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Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes & Remedies

Doggy breath is pretty common, but it can also indicate some health problems. Our veterinarians at Concord are here to break down the causes of your dog's bad breath and provide tips on how to treat and prevent it.

Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs

Our dogs often have unpleasant breath, which is why we use the term "dog breath" to describe a slightly unpleasant odor. It's normal for your dog's breath to have a scent due to their eating habits, playing with toys, and daily activities. However, sometimes this smell can become strong and repulsive, making it difficult for even the bravest dog owners to tolerate.

Although you might be inclined to ignore the smell, it's important to note that your dog's bad breath can actually be a sign of an underlying health problem. There are several potential causes for your dog's bad breath, with the most common ones being kidney disease, liver disease, and oral health issues.

Oral Health Issues

Dogs often have bad breath due to oral health issues, which can range from tooth decay to gum disease and oral infections. Regardless of the specific cause, bacteria and food particles accumulate in your dog's mouth over time if not cleaned regularly, leading to plaque and a persistent odor.

If your dog has a slight smell in their breath, it's likely an early sign of oral health problems. However, if left untreated, the odor will become stronger, and your pet's oral health and overall well-being will deteriorate.

To ensure that your dog's bad breath is not caused by poor oral hygiene, it's important to take care of their oral health and schedule regular professional dental cleanings with a veterinarian.

Kidney Disease

Is your puppy's breath smelling like poop or urine? It could indicate that they have eaten feces, which is a separate problem, or it might be a sign of kidney problems. When your dog's kidneys are not functioning well in removing toxins and waste from their body, these substances can accumulate and cause your dog's breath to smell unpleasant. In addition to the bad odor, it can also negatively impact your dog's overall health.

Liver Disease

If your dog has recently developed seriously bad breath and their new scent is accompanied by concerning symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, they may have a liver disease at the root cause of their symptoms. 

Treating Bad Breath in Dogs

The reason why your dog has bad breath will largely influence the kind of treatment they will require. Since bad breath is a sign of an underlying health condition rather than a health problem itself, it should dissipate once the underlying problem is successfully treated.

That being said, whenever you notice a change in the smell of your dog's breath you shouldn't assume its cause or that it is normal. Bring your pup to your vet as soon as possible for examination and diagnosis, since several causes of bad breath can be very serious health issues. 

Treatments at your vet can range from prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies, and even surgeries to help treat your pet's condition depending on what part of their body it affects and its severity. Your vet will be able to advise you on what the best course of treatment is for the health issue underlying your pup's bad breath. 

Home Treatment for Bad Breath 

While you aren't able to treat kidney or liver disease at home, one way you can help to treat or prevent bad breath in your dog is ensuring your pup gets the routine oral hygiene care they need every day in addition to annual professional dental cleanings.

You should brush your dog's teeth every day, spending the time when they are young to help them get used to the experience of tooth brushing. Either in addition to this or if you aren't able to train your pup to tolerate brushing, instead of brushing, there are also a wide variety of dental chews and dog food designed to promote oral health available.

Ask your vet what kinds of oral health products they recommend for helping your dog to stave off bad breath. When it comes to preventing internal organ failure or disease affecting your dog's liver or kidneys, there are also a couple of easy measures you can take to help your pup avoid these causes of bad breath.

Some human medications, common houseplants, and foods that are safe for our consumption are actually quite toxic for our pets. Make sure you are aware of what kinds of substances you have in your home that could cause organ disease or failure in your pooch 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.

Have you noticed your dog's breath getting increasingly worse? Contact our Concord vets to book an examination for your pup.

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All Bay Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Concord companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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