Why Does My Livonia, MI, Dog Have Bad Breath?
Have you ever sat next to your dog and they lick your face? Such a nice gesture. That is, until you catch a whiff of their breath. How can one animal be so sweet and so stinky at the same time? This bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by a few things. But the good news is, you can help prevent your Livonia, MI, dog from constantly needing a Tic-Tac.
It’s Mostly the Teeth
There are several explanations for a dog having bad breath but the most common has to do with their teeth and gums. Adult dogs have around 42 teeth. Of course, they use them to chew their food, but they can also use them to chew other things such as toys, treats, shoes, couch pillows. You get the picture.
With all of these things going in and out of your dog’s mouth, odds are, most of these things aren’t necessarily clean. This is why it is important for your dog to get annual exams with their veterinarian. Part of this is an oral exam where the veterinarian can attempt to find the root cause of your dog’s bad breath.
Does My Dog Have Dental Disease?
Like humans, dogs’ teeth build up plaque. However, dogs cannot brush their teeth twice a day on their own. As the plaque builds up, it breeds bacteria and tartar which can cause tooth decay. Overtime, decay can cause periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, or infection of the teeth, can cause serious health issues, other than just bad breath. One of the worst but most frequent issues is heart disease which can be deadly if untreated or not caught in time. The earlier dental disease is diagnosed, the earlier it can be treated and other such diseases can be prevented.
Can My Dog Get Gingivitis?
Yes, dogs are able to get gingivitis as a direct result of plaque, bacteria, and tartar build up or periodontal disease. Gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gums, or gingiva, which often presents as inflamed, bloodied gums. Because gingivitis is often accompanied by (or, the beginning sign of) periodontal disease, the same bacteria that is produced by it can cause the same outcome: halitosis.
What Else Can Cause My Dog to Have Bad Breath?
Other than gingivitis, a dog’s gums can cause other issues. If you find that your dog’s breath stinks, it is important to bring it up with your veterinarian so they can find the cause. As mentioned before, it is most often due to periodontal disease but there are other, less common causes. One of these is oral cancer.
Other such ailments that cause bad breath are:
- Kidney disease
- Oral cysts
- Foreign material
- Persistent bleeding of the gingiva
- Liver disease
- Dietary indiscretion
How Can I Stop My Dog’s Bad Breath?
It cannot be said enough how important annual veterinary exams are for your dog. The best way for your dog’s breath to smell better is to find the root cause. If your vet diagnoses your dog with periodontal disease or gingivitis, they will probably recommend a dental cleaning.
In veterinary medicine, a dental cleaning is an anesthetic procedure that take some time but almost always resolves halitosis. However, sometimes exams or cleanings are not feasible whether due to financial or scheduling conflicts. Less recommended options include special dental chews or water additives that are supposed to help break away disease-causing plaque and tartar. These things can often be found over the counter at your local pet store.
How Can I Prevent My Dog’s Bad Breath?
The best way to prevent your dog from having bad breath is by brushing their teeth. Yes, you read that right! Could you imagine going week, months, or even years without brushing your teeth? Why should your dog have to experience such discomfort?
There are specifically made doggy toothbrushes and toothpastes that can be purchased either through your veterinarian or your local pet store. The toothpaste is purposely chicken or beef flavored and very safe for doggy consumption. NEVER use your own toothpaste as it can contain poisonous ingredients and/or cause stomach upset. (Remember, your dog does not know to rinse and spit).
By brushing your dog’s teeth once a day, you can reduce the amount of plaque and tartar, therefore, reducing the need for dental cleanings. In other words, you would save money AND your dog would have fresh breath! What could be better? Don’t push your sweet, loving dog away just because of their bad breath. Now, you know how to prevent it!
Let Us Help with Your Dog’s Bad Breath in Livonia, MI
Our animal hospital offers dog teeth cleaning and other dental services that will help your dog’s bad breath be a thing of the past. Schedule a vet visit with us by giving us a call at (734) 464-6281.