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Bad breath in dogs commonly occurs but may signal underlying health issues. Today, our vets across Anaheim elucidate potential causes of your dog's bad breath and offer guidance on treating and preventing it.

Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs

Our dogs commonly have a bit of bad breath, which is why the term "dog breath" refers to something that smells a little offputting. While it's perfectly normal for your pup to have some smell on their breath from eating, playing with toys, and just generally living their lives, this smell can sometimes grow into a stink that repels all but the bravest pup parents.

And while you may be tempted to grin and bear the smell, more often than not, the stink in your dog's bad breath is a sign of an underlying health issue causing the smell. There are several different possible causes of bad breath in your dog, but the most common are kidney disease, liver disease, and oral health issues.

Oral Health Issues

The most common cause of bad breath in dogs is oral health issues, which is an umbrella term that includes health issues ranging from tooth decay to gum disease and oral infections. Regardless of the precise cause, bacteria and food debris build up over time in your pup's mouth if not regularly cleaned away, creating plaque and a persistent smell. 

If your dog's breath smells slightly, it is likely caused by emerging oral health issues. However, if they are left unchecked, the smell will become much stronger, and your pet's oral health and well-being will continue to decline. 

To ensure your dog's bad breath is not due to poor oral hygiene, take care of your pet's oral health and bring them to the vet for regular professional dental cleanings.

Kidney Disease

If your pup's bad breath smells like feces or urine, it can be a sign that they have recently eaten poop (which is a whole other issue), but may also be a symptom of kidney issues. 

If your dog's kidneys aren't working properly to filter and process toxins and waste materials, their buildup in the pup's body may be contributing to the bad smell of their breath and harming your dog's health! 

Liver Disease

If your dog has recently developed seriously bad breath and their new scent is accompanied by concerning symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, they may have a liver disease at the root cause of their symptoms. 

Treating Bad Breath in Dogs

Your dog's bad breath stems from an underlying health condition, dictating the necessary treatment. Resolving the root problem typically resolves the halitosis.

However, never dismiss changes in your dog's breath as normal. Promptly bring your pup to the vet for examination and diagnosis, as various causes of bad breath could indicate severe health issues.

Your vet may prescribe medications, recommend specialized diets, suggest therapies, or even propose surgeries depending on the affected body part and the condition's severity. Rely on your vet's guidance to determine the optimal treatment for your dog's underlying health problem causing bad breath.

Home Treatment for Bad Breath 

While you can't treat kidney or liver disease at home, you can actively contribute to treating or preventing bad breath in your dog by ensuring your pup receives routine oral hygiene care every day, along with annual professional dental cleanings.

Make it a habit to brush your dog's teeth daily, especially when they're young, to acclimate them to tooth brushing.

If you struggle to train your pup to tolerate brushing, consider utilizing a variety of dental chews and dog food specifically formulated to enhance oral health as an alternative.

Consult your vet for recommendations on oral health products to help your dog combat bad breath.

In terms of preventing internal organ failure or disease affecting your dog's liver or kidneys, you can take a couple of straightforward measures to safeguard your pup from these causes of bad breath.

Be mindful that certain human medications, common houseplants, and foods safe for us can be toxic to pets. Ensure you're aware of potentially harmful substances in your home and keep them out of your pup's 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.

Have you noticed your dog's breath getting increasingly worse? Contact our Anaheim vets to book an examination for your pup.

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Anaheim Animal Care & Pet Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Anaheim companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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