Does your dog have bad breath? When I was growing up, smelling a dog’s stinky breath was considered a normal part of having or being around a dog. We called it “doggie breath” and if we would have heard of someone back then brushing their dog’s teeth everyday, they surely would have been labeled as the “crazy dog lady” of the neighborhood. Today, more dog owners are starting to understand that a dog’s bad breath is usually a symptom of a brewing problem that should be checked out and treated.
We’ve all been in that situation when a panting dog comes to you for affection, you reach out to show them some love, then Whew! Their noxious breath forces you to make a quick retreat. The poor dog, despite the sweet smile on their face, the odor doesn’t exactly put you in the mood to cuddle with them, right? Here are some possible reasons for that offensive aroma emanating from your dog’s mouth.
What Causes Your Dog’s Bad Breath
Dental or Gum Disease
With 80% of dogs over the age of three already having gum disease, the odds are pretty good that poor oral hygiene is likely the cause of your dog’s bad breath. Just like with us humans, halitosis can result from the buildup of odor-producing bacteria in the mouth. Without regular oral care, plaque turns into tartar which eventually leads to periodontal disease. Small dogs and brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs are especially prone to developing dental issues. Besides bad breath, other symptoms of dental and gum disease include red or swollen gums, bleeding gums, changes in chewing or eating habits, pawing at the face or mouth, excessive licking or drooling and loose teeth. Dental or gum disease is the most common disease found in adult dogs and it’s the most likely culprit of persistent bad breath.
Your Dog Ate Something Smelly
Occasional doggy breath can be caused by something stinky your dog ate. If your dog has a habit of raiding garbage cans, eating foul or gross things off the ground or consuming dog or cat feces, you’re probably going to notice their foul-smelling breath afterwards.
If your dog is still a puppy, the odor is probably caused by teething which takes place roughly between the ages of 3 to 8 months. You also might notice some small amounts of blood left on their toys after chewing. By the way, this is a great time to start getting your puppy used to the idea of having their teeth brushed.
Your dog may have bad breath if her diet doesn’t agree with her. Certain foods may cause gastrointestinal upsets with some dogs which can cause foul-smelling breath. Make sure you’re feeding a high-quality food that’s easy to digest and see your vet for recommendations if you think your dog’s food may be causing an upset tummy or bad breath.
Some other medical conditions that can cause bad breath include gastrointestinal, respiratory, liver or kidney issues as well as diabetes which produces sweet smelling breath. Issues that are local to the mouth such as sores, tumors, lip fold dermatitis, viral and fungal infections can also be a cause of rank odors.
On occasion, Haley’s had some pretty stinky breath but I can usually determine the cause and resolve her halitosis. Now that you know some causes of your dog’s bad breath, find out How to Get Rid of Your Dog’s Bad Breath.
How often does your dog have bad breath?