While most pet owners think it’s normal for their dog to have bad breath, the truth is, a dog with severe bad breath may actually have serious underlying health or dental complications. Most often, bad breath in dogs is the result of an accumulation of odor producing bacteria within the mouth. The underlying cause of this buildup can be the result of numerous dental conditions, such as plaque and tarter accumulation.
If your dog’s breath smells bad, that’s a clue you should take your dog to the veterinarian to find out what exactly is causing the odor and how to treat it. Treatment is essential because while dental conditions are the most common cause of bad breath in dogs, more serious conditions can cause the odor as well, including respiratory complications and complications with the gastrointestinal tract.
Causes of Bad Breath
The most common cause of bad breath in dogs is a condition called periodontal disease, which is more commonly known as gingivitis is humans. Periodontal disease occurs when plaque and tarter have accumulated around the gum line, causing an infection to develop. This infection causes the gums to swell, bleed, and if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The bacteria caused from the plaque and tarter buildup is what causes the foul odor.
Other common causes of bad breath in dogs are abscessed teeth, mouth ulcers, and tumors of the mouth. If a foreign body has become stuck in the mouth and has become infected, bad breath can result as well.
Complications in the mouth aren’t the only things that can cause bad breath in dogs. Complications in other areas of the body can result in the odor as well. Lung cancer and other lung conditions are known to cause a dog to have bad breath. Severe kidney disease can also cause the foul smell.
Diabetes is known to result in bad breath as well. If diabetes is the cause, it’s not unusual for the breath to smell sweet or fruity. The dog will drink and urinate more than usual also. In most cases, the foul smell is the result of a hidden factor or illness.
Treating Bad Breath in Dogs
The only way to treat bad breath in dogs is to treat the underlying cause. There are many remedies that claim to cure the odor but in reality, they only mask the smell and don’t treat the cause. An evaluation by a veterinarian is needed to determine the underlying cause of bad breath in dogs and to set up an appropriate course of treatment. To prevent many of the factors that result in bad breath, it’s essential proper oral hygiene for your pet is followed.
“Bad Breath in Dogs” WebMD
“Dog Bad Breath” PetHealth
“What Causes Bad Breath in My Dog” VetInfo