While people commonly assume that it's natural for dogs to have smelly breath, it is actually most commonly a sign of various conditions that may be affecting your pet. Today our Middlesex vets talk about why your dog's breath smells so bad and what you can do to treat it.

Why Does My Dog's Breath Smell So Bad?

One thing we typically correlate with dogs is bad breath. Different smells on your dog's breath can be entirely normal as your dog spends their time exploring the world with their mouth, but sometimes this smell can become so pungent that it can repel all but the bravest pup parents.

While we may think of it as normal, bad breath can be an indicator of something far more serious. Your dog's bad breath could be a sign of an underlying health issue, so although you may be tempted to just grin and bear it, it's important to take your dog to see the vet if they are experiencing chronic bad breath.

Oral Health Issues in Dogs

When it comes to smelly dog breath, one of the most common reasons is oral health conditions. These oral health issues range from tooth decay to gum disease and oral infections causing repulsive breath in your canine companion. Regardless of the precise cause, bacteria and food debris build up over time in your pup's mouth if not regularly cleaned away, resulting in plaque and a persistent bad smell. 

If you are noticing a change in your dog's breath and it is becoming unbearable, there is a good chance that this is due to dental concerns. This situation should be addressed as quickly as possible because if it is left untreated, the smell will become much stronger and your pet's oral health and wellbeing will continue to decline. 

Kidney Disease in Dogs

While the smell of urine or feces in your dog's mouth can indicate that your dog has a poop-eating habit that needs to be addressed, this is also a common symptom of kidney issues. When your dog's kidneys aren't working properly they are unable to filter and process toxins and waste materials as they should. This can lead to a buildup of these waste products in your pup's body which is both harmful for your dog's overall health and can create the bad breath that you might smell from your dog.

Liver Disease in Dogs

Liver disease is a possibility if your dog has recently developed seriously bad breath and their new scent is accompanied by more concerning symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. You should bring your dog to see the vet as soon as possible to have their condition diagnosed.

How Is Bad Breath In Dogs Treated?

As with most health conditions, the treatment for bad breath will depend on the underlying cause of the symptom and the severity. But once the condition has been treated, your dog's bad breath should begin to improve.

IF you are spending time with your dog and notice that their breath suddenly smells terrible, it's important to see your vet in order to get a diagnosis as early as possible, especially if your dog is older. Treatments are typically most successful and easiest when conditions are caught in the early stages. 

Treatments for your dog's bad breath can range from prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies and even surgeries depending on the cause and severity of the underlying condition.

Ways That I Can Help Treat & Prevent Bad Breath In My Dog

Unfortunately, not all conditions are able to be treated while you are at home, but one way you can help to treat or prevent bad breath in your dog is ensuring you keep up with a daily oral health care routine for your dog every day in addition to annual professional dental cleanings.

You should begin brushing your dog's teeth as early as possible so that they get used to the process while they are young, making teeth brushing in the future an easy task. This may sound crazy but spending the time when they are young to help them get used to the experience of tooth brushing can help to avoid more serious dental health issues when they are older.

If your dog is especially difficult when it comes to at-home dental care, you can purchase various treats and toys that can help to care for their teeth and scrub the plaque away while they chew. Ask your vet about these and other oral health solutions for your dog.

When it comes to preventing internal organ damage and disease that could affect your dog's liver or kidneys, there are also a couple of easy measures you can take.

  • Make sure to keep human medications out of your dog's reach. Many are toxic to pets and can lead to severe organ damage.
  • Ensure that any houseplants or foods within your pups reach are safe for dogs. Foods such as raisins and chocolate can be deadly for our canine companions, and countless houseplants can be problematic for your pup's health.
  • Keep known toxins locked up such as antifreeze which can lead to severe and sudden organ failure in dogs. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you have a hard time being in the same room as your pup when they have their mouth open contact our Middlesex vets to schedule an examination.