If you are a dog owner, it’s quite likely that at some point over the course of caring for your pet, you have dealt with the occurrence of bad doggy breath.
Foul breath, or halitosis, is caused by the build-up of bacteria found in your dog’s breath or even in their lungs or gut.
Often at the first smell of odor, you can combat and further issues can be prevented with some simple oral care.
This can range from a good dental chew toy or good thorough teeth brushing to visit to the doggie dentist. However, if bad breath persists or seems to you to be abnormal smelling or worse than what is should be, it is possible that it is, in fact, due to a more serious issue.
Whatever the case may be, halitosis should never be ignored.
What Causes Bad Breath
How does one determine what is the cause behind foul breath in your dog?
If the simple use of a toothbrush or dental chew doesn’t clear up the odor, then the best way possible to determine if your dog has more severe underlying issues, is a visit to the vet. In most cases, bad breath is a result of gum or dental disease and smaller breeds of dogs are especially prone to issues such as tartar or plaque buildup.
However, if the odor is persistent, refusing to clear up even with better attention to oral care, it could indicate a greater problem in the respiratory system, internal organs or gastrointestinal tract.
When you visit your veterinarian, they can run a full check up to try to pinpoint what the exact cause of the halitosis might be. They can even run lab work for a thorough and complete investigation.
When you visit your vet be aware and ready for whatever questions they will ask concerning your dog’s general health and habits. Be prepared to give details on their diet, exercise habits, dental and oral hygiene and general behavior.
If you are unsure whether or not your dog’s bad breath should be treated with a simple home remedy such as a dental chew or if it warrants a visit to the vet, there are a few indicators that can be watched out for to help you determine what your dog needs.
If your dog develops sudden foul breath with an odor that seems new or unusual to you, it is probably a good idea to consider a visit to the vet. If their foul breath is persistent, only seeming to get worse despite whatever home remedies you might initially try, you should likely take them to your vet or dog dentist.
If your dog’s breath takes on an oddly sweet or fruity odor, it can be indicative of diabetes. Should the odor be accompanied by their frequent urination or drinking, take this as an even greater sign that diabetes could be present.
If their breath takes on the odor of urine, this indicates kidney issues. If your dog’s breath takes on an abnormally strong odor and is accompanied by a yellow tint in their eyes and teeth and vomiting this could be a sign of serious liver issues.
Other issues that foul breath could indicate include, sinus infections, cancers and more.
In the least extreme cases of bad breath, your vet may recommend an easy fix.
A simple dental chew, or more regular dental care, either by you or in the form of more regular trips to the doggie dentist, may be all that is needed to clear up bad breath.
Should your dog require a little extra effort to clear up the halitosis, there are some home remedies that can be put to use.
Doggie Mouthwash – This remedy is simpler than it sounds. All it requires is putting a drinking additive, such as veterinary Biotene or Synergy Dental Fresh into your dog’s water bowl.
Doggie Mints – These can be purchased or made by hand from recipes easily found online. Whichever route you choose, these little tastes are helpful in keeping bad breath at bay.
Food Additives – Products such as Proden Plaqueoff and PawMax Dental Sprinkles are sprinkled on top of your dog’s food when they eat to help minimize bad breath.
Tartar Control – When brushing your dog’s teeth, it is extremely helpful to choose products that are designed to help control tartar build up. A few examples include doggie dental foams and brushing gels.
Orapup – Orapup was invented and introduced by the company Orabrush, as an additional preventative solution that would appeal to dogs of all breeds, sizes, and dispositions.
Designed to help clear off bacteria from your dog’s tongue to prevent build up on their teeth as well as keep bad breath in check, the brush comes in the shape of a paddle with an easy to hold angled handled.
Available in several different colors, the brush is designed with flexible, soft bristles on the surface that gentle but effectively clean your dog’s tongue. It measures roughly 4 inches in length and about 2.5 inches in width making it ideal for lickers in a range of sizes.
The brush comes with an accompanying product called Lickies to appeal to your dog’s sense of taste and entice them to use the brush. Lickies is a squirtable gel that comes in several different flavors that also promote various different health benefits.
The beef and bacon flavor promotes better breath while the cinnamon potpie flavor is designed to enhance your dog’s coat and skin and a third option promote joint health. Simply squirt the gel onto the bristled surface of the brush and let your dog get to work licking it clean.
Each 2 oz bottle is good for 20-30 uses and refills are available.
The gels are formulated with enzymes intended to help keep bad breath causing bacteria minimized. Ingredients for the Lickies include water, flavoring, brown rice syrup, grapefruit seed and grape seed extracts, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate as preservatives and papain and peptizyme enzymes.
Keep in mind that such methods as the mints, mouthwashes, and food additives are only short-term controllers for bad breath. Their use should not make up the entirety of your doggie dental care regimen.
After checking for and treating any more serious underlying problems, consistent dental care should become a routine part of caring for your dog and the mints and mouthwash should be used as supplements.
If Your Dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish
There are several things that could contribute to a dog’s breath smelling not just foul, but fishy in particular.
It is possible that it could indicate tooth or gum infections. If your dog is prone to chewing on everything it can get its mouth on, then it’s also a possibility that it could have gotten a cut inside the mouth that is infected.
Another thing to look for would be whether or not your dog has been licking its anal glands, especially right before a bowel movement as a fishy smell can result from blocked anal glands.
Maintaining Good Oral Health
Maintaining your dog’s teeth requires some effort and consistency on your part but it will serve to not only keep your pet healthier and happier but also to allow to enjoy your dog without cringe-worthy breathe.
Regular checkups with the vet and doggie dentist will help track the state of breath and teeth to be sure that no underlying health problems are the reason for bad breath. It is also recommended to feed your dog healthy, high-quality foods and provide them with safe chew toys that are designed to keep their teeth clean.
In addition, brushing your dog’s teeth daily with the proper doggie paste is considered ideal.
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