What Causes Bad Dog Breath for Bowling Green, KY Dog Owners?
Ewww! You just caught a whiff of Fido’s breath and man, does it stink! Why does it stink, though?
When most people think of bad breath in dogs, they might think of halitosis. This is just the medical term for bad breath and a trip to the veterinarian for a teeth cleaning should help with the problem.
In fact, about eighty percent of dogs will develop dental issues by two years old, according to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association)! You can also buy a toothbrush and some dog-friendly toothpaste to keep up with your dog’s dental health.
Ways to Fight Bad Dog Breath at Home
If your dog is less-than-happy about at-home teeth cleaning or if you just want to stay on top of good dental hygiene, you can ask your veterinarian about rinses for dogs, which are put in a dog’s water, or dental chews.
Keeping up with this not only helps with Fido’s teeth, but also can help prevent issues with plaque building up in vital organs, such as the heart.
Bad Dog Breath Could Mean Something More Serious
There are, though, other issues that can cause bad breath in your furry friend. An example of this is kidney disease. Kidney disease (and kidney failure) can create an ammonia smell in your dog’s breath because the waste products that are normally filtered by the kidneys build up in the bloodstream. This, in turn, causes bad breath.
Dogs Like to Eat Things That Aren’t Meant to Be Eaten
Another example of something that will cause your dog’s breath to smell bad is a substance that he/she got into. Many dogs love to eat things that aren’t exactly food. This could range from his/her own poo (gross!) to a less-than-sweet-smelling flower to something much more dangerous, like antifreeze.
The first two examples may just have gotten stuck on the teeth and, again, brushing on a regular basis can help (if your best furry friend absolutely can’t stay away from the enticing aroma of dead carcass or any other smelly thing, it’s best if you keep him/her away from it somehow), but if you suspect Fido/Frieda might have gotten into something toxic, get him/her to a vet right away!
The Food Your Dog Eats Could Cause Bad Breath
Even food might cause bad breath. Yes, Fido/Frieda may have gone snooping in the garbage, but sometimes, dog-approved treats and food can cause bad breath.
There are many drawbacks and bonuses to dry versus wet food, so you may want to do your own detective work if you suspect your dog’s food is the cause of their smelly breath.
Diabetes Can Cause Smelly Breath in Dogs
Diabetes (specifically diabetes ketoacidosis) doesn’t necessarily create a bad smell out of your dog’s breath. In fact, it creates a fruity kind of smell due to sugar in the bloodstream, but diabetes is actually quite serious, even fatal.
Diabetes can shut down your dog’s immune system, which, in turn, creates bacteria in the mouth to run rampant.
Tumors Can Cause Dog Bad Breath
Tumors in the oral cavity can be yet another reason why your pooch’s breath stinks. Often, an oral tumor’s growth is too fast for blood vessels to keep up, therefore causing dead areas.
Bacteria overtakes the dead areas, which then causes bad breath. Oral tumors vary in shape and size, so if you notice discoloration in Fido/Frieda’s mouth, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
Other Things That Can Cause Stinky Dog Breath
If you’re smelling a foul odor around the mouth, it may not necessarily be the mouth itself. Respiratory tract infections, such as nasal infections, nasal tumors, or sinusitis can create pus-filled pockets in the nose, which then leaks into the back of the throat. This causes bad breath.
Other causes for around the mouth (but not necessarily the teeth themselves) funky odor could be an infection around the mouth or smelly lip folds. For the latter of the two, it’s important to remember that if you have a dog, such as a bulldog or a Shai-Pei, and you bathe them yourself, you need to be washing and rinsing the lip folds really well, just like you do for the rest of your dog’s body. Leftover, forgotten soap can turn moldy in your dog’s creases and bacteria loves to grow in dark, damp places.
Further south in your dog’s body is the GI tract and that can cause many reasons for bad breath as well. When you think about it, this makes sense, as it’s the same way with humans. If we eat garlic or onions, for example, our breath will stink of it/them as well (P.S.A. don’t give your dogs these human foods, as it can cause kidney failure).
Megaesophagus and Bad Dog Breath
Megaesophagus, where the esophagus becomes swollen and inflamed, is one cause for Fido/Frieda’s smelly breath. When the gullet gets this way, food pools in it, so what you’re smelling is his/her old food.
Constant vomiting, due to a blockage or kidney or liver disease, could be another culprit. Let’s be honest: puke, whether it comes from a human or a canine, doesn’t exactly smell like a bucket of daisies!
It’s also important to note that unlike humans, dogs don’t have access to toilet paper, so when they have a GI issue and have diarrhea, they lick their bottoms to clean it up. The combination of chronic vomiting and diarrhea can cause Fido/Frieda’s breath to stink.
GI Issues Can Lead to Stinky Breath in Dogs
Sometimes, though, your dog’s GI issues may not be super obvious. Maldigestion or malabsorption can cause a leaky gut and allow pathogens to escape, going to the walls of the intestines and entering the bloodstream through the lymph nodes (like with a human body, lymph nodes are found everywhere in a dog’s body).
Once in the blood, odors can be released from the mouth and be the cause of bad breath. No matter what the GI issue, if your dog has minimal gingivitis, a GI disorder might be to blame and your veterinarian might prescribe probiotics (living microorganisms that are found in the intestines and, when taken, can help restore the natural flora in Fido/Frieda’s gut).
Monitor Your Dog’s Breath Closely and Look Out for These Signs
In conclusion, there are many, many things that could be causing your furry friend to have stinky breath. It’s important to discuss many of these with your veterinarian.
At Southcentral Veterinary Services, we’re here for all your veterinary needs. If you feel that your dog’s breath is out of whack, don’t hesitate to call us or make an appointment so we can find the right treatment for your furry friend!
About Southcentral Veterinary Services
Southcentral Veterinary Services is here to ensure that you and your pet can access a variety of high-quality, progressive medical services. Our aim is to serve our patients and clients with integrity, compassion, and a focus on being your primary family vet.