We’ve all heard of ‘morning breath’ – but halitosis isn’t a condition that’s limited to humans. Dogs can suffer too.
Nobody expects a dog’s breath to smell minty fresh, but sometimes it can be downright offensive. And because dogs like to have their mouths open a lot of the time, it can also be difficult to ignore.
So what causes bad breath in dogs?
There isn’t a single reason why some dogs have bad breath – there are a number of causes.
Peridontal disease, which results from too much bacteria in the mouth, is the leading causes of halitosis in dogs. It’s estimated that 80 per cent of dogs over the age of three suffer with periodontal disease. It can lead to tooth loss and even organ damage so it’s important not to leave it untreated.
Conditions such as diabetes mellitus, rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal passages), sinusitis and gastrointestinal problems can also be responsible.
Just like babies, puppies go through phases of teething and this can temporarily cause bad breath as bacteria gathers at the gum line before the new teeth fully emerge.
It also makes sense that bad breath can be linked to what your dogs eats. If your dog has a nasty habit of raiding the rubbish bin, or if your dog eats faeces (a condition known as coprophagia), it follows that their breath isn’t going to smell great.
How is halitosis in dogs diagnosed?
Your vet should be able to help you pin down the cause of your dog’s bad breath by thoroughly examining the inside of your dog’s mouth, as well as doing a whole body examination.
It is likely that your vet will need to anaesthetise your dog in order to carry out a thorough examination of the entire mouth. They may need to do an x-ray of the mouth at the same time to rule out the presence of any growths or foreign objects.
Often, brushing your dog’s teeth regularly can be the simplest way to keep bad breath at bay so it’s worth getting your dog used to having its teeth brushed from a young age. This can be supplemented by professional tooth cleaning at regular intervals if needed.
You can also ask your vet to recommend doggy treats that are specially designed to reduce plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
Keeping your dog’s teeth healthy is a great way to ensure they like the longest, happiest life possible. For other tips on this, check out this blog post.
Has your dog suffered with bad breath? How did you treat it? Let us know your tips in the comments.