Don't Ignore Your Dog's Bad Breath
Even good boys get bad breath.
Does your dog need a breath mint? The good news is, you’re not alone. Anybody who has ever been the recipient of a warm slobbery kiss knows that many dogs suffer from a particularly foul brand of halitosis. It’s something most pup parents come to accept. Shedding, barking, chewing, and dragon breath.
But halitosis isn’t normal for dogs. In fact, it could be an indication that your furry friend is dealing with a much more serious health problem.
As John de Jong, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, recently explained to The Wall Street Journal, more often than not, a dog’s bad breath comes from periodontal disease, tooth decay or a continuing lack of dental care. Other stinky offenders include plaque buildup, loose or broken teeth, cavities, and localized infections caused by chewing on hard objects like antlers. On the flip side, diabetes can make a dog’s breath smell strangely sweet, and fruity.
Infections in the oral cavity can be particularly dangerous because they can lead to secondary problems. “If bacteria get under the gums and into the bloodstream, they can impact different organs that can cause conditions like bacterial endocarditis, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes, a lot of things,” de Jong told WSJ. If your dog’s breath is particularly foul for more than a few days, he recommends making an appointment with your vet.
Keep in mind that smaller dog breeds are more prone to oral problems than larger breeds. “I do not see many German shepherds or Golden retrievers with bad dental health, but Dachshunds, Yorkshire terriers, and other small breeds have far more oral disease in general,” de Jong noted.
As far as dealing with your pup’s bad breath, prevention is key. Two minutes of brushing (with a human toothbrush and dog toothpaste) every other day is usually enough to remove most bacteria, plaque, and tartar. If that doesn’t work, ask your vet about a dental cleaning. Some small dogs need them annually.
And most importantly, don't shame your stinky pup... they can't help it.