad breath in dogs. The most prevalent type of stinky burp is often referred to as a ‘sulfur burp,’ typically occurring after a protein-rich meal. Dogs fed exclusively on raw diets are more susceptible to these types of burps. Certain medications can also be a contributing factor.
If your dog’s breath emits a fishy or fecal smell, it could be a sign of periodontal disease. The high bacterial content in tartar and plaque (80-90% bacteria) contributes to a malodorous mouth if proper dental care is lacking.
Serious Illness: A Grave Underlying Cause
In rare cases, if your dog’s breath smells metallic-like, it could indicate a potentially fatal condition – kidney disease. Failing kidneys lose their ability to filter out toxins, leading to a buildup of waste materials in the body. This, in turn, results in bad breath. If your dog experiences vomiting, diarrhea, and metallic-like breath, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian immediately, as kidney disease can be fatal if not treated promptly.
The Solution Lies in Consistency
Fortunately, solving bad breath in dogs is a relatively simple process that requires a little knowledge and a lot of consistency. The cleanliness of our dog’s mouth solely depends on the efforts of their primary caregivers. Seeking advice from veterinarians or pet health professionals is essential in determining the best course of action for your dog’s specific needs.
Brandon Forder, also known as The Pet Expert, is the vice-president of Canadian Pet Connection. With over twenty-five years of experience specializing in pet health and behavior, Brandon is a certified expert in pet nutrition. He has authored numerous informative pet-related articles and possesses a wealth of knowledge on smart and responsible pet ownership. To learn more, visit Katten TrimSalon.