Why does my dog have bad breath?

We all love our dogs, but their bad breath sometimes keeps us at arm’s length from our faithful four-legged friend!

After a meal, it is not uncommon for every dog to have bad breath.

However, if the bad breath persists for a more extended period, it is typically halitosis.

There can be many reasons for this, but before you do anything about it, you should investigate the cause.

Only when a serious illness or ailment can be ruled out should you try and solve the problem without visiting the vet.

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What is Halitosis?

Halitosis is the proper medical term used to describe this offensive odour from the mouth.

After a meal, it is not uncommon for every dog to have bad breath. However, if the bad breath (halitosis) persists for a more extended period, it needs to be investigated.

There can be many reasons for it, but before you do anything about it, you should always find the cause and seek the help and advice of your vet if needed.

Only when a serious illness or ailment can be ruled out should you try and get rid of the problem yourself.

What are the causes of a dog’s bad breath?

If your dog suffers from persistent bad breath, you should first look into their mouth and throat area. Oral and throat infections can be excruciating for the animal and can result in bad breath.

A dogs mouth is full of bacteria, and there are more than 600 different types. Bad teeth or sore and inflamed gums (gingivitis) could cause bad breath.

Tumours in the mouth and cavity area or on the tongue may also be a reason.

Signs of these may also include drooling, panting, movement or loss of teeth, lack of appetite, difficulty eating, reluctance to be touched on the head, facial swelling, and swelling of the lymph nodes.

Other causes of bad breath in dogs

  • Anal glands: If the dog’s anal glands are blocked, the dog usually licks the glands and spreads the stinking secretions to the mouth.
  • Gastritis: This disease gives a dog a bitter smelling breath. It will also make the dog vomit.
  • Liver or kidney disorders / Urinary disorders: The dogs bad breath can smell like urine and ammonia, especially with kidney disease.
  • Gastrointestinal or pancreatic disorders.
  • Diabetes is noticeable in a dog by a fruit-like bad breath.
  • Coprophagia (eating poo): This is quite normal behaviour for young dogs, but it is a habit you need to discourage!

If you are worried that a serious illness is the cause of the dog’s bad breath, you must contact your veterinarian immediately.

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Bad breath in a puppy

Bad breath usually only occurs in older dogs. However, it can also affect puppies.

Food residues in the mouth and inflammation or infection when the deciduous teeth are replaced can lead to bad breath.

If you suspect an underlying health problem behind the halitosis, you should contact a veterinarian immediately.

If you start teeth cleaning at a young age, it is less likely that there will be difficulties in the dog’s dental hygiene as it grows older.

What steps can an owner take?

As soon as any underlying issue has been ruled out regarding your four-legged friend’s bad breath, it is time to look at what can be done to get rid of it.

Bad breath can be prevented with regular care of your dog’s teeth.

However, this is easier said than done, as cleaning a dog’s teeth can be anything but easy!

Pet shops and online stores sell suitable toothpaste and toothbrushes for dogs. There are also special chews available for cleaning the surfaces of a dog’s teeth. These will all help in the battle against bad breath.

Dogs with a good appetite may benefit from a little finely chopped parsley or basil mixed with their wet food, which could also help alleviate the problem.

Generally, it is best to ensure that neither your dog’s food nor their “treats” contain added sugars.

Instead, try giving your dog fresh apple or carrot slices that they can chew, which will help get rid of plaque and tartar.

Moreover, ensuring that the dog feeding bowl is clean will help stop bacteria, which causes bad breath.

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High-quality dog food will help to prevent bad breath in your dog

All dog owners want the best for their pets.

Cheap and inferior pet food often leads to bad breath due to the low quality of the ingredients.

Healthy dog food is wholesome and nutritious and contains plenty of meat and a small amount of grain.

We strongly recommend choosing a feed with a transparent labelling system and declaration.

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