Dog Bad Breath: Why Has My Dog Got Bad Breath?

You love your dog with all your heart. You love when they lay on you, want to play, and even give you kisses – sometimes. While a lick from your dog signifies affection, it doesn’t always smell the best. You may even want to move away or immediately wash your hands or face. You might think it’s normal for smelly dog breath and just learn to live with it. However, it’s not. Why does your dog have bad breath? What can you do about it?

Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Bad?

With how common bad dog breath is, you might have believed it’s normal and there’s not much you can do about it. However, it’s not normal if your dog has bad breath.

What causes bad breath in dogs? There are a few reasons why your dog might have bad breath. Some of the reasons might even surprise you.

The first reason your dog has bad breath comes from their diet or allergies. What you feed your dog could affect their breath. For example, table food causes bad breath and could affect teeth and gums.

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In some cases, your dog might be allergic to ingredients in their dog food or certain table foods. Food intolerances often cause health ailments, like diarrhea, along with the bad breath. Luckily, there are ways you can prevent bad breath.

In cases where your dog seems normal but just has bad breath with their diet, you can change it and wait a few days. Alternatively, if you just changed it, you may have to wait a few days for your dog to adjust, provided they don’t have any health problems with the new diet.

In many cases, the reason your dog has bad breath is from dental or gum issues. Mouth conditions like gingivitis, periodontal disease, abscesses, ulcers, or cavities can contribute to bad breath in dogs.

Pet owners often don’t think to take care of gums and teeth in pets. It’s not mainly their fault, treats and toys often make claims to care for them without any dental intervention. Pet owners should keep in mind that certain breeds are susceptible to dental problems.

Another reason for bad breath in dogs is a medical condition. Sinus problems, lung issues, and throat problems commonly cause bad breath. Additionally, foreign objects trapped in the mouth, throat, or stomach can release odors too.

Underlying health issues typically present with other health problems, like reduced appetite, jaundice, vomiting, or specific characteristics of their breath. For example, urine scented breath may indicate kidney dysfunction. Some skin diseases that form around the mouth can occur in any breed of dog. This can cause an unpleasant smell and seem as though it’s your dog’s breath when it’s their skin.

We all know how dogs can get, especially when they’re puppies. They have a habit of getting into everything and chewing on what they can get their mouth on.

Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to them getting into the trash, eating their own poop, eating dead animals, or even getting into the cat litter. If their diet, allergies, and health conditions have been ruled out, it’s a good chance they’re eating something causing the bad breath.

Is Bad Breath in Dogs a Sign of Illness?

Yes and no.

There are many health conditions that do cause bad breath in dogs. However, it’s not always the root cause.

Generally, you’ll notice when your dog’s breath changes it’s due to their health. If your dog has bad breath all of a sudden, it’s time to go to a vet.

Some indicators include their breath having certain scents like fruity but bad, which could indicate diabetes. Urine-scented breath could potentially be a sign of kidney dysfunction. Additionally, many suffer from dental issues or gum disease.

Food allergies or changes in diet could lead to bad breath too.

When your dog doesn’t seem like themselves, you will want to take them to a vet for a full checkup. Symptoms of an illness typically appear in the following ways:

  • Loss of fur
  • Not wanting to be touched or pet/whimpering or cries when touched
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea/constipation
  • Jaundice
  • Uncontrollable bowels
  • Infrequent urination Increased thirst
  • Not as playful as they once were

When you notice any symptoms along with bad breath, it’s imperative you take your dog to the vet. If they don’t display symptoms, it’s still worth a check-up to avoid any complications or future health problems.

Halitosis in Dogs: How Do You Get Rid of Dog Bad Breath?

Depending on why your dog has bad breath will determine how you treat it. For example, if your dog suffers from halitosis, you’ll need to take your dog to the vet and undergo teeth and gum cleaning. If your dog has any further teeth or gum issues, they’ll need to be treated by either extraction or additional frequent cleanings.

You can purchase dental chews like antlers, bully sticks, or jerky. Never give your dog rawhide or cooked bones to prevent choking or internal damage.

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If your dog has a health condition, it can be treated to reduce or eliminate the bad smell completely. Digestive issues that cause smell could be eliminated by seeking a vet’s advice on your dog’s diet.

Dogs that have zero health issues or diet problems should be watched for several days. You’ll be able to spot and catch them on the off chance they’re getting into the trash or other objects.

Final Thoughts

The reasons for bad breath in dogs vary. Sometimes it’s a medical condition, other times it’s their diet or getting into the trash. It’s not normal and when your dog has bad breath, it’s important to discover the reasons why. After all, many times, it’s due to health issues that need to be treated to avoid further complications.

The good news is you don’t have to deal with doggy breath forever. There are preventable ways to eliminate bad breath and enjoy your dog’s kisses again.

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