Bad breath in dogs is a common symptom of an underlying health problem. In today's post, our Mamaroneck vets answer the question, 'Why do dogs have bad breath?', list causes that are often to blame, and offer tips for treating stinky dog breath.

Why does my dog's breath smell so bad?

Dogs often have bad breath. In fact, this is so common that people routinely joke about their dog's breath and scour pet store aisles for remedies to this problem. However, while it's normal for a dog's breath to smell somewhat due to eating, playing with toys, and generally living their lives, this smell can sometimes become unbearable and lead pup parents to wonder, 'What causes bad breath in dogs?'. 

Did you know that the stink of your dog's bad breath can point to an underlying health issue? Dogs' most common causes of bad breath include oral health issues, kidney disease, and liver disease. We'll go into further detail about what causes bad breath in dogs below. 

Oral Health Issues 

Tooth decay, infections, and gum disease can all cause dogs to develop bad breath. Food particles and bacteria can build up in their mouths over time, which leads to plaque accumulation and a persistent odor. 

If you notice a mild, unpleasant smell coming from your dog's mouth, this may be an early symptom of oral health problems. It's important to address these issues promptly, since they can worsen and impact your pet's general health and well-being. 

To make sure your dog's bad breath is not caused by poor oral health, take care of your pet's teeth and gums by scheduling a regular professional dental cleaning with your vet. 

Kidney Disease 

While your dog's breath may smell like poop or urine if they were recently eating something they shouldn't be, this may also indicate a kidney issue. 

When the kidneys are unable to process toxins and waste, these harmful substances remain in the body and accumulate, causing bad breath and becoming a significant health threat to your dog. 

Liver Disease

Bad breath, vomiting, and diarrhea are all symptoms of liver disease. This is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary intervention.

Treating Bad Breath in Dogs

When dogs suffer from bad breath, it often indicates an underlying health issue. The type of treatment your dog needs will depend on the cause of the bad breath. It is crucial not to ignore any changes in the smell of your dog's breath and take them to the vet for examination and diagnosis. It's essential to address bad breath as it may indicate underlying health issues that need immediate attention.

Your vet may recommend prescription medications, specialized diets, therapies, or surgeries to treat your pet's condition, depending on the severity and which part of their body it affects. Your vet can advise you on the best course of treatment for the underlying health issue causing your dog's bad breath.

Preventing Bad Breath in Dogs

Caring for your dog's teeth is relatively straightforward. One of the best ways is to ensure your dog receives regular oral hygiene care daily and professional dental cleanings annually. 

When it comes to at-home care, you can start by brushing your dog's teeth daily, especially when they are young, to help them get used to the experience. If your pup doesn't tolerate brushing, there are a variety of dental chews and specialized dog food available that can promote oral health. Your vet can recommend the best oral health products for your dog.

Preventing internal organ failure and disease that can cause bad breath is also important. You can take several easy measures to help your dog avoid these issues. For example, some human medications, common houseplants, and foods that are safe for us can be toxic to our pets. It's crucial to know which substances in your home could cause organ disease or failure in your dog 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.

Is your dog's breath worse than normal? Please contact our Mamaroneck veterinarians to book an exam for your pooch.