Our dogs love us. They love to slobber on us. They love to snuggle and cover us in fur. And they love to breathe on us. Pyewww! If a dog has stinky breath, we know it. Sometimes we can smell it coming from a mile away. But stinky dog breath doesn’t have to be something we live with every day.
Sometimes the answer is a simple tooth brushing. Afterall, dogs face many of the same health concerns as humans. Other causes of bad breath may be indicative of bacteria or fungus. And some cases can be severe medical conditions that require veterinary care.
Let’s explore causes and cures for our four-legged friends and get rid of stinky dog breath together!
Diabetes is increasingly common in dogs. When it goes untreated, the immune system becomes inhibited, which can cause bacteria to surge out of balance and develop an unusually sweet smell on the breath.
Sniff for a sweet, fruity smell on the breath. It’s the same with humans. An almost sickeningly sweet smell is pretty telling.
Be sure to eliminate other possibilities, such as eating flowers or berries, or lapping up some spilled perfume, lotion, or body soap. Then make that call to the vet for some testing and an actual diagnosis.
Despite our best efforts to teach our pups table manners, some of them just can’t help being attracted to the alluring scent or roadkill. Many will also go ahead and chew on branches and sticks, bones, and furniture. All of these can collect in our pup’s mouth, which can cause bacteria and even fungus to grow.
Sniff for unusually bad breath. A rotting stench is key. And we can watch for excessive lip licking or awkward chewing. This behavior can mean something is stuck in their cheek or teeth that is causing stinky dog breath.
Be sure to carefully and gently check our pup’s mouth for foreign objects and swelling where bone or splinters may have become stuck and are causing irritation and even an infection. We don’t floss dog’s teeth because they are designed differently from human teeth, but we can certainly pull out any grass or tendon that may have become stuck.
Any type of metabolic disease like kidney disease or a disorder that limits digestive enzyme production can cause bad breath. It can be genetic or develop later in life. Converting food into waste is an assembly line in our bodies, and when an organ or chemical reaction stops working or is inefficient, it’s considered a metabolic issue.
Sniff for ammonia. Bad breath with an ammonia scent is tell-tale of many metabolic disorders and diseases.
Be sure to visit a vet sooner rather than later to eliminate other possibilities and talk about treatment options if a metabolic problem is found.
Yup. This is a big one. In fact, gum disease is the single most common cause of bad breath in dogs and humans. Periodontal disease is found in 85% of all dogs and cats.
Look for very red, inflamed gums. Check for tartar build up on teeth.The vet will always check gum health at Fido’s annual exam, but it’s important to take a look throughout the year, especially if bad breath is developing.
Be sure to brush our pack’s teeth periodically. It may not be needed every day, but once a week can ensure healthy teeth and gums. Just be sure any toothpaste selected isn’t too strong and does NOT contain xylitol. This is highly toxic to dogs and can be found in gum, toothpaste, and an incredible number of other daily human products. There are also chew toys that promise concurrent teeth cleaning.
Toxins and Poisons
There is often a misconception that dogs can sniff out bad foods and will eat what’s good for them. Sometimes that can be true, but poisonings across the U.S. from the garden and household plants, to household cleaners, prescription medications and other toxic substances prove otherwise.
Sniff for new bad breath as opposed to chronic bad breath. Watch for other symptoms and side effects such as vomiting, loss of balance, lethargy, and lack of appetite. Then look for anything our fur-baby may have found, such as a spilled bottle of medication, antifreeze, or rat poison. Then look for plants that have been dug up in the yard.
Be sure to call the ASPCA Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435) when poison is suspected, and plan on making an emergency trip to the vet.
The Wrong Food
This can be a tough one because we all try to choose the best possible food for our pups. However, sometimes we end up choosing something we know they will eat or fall prey to the promises made by many commercial dog food developers.
Sniff for chronic bad breath when no other symptoms are present. While it could be something like garbage raiding, if the trash is covered and chronic bad breath has developed, dog food should be given serious consideration.
Be sure to carefully select a different diet that will eliminate potential bad breath culprits. For example, commercial food tends to have a lot of fillers, which can lead to bad breath on top of a multitude of other problems.
EcoEats is a dehydrated food that is the closest pet guardians can get to a whole food diet, without actually fixing a whole food meal. It has healthy fruits and veggies with important vitamins and minerals. There are no added fillers, and it doesn’t have the broken down nutrients found in kibble. Plus, it’s efficient. Just add water and protein.
We can love our pups without loving their stinky dog breath. It’s not normal to experience bad breath in most cases, and with just a few minor changes to our household or dog diet, we can easily avoid the problem. In some cases a vet visit might be needed, but isn’t it worth it if it means our fur-family is safe and happy?