While cuddling with your dog, you may have pushed his head away in disgust because of his breath. If this is the case, be aware that bad breath in dogs, also called halitosis, is a symptom that should alert you. A healthy dog does not have a breath problem; it is the consequence of a lack of oral hygiene or a possible illness.
What are the causes of a dog’s bad breath? How is bad breath treated in dogs?
Causes of bad breath in dogs
Several factors can cause bad breath in dogs. Halitosis is more generally caused by tartar that accumulates on the dog’s teeth and promotes the proliferation of bacteria. The appearance of tartar in dogs is mainly due to poor quality food (low-quality kibbles, treats, unsuitable food).
When a dog presents bad oral hygiene, it can develop a very frequent infectious disease in pets: the periodontal disease of the dog. It is characterized by the appearance of pie and dental plaque, inflammation of the gums, hypersalivation and can lead to the loosening or even loss of teeth. Older dogs are often affected by bad breath and periodontal disease, which implies a more regular dental follow-up.
But, even more seriously, bad breath in dogs can be caused by the development of abscesses or even oral tumors in the dog’s mouth or by an oronasal infection. If the dog does not appear to be abnormal in this area, the problem may be elsewhere.
Indeed, digestive disorders can cause bad breath in dogs. This can range from a simple bloating without severity to a more serious inflammation or even cancer of the digestive organs. Finally, diabetes or kidney failure is just as much of a cause of halitosis in dogs.
While the main cause of bad breath remains benign and can be solved with scaling, the origin of this unpleasantness can be more serious. Assuming that a healthy dog does not have a putrid breath problem, you should be concerned if you notice bad odors in your dog’s mouth.
My dog has bad breath: what should I do and what are the treatments?
The first thing to do is to visit your veterinarian who will examine the dog. Treatments can vary depending on the cause of the bad odor. If the veterinarian finds tartar on your dog’s teeth, he will inform you of the need to have a scaling, an operation that consists of removing plaque with the help of a vibrating device and which is done under general anesthesia. Depending on the condition of the animal’s teeth, he may remove some of them. The treatment ends with the possible administration of an antibiotic.
If the halitosis is not caused by tartar, then the veterinarian will proceed with various tests until the cause is found. He will start with a blood test and may complete the examination with imaging, urinalysis, and whatever else he deems necessary. Once the cause has been found and the diagnosis made, he will be able to propose an appropriate treatment.
Taking care of my dog’s teeth to avoid bad breath
Taking care of your dog’s oral sphere is the best way to prevent bad breath. By taking care of your dog’s teeth, you reduce the appearance of plaque and the risk of infection. How do I take care of my dog’s teeth?
The first step is good nutrition. It may seem trivial, but the size of the kibble plays a role in the cleaning of the teeth. Larger kibbles have a better abrasive effect when cleaning the teeth. Good quality kibbles are also recommended to take care of your dog’s teeth.
In addition, special treats for dental hygiene can be added: bones and chew strips, sticks, cookies, etc. There are many tasty treats that have a beneficial effect on your dog’s oral hygiene by fighting pie and strengthening his gums. Of course, these are still treated and should not be given in large quantities.
Finally, brushing your dog’s teeth helps maintain good hygiene and eliminate tartar and bacteria responsible for bad breath. With the help of a dog toothbrush or a canine toothpaste and a specific toothpaste for dogs, you can brush your teeth up to 3 times a week. Not all dogs enjoy this unpleasant moment, but by getting a young dog used to it from an early age he will be more likely to let it happen.