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Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

Bad breath in dogs is common and can indicate underlying health problems. Today, our Rockland County vets answer the question, 'Why do dogs have bad breath?', discuss the common causes and offer advice on treating stinky dog breath.

Why does my dog's breath smell so bad?

Dogs commonly have bad breath. It's so common that people routinely use the saying 'dog breath' to refer to bad breath in both pets and people. While it's normal for dogs to have some smell on their breath due to eating, playing with toys, and living their lives, sometimes this smell can become unbearable.

The stink in your dog's bad breath can indicate an underlying health issue causing the smell rather than just a result of their daily activities. Dogs' most common causes of bad breath are kidney disease, liver disease, and oral health issues. Below, we go into further detail about what causes bad breath in dogs:

Oral Health Issues

Dogs can develop bad breath from oral health issues, such as tooth decay, gum disease and infections. Bacteria and food particles can accumulate in their mouths over time, leading to plaque buildup and a persistent odor. 

If you notice a mild, unpleasant smell coming from your dog's mouth, it may be an early sign of oral health problems. Addressing these issues promptly is important, as they can worsen and affect your pet's overall health and well-being.

To ensure your dog's bad breath is not due to poor oral hygiene, take care of your pet's oral health and take them to the vet for regular professional dental cleanings.

Kidney Disease

While the smell of poop or urine on your dog's breath may indicate that they were recently eating something they shouldn't be, it could also point to a kidney issue.

When the kidneys fail to filter and process toxins and waste materials, these harmful substances accumulate in the body, causing bad breath and posing a significant threat to the dog's health.

Liver Disease

Bad breath, vomiting, and diarrhea are all symptoms of liver disease. This is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary intervention.

Treating Bad Breath in Dogs

When dogs suffer from bad breath, it often indicates an underlying health issue. The type of treatment your dog needs will depend on the cause of the bad breath. It is crucial not to ignore any changes in the smell of your dog's breath and take them to the vet for examination and diagnosis. It's essential to address bad breath as it may indicate underlying health issues that need immediate attention.

Your vet may recommend prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies, or surgeries to treat your pet's condition, depending on the severity and which part of their body it affects. Your vet can advise you on the best course of treatment for the underlying health issue causing your dog's bad breath.

Preventing Bad Breath in Dogs

Caring for your dog's teeth is relatively straightforward. One of the best ways is to ensure your dog receives regular oral hygiene care daily and professional dental cleanings annually. 

When it comes to at-home care, you can start by brushing your dog's teeth daily, especially when they are young, to help them get used to the experience. If your pup doesn't tolerate brushing, there are a variety of dental chews and specialized dog food available that can promote oral health. Your vet can recommend the best oral health products for your dog.

Preventing internal organ failure and disease that can cause bad breath is also important. You can take several easy measures to help your dog avoid these issues. For example, some human medications, common houseplants, and foods that are safe for us can be toxic to our pets. It's crucial to know which substances in your home could cause organ disease or failure in your dog and keep them out of reach as much as possible.

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.

Is your dog's breath worse than usual? Contact one of our locations in Rockland County to book an examination for your pup.

We are now accepting new patients!

At Rockland Veterinary we are passionate about animals and enjoy helping cats and dogs feel well. Contact our vets in Hudson Valley, North Rockland or Pomona today to schedule your furry companion's first appointment!