Halitosis or bad breath in dogs is often caused by the presence of odor-producing bacteria present in the mouth, gut and even the lungs.
Bad breath is a red flag that all is not well with your dog.
It is a misconception that after a certain age dog breath stinks; bad breath is always indicative of health issues.
What Causes Bad Breath?
A vet will normally help you identify the cause by conducting a physical examination and also based on laboratory works. The most prominent reason for bad breath is poor dental hygiene and the build-up of tartar and plaque. Gum infection, tooth decay, and periodontal disease cause bad breath in your pet. You can detect inflamed gums by lifting the dog’s tongue. The several other reasons for halitosis in canines are listed below.
- Kidney disease: Kidneys eliminate the waste products formed during digestion. But when the kidney fails or is diseased these waste products build up in the bloodstream and can cause bad breath. If your dog’s breath smells like ammonia you must realize that the kidneys are not doing well.
- Ingestion of toxic substances: Sometimes dogs eat a lot of undesirable things that are harmful to their health. Unpalatable food, toxins like rodenticide, debris like fish hooks, sticks or antifreeze and at times even dead animals and feces when ingested by a pet will lead to bad breath.If you realize a toxin has been ingested contact your vet immediately.
- Diabetes: If your dog’s breath smells fruity or sweet it indicates that the dog is suffering from diabetes; uncontrolled diabetes leads to a proliferation of odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.
- Tumors in the mouth: Tumors grow very rapidly leaving several dead areas in the mouth; these areas are the breeding grounds for bacteria. If you notice unusual masses or discoloration in your pet’s mouth, get it examined by the vet.
How Can I Treat It?
To ensure that neither you nor your dog has to withstand the unpleasantness caused by halitosis ensure that your pet has regular health checkups to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
It is paramount that you maintain a proper dental hygiene for your pet and use only a dog-safe toothpaste for cleaning its teeth; human toothpaste is very harmful to the canine digestive system.