Let's face it, no one like the smell of dog breath. Not even dogs. But knowing what causes bad breath in your dog will help you understand how to control it.
Canine Oral Hygiene
The most common causes of bad breath in dogs are bad oral hygiene and periodontal disease. As in humans, the build-up of plaque and tartar in a dog's mouth can lead to the development of the bacteria that can cause bad breath. If your dog doesn't chew on thins and you do not brush its teeth or have his teeth cleaned, then chances are the build-up of plaque is the culprit. Poor canine oral hygiene can lead to periodontal or gum disease, and too much plaque and tartar build-up can pull the gums away from teeth, exposing areas for bacteria to grow. This can harm your dog's gums and can lead to cavities, tooth decay, infection and tissue damage. It also leads to very bad dog breath.
Some dogs are wonderful, well-behaved canines, but others have bad habits, and those bad habits can translate directly into bad breath. Dogs that regularly get into the garbage, or likes to eat dead animal remains will be more prone to developing bad breath. Dogs also like to eat cat poop, so if you also have cats in your home, then you might have a separate, systemic problem. Not only is this unhealthy, but it is also unhygienic. And, if cat poop weren't bad enough, some dogs eat their own poop or the poop of other dogs, a condition called coprophagia. This obviously will contribute to bad breath problems and can make your life very unpleasant.
Treating Bad Dog Breath
As important as it is to understand the underlying causes behind bad dog breath, what we really want to know is how to get rid of it. Curing bad dog breath depends on the cause, but luckily there are quite a few treatment options out there.
If plaque, tartar, and periodontal disease are behind your dog’s bad breath, then the best thing you can do is to take your dog to a veterinarian to get their teeth cleaned. Your veterinarian will run bloodwork to make sure your dog can handle anesthesia, and this appointment is also a great time to rule out any other potential causes for your dog’s bad breath. During the cleaning, your veterinarian may have to remove loose or damaged teeth, depending on the scope of the periodontal disease.
When it comes to unsupervised snacking, securing the trash and limiting your dog’s access to unpleasant outdoor finds, like roadkill, will resolve this issue. Placing the litter box outside of his reach is a simple solution that eliminates cat feces consumption, unless the cats are also pooping outside, and cleaning up directly after your dog can help prevent coprophagia.
Diabetes, kidney, and liver disease are all conditions that require treatment from a veterinarian. Once the underlying issue is resolved, your dog’s bad breath should go away, too.