Pet breath isn’t always the best smelling. Yet, really bad pet breath could be a sign of something serious.

 

What Causes Bad Breath?
As in humans, not brushing our teeth and poor dental hygiene can lead to bad breath and health issues. Improper care can cause build up of odor-producing bacteria in your dog’s mouth, lungs, or gut. Small dogs are notorious for having bad breath because they are more prone to tartar and plaque build up. Because of this, they may need more involved dental care than large dogs. Not to worry though, bad breath is often caused by dental or gum disease and your vet can recommend a treatment. 

Should We Go See the Vet?
Chronic bad breath or noticeable changes in your dog’s breath can be the first indicator that something is wrong. Your veterinarian can help diagnose the cause and is your best resource. Before heading to the vet, note if there have been changes in your dog’s diet, oral hygiene, exercise habits, or general behavior. Your vet may ask about these things and preparation always helps! 

How Is Bad Breath Treated?
Depending on the severity of the situation, there are several treatments your veterinarian may suggest. If it is only a plaque buildup, then a professional cleaning could be in order. If it’s a diet issue, you may have to look for a different food. Ask your vet, or visit their online store, to check on dental-health-specific diets. Hills, Purina, and Royal Canin all carry dental health lines.

 Is There Such Thing as Preventative Care?
Prevention can catch early signs of serious issues or disease. Catching plaque and tartar buildup, periodontal disease, and oral tumors early can save on costly procedures. We recommend:

Regular Check Ups. Veterinarians start checking your pet’s mouth on their first visit.

Annual Cleanings. Your clinic should perform these cleanings under anesthesia. This allows vets to clean beneath the gum line. For facts on anesthesia and pet dental cleanings, visit American Veterinary Dental College or speak with your veterinarian.

Teeth Brushing at Home. Keeping up on home brushing helps keep periodontal disease at bay! Ask your vet for tips and best practices.

Dental Chews, Rinses, & Toys. Your vet, more than likely, carries all sorts of dental health items for your pet. Check their online store or chat with them at your next visit.

Keeping your pet on the right path with regular checkups, home brushings, and preventative care will certainly help keep the stink at bay! It’s good to be aware that it might indicate oral trouble, and to schedule a visit with your vet if the problem persists.

 

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Sources:

AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. (2017, Jan). Retrieved from AAHA: https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/about_aaha/why_accreditation_matters/guidelines_position_statements/aaha_dental_care_guidelines_for_dogs_and_cats.aspx

In-Depth Articles: Caring for Your Pet's Teeth At Home. (2016, Feb 2). Retrieved from Compassion Animal Hospital: http://compassionanimal.com/category/in-depth-articles/

Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian about Pet Dental Cleanings. (2017). Retrieved from American Veterinary Dental College: http://avdc.org/AFD/questions-to-ask-your-veterinarian-about-pet-dental-cleanings/

 

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