Bad breath in dogs is as unpleasant as it is common. But it is still a symptom of an oral or digestive problem that we have to solve. That is why, in this article, which we have prepared from Las Almenas, we are going to tell you what are the causes that can cause bad breath in dogs and what we can do to improve this situation.
Health problems associated with bad breath in dogs
Many people believe that bad breath in dogs is normal, which is a mistake. The first thing you have to think about when your dog has halitosis is that there is something that is causing it, so it may be the first sign of a health problem.
What are those problems associated with bad breath in dogs? Here we detail them for you:
Gingivitis is a dental disease that affects both dogs and humans. It is characterized by redness, swelling and even bleeding of the gums. This gum disease is due to the accumulation of bacterial plaque which, in turn, can cause bad breath in dogs.
This bacterial plaque, when in contact with saliva, forms tartar that adheres to the enamel of the teeth. When the bacteria continue to reproduce, they make their way under the gums, causing inflammation.
It is estimated that 80% of dogs over 3 years of age have this problem, although in the case of small breeds, it can affect them even earlier.
If gingivitis is not controlled and the disease is allowed to progress, more serious periodontal diseases, such as periodontitis, can develop.
Periodontal disease or periodontitis is a group of dental problems that affect not only the gums, but also the jaw bones that support the teeth.
Periodontal diseases develop from the accumulation of bacteria between the dog’s teeth and gums, that is, when gingivitis occurs, which is the first stage of this disease.
This is when other problems and symptoms start to appear, in addition to bad breath in dogs. These are:
- bleeding of the gums
- Excessive drooling, with or without blood.
- Chewing problems that cause the dog to lose its appetite.
- Swollen mouth and face
- Abscesses in the mouth.
If despite these symptoms, we do not go to the vet, the disease that remains uncontrolled will reach a final stage consisting of bone loss and loss of teeth. But be careful! because periodontal disease can spread to other parts of the body, through the blood, affecting your dog’s heart, liver and kidneys, which can be disastrous.
In addition, it must be taken into account that losing teeth is not only a matter of aesthetics, but this situation will directly affect their chewing ability, their digestion process and their lifestyle in general. Therefore, before any anomaly in the mouth, even if it is bad breath in dogs, it is necessary to consult with the veterinarian.
In addition to oral problems, bad breath in dogs may be due to the consequence of other systemic diseases such as, for example:
- Heavy inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, which could be caused by tonsillitis.
- Tumors of the mouth, pharynx or throat
- Diseases and tumors of the digestive tract
- Renal or hepatic diseases
- Fungus infestation of the oral mucosa
- Metabolic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus.
In these cases, the veterinarian’s diagnosis is essential to determine the most appropriate treatment.
Other causes of bad breath in dogs
In addition to the possible diseases we have mentioned, there are other causes of bad breath in dogs:
Type of food
Did you know that diet plays a fundamental role in the prevention of bad breath in dogs? Yes, it does. Wet food, such as pate or homemade food, is more likely to leave debris between the teeth and form plaque than dry, kibble-based food. The same can happen with poor quality feed.
In addition to food remaining between the teeth, it is also common for foreign bodies to get caught in the oral mucosa or on the teeth. They can be small filaments of some plants or splinters that are also a focus of bacteria that can cause more serious problems, in addition to bad breath in dogs.
To avoid this type of problem, you should check your dog’s mouth from time to time. You may be able to remove them with your own fingers or with some tweezers and very carefully. However, if you cannot do it or if you see that the mucous membrane has become inflamed and the dog complains, the best thing to do is to go to the vet so that he can take care of it.
There are two moments in a dog’s life when teeth are loose. The first of these moments occurs when they are puppies and teeth change. The second moment occurs at an advanced age.
Although loose teeth are a natural occurrence in these life stages, they are still a danger. The gaps that remain are the gateway for germs and the perfect environment for the accumulation of bacteria. That is why, in a very short time, bad breath can be caused in dogs.
Poor oral hygiene
As you can see, most of the diseases that cause bad breath are related to tartar and bacterial plaque, so it is essential to maintain proper oral hygiene.
Dental plaque is the layer that is deposited on the teeth formed by bacteria, saliva components, food debris and cells of the oral mucosa. These bacteria produce sulfur compounds, which are responsible for bad breath in dogs.
When plaque is not removed frequently, it hardens into tartar, which is hard and more difficult to remove than plaque. Tartar is brown in color and is most commonly detected on the fangs and back molars. But in severe cases it appears on all teeth.
If plaque is not removed it will cause more serious diseases, such as gingivitis or periodontitis, which affects the bone that supports the tooth and can lead to tooth loss.
How to Eliminate and Avoid Bad Breath in Dogs
To eliminate bad breath in dogs you will often need the help of your veterinarian, especially if the cause is related to serious diseases and conditions. However, in prevention, you can do a lot for your dog’s health.
For this, from Las Almenas we advise you to:
Brush your dog’s teeth several times a week.
If you want to know how to clean your dog’s teeth or what kind of toothbrush to use, in our article “5 different ways to clean a dog’s teeth” ( https://almenas.es/5-formas-diferentes-de-limpiar-los-dientes-a-un-perro/ ) you can find out the answer to your doubts.
Start brushing them little by little and as if it were a game and offer them a reward at the end so that they relate it to something positive.
Provide your dog with good quality dry food.
As we have already mentioned, wet food produces more residues between the teeth. So it is better to give him kibble or similar preparations that drag some of the tartar when biting.
Many quality feeds include some ingredients that adhere to the tooth surface and prevent the formation of bacterial plaque.
Offer dental toys and snacks to clean teeth.
There are dental toys and tasty snacks that clean dogs’ teeth and gums. In addition, they help strengthen the muscles of the mouth, so they are a very interesting option to prevent bad breath in dogs.
On the other hand, avoid giving inappropriate bones or toys, which can splinter and get stuck in the dog’s mouth, leading to wounds and infections.
Use chlorhexidine rinses for dogs.
Like humans, dogs can also use rinses to reduce oral bacteria that cause bad breath in dogs. These are products that are added to their water, they are not usually flavored.
Have your dog’s teeth cleaned at the vet’s office.
If you see that your dog accumulates a lot of tartar, the best thing to do is to remove it frequently. To do this, your veterinary clinic can do a dental cleaning similar to the one performed by our dentists. But in this case it is necessary to sedate the dog so that he cannot move and the veterinarian cleans the mouth well and removes all the tartar.
Offer plenty of water
Dogs should drink plenty of water to keep their bodies functioning properly and to avoid the residues in their mouths that cause bad breath in dogs.
Now you know everything you can do to avoid bad breath in dogs and detect possible health problems.
If you have any health concerns, we recommend that you go to your trusted veterinarian. And if you want to tell us some tricks to eliminate bad breath in dogs, we will be happy to read them. Here below you have the perfect place to tell us about it or if you prefer you can do it on our Facebook and Instagram profiles and on our Las Almenas YouTube channel. With your posts and comments we all learn a little bit more about our furry friends!