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Why Does My Dog's Breath Smell so Bad?

Do you notice that you tend to pull away when your dog tries to cuddle with you or feel compelled to apologize to guests for the smell? Bad breath is a common problem among dogs, especially as they grow older, and it could be a sign of underlying health issues. Our vets in Santa Clarita can help you understand the possible reasons behind your dog's bad breath and guide you on how to treat or even prevent it.

What causes bad breath in dogs?

It's common for dogs to have a little bit of bad breath, and we often use the phrase 'dog breath' to describe it. However, the smell can sometimes become unbearable, indicating an underlying health issue. Although it's normal for your furry friend to have a slight odor on their breath from eating and playing, a strong stench could indicate kidney or liver disease, or oral health problems. It's important to pay close attention to your dog's breath and consult with a veterinarian if you notice any significant changes in their breath odor.

Kidney Disease

If your pup's bad breath smells like feces or urine, it may be a sign that they have recently eaten feces (which is something you should look into separately) or a symptom of kidney issues.

If your dog's kidneys aren't properly filtering and processing toxins and waste materials, their buildup in the pup's body may contribute to the foul smell of their breath and harm their health.

Liver Disease

If your dog has recently developed seriously bad breath accompanied by symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, they may have liver disease as the root cause.

Oral Health Issues

Dogs can suffer from bad breath due to various oral health issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. If left unchecked, bacteria and food debris can build up in their mouth, leading to plaque formation and a persistent smell.

Even if your dog's breath smells slightly unpleasant, it could be a sign of emerging oral health problems. If left untreated, the smell will worsen, and your pet's overall oral health and well-being will decline. Therefore, regularly clean your dog's teeth and take them to a veterinarian for check-ups.

How to treat bad breath in dogs?

The reason for your dog's bad breath is usually an underlying health condition. Therefore, treatment depends on the cause. Do not assume that bad breath is normal or caused by something minor. Take your dog to the vet for examination and diagnosis as soon as possible. 

our vet may prescribe medications, recommend specialized diets, therapies, or even surgeries to treat the underlying health condition affecting your dog's breath. The treatment will depend on which part of your pet's body is affected and how severe the condition is. Your vet will advise you on the best course of treatment for your dog's bad breath.

What can I do to treat my dog's stinky breath?

To prevent bad breath, maintain your dog's oral hygiene regularly. While you can't treat kidney or liver disease at home, you can take steps to prevent them. Brush your dog's teeth daily, starting from a young age. If your dog doesn't tolerate brushing, use dental chews and dog food designed to promote oral health instead. Consult with your vet to determine which oral health products are best for your dog.

To prevent organ failure or disease affecting your dog's liver or kidneys, take precautions to avoid toxic substances that can harm them. Certain human medications, common houseplants, and foods that are safe for humans can be toxic to dogs. Ensure that you know what substances are harmful to your dog and keep them out of reach as much as possible.

When might veterinary care be needed for my dog's bad breath?

If your dog has bad breath due to plaque and tartar buildup, a thorough dental cleaning at the veterinary office can help. During the cleaning, pets typically receive anesthesia as they often do not cooperate during dental work.

Yearly cleanings are recommended for most pets, but some may require more frequent professional cleanings.

If your pet has periodontal disease, it may develop deep pockets around the teeth as the gums start pulling away from them. These pockets can collect debris and bacteria, worsening your pet's breath.

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.

Is your dog's breath smelling different? Do you dread their puppy kisses? Contact Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic to schedule a consultation.

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Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our friendly and experienced vets are passionate about the health of Santa Clarita companion animals and horses. Get in touch today to book your four-legged friend's first appointment.

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