Although it's perfectly normal for your dog to have some odor on their breath from eating, playing, and simply living their best lives, it can sometimes get to the point where this smell is repellent to all but the bravest dog parents. Nevertheless, bad breath in dogs is not a joking matter. Your dog's bad breath could signal an underlying health issue, so don't just grin and bear it. Take your dog to your vet if they are experiencing chronic bad breath.
What Causes Bad Dog Breath
Oral Health Issues
The most common cause of stinky breath in dogs is oral health issues, ranging from tooth decay to gum disease and oral infections. When left unattended, bacteria and food debris accumulate in your pup's mouth, creating plaque and a persistent bad odor.
When your dog's oral and gut health are in poor condition, it may also be exposed to other types of bacteria that can cause bad breath. A dog's oral and gut health are very interconnected, and when bad bacteria is present in the mouth, it may also invade its gut. Growing and flourishing bacteria produce gas that is absorbed into the bloodstream and finally exhaled out, causing awful breath.
A liver infection can cause a particularly foul smell that differs from bad breath associated with periodontal disease. A dog with liver disease usually shows other symptoms, such as vomiting, yellowing of the corneas or gums (jaundice), and a lack of appetite. Liver disease is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary intervention.
Having bad breath that smells like feces or urine could indicate that your pup has recently eaten poop (which is another common condition that should be investigated by your veterinarian) or a sign that their kidneys aren't functioning properly. As a result, your pet's kidneys are unable to filter and process toxins and waste materials as they should, causing a buildup of these waste products in your pup's body that is detrimental to their health and possible cause of bad breath.
How to Treat Bad Breath
When your canine companion is still a puppy, veterinarians suggest you begin brushing their teeth. It may seem crazy, but getting them used to brushing their teeth when they are young can help to prevent more serious dental issues later in life.
Tartar accumulates on teeth and gums, so giving the dog a bone will help get rid of it, along with the odors that come along with it. Choose a bone that won't splinter or hurt the dog, and replace them when smaller.
A few at-home remedies to consider are adding some parsley to their food, brushing their teeth with coconut oil, giving them apples and carrots, and feeding them plain yogurt.
Dogs can benefit from adding probiotics to their diets to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are naturally found in the intestines. When a dog consumes them, the normal intestinal flora is rebalanced. Once the gastrointestinal tract is back in normal health, the smelly breath will usually go away.