As lovable as dogs can be, they don’t have much respect for personal space. Pups love to share their kisses with anyone who is willing, and sometimes with those who are less than willing. Because of this, owners often find themselves up close and personal with their pup’s mouth. There are few things more off-putting than being licked by a pup with stinky breath. Wet and messy kisses can be enjoyable if your dog isn’t suffering from bad breath. If your dog does have bad breath, fortunately, there are several home remedies like dental chews, water additives, probiotics, and more.
Much like humans, dogs can develop bad breath for a number of reasons. Dietary changes, unhealthy eating habits like coprophagia, metabolic diseases, plaque and tartar build-up, and careless oral treatment by owners can lead to bad dog breath. Home remedies for bad dog breath give owners the power to turn those abhorrent kisses into lovable licks once more.
What Exactly is Dog Bad Breath?
Halitosis is the medical term for offensive odors that come from the mouth creating bad breath. Dog bad breath isn’t only repulsive, it could mean your pup is suffering from a health problem. While many cases of dog bad breath can be attributed to diet, such as digging through the trash, there are several other circumstances that may cause the halitosis.
Much like humans, dog bad breath is easy to combat if the right time and effort are applied to the issue. Halitosis often occurs due to the neglect of regular oral maintenance.
Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs
There can be many different reasons for bad breath in dogs, here is a shortlist of the most common culprits:
Bad Oral Hygiene
According to the American Kennel Club, the most common cause is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by neglecting to brush a canine’s teeth regularly. Generally, you should brush your pet’s teeth at least 2 to 3 times per week. Neglecting a canine’s oral hygiene results in a build-up of (smelly) bacteria in the mouth. That build-up can also be responsible for plaque and cavities.
Some Breeds Are More Prone
Surprisingly, some dog breeds are healthier than others. Small breeds may have longer life expectancies but they are prone to dental problems. Many experts note that smaller dog breeds and brachycephalic breeds (which are characterized by their short-nosed, flat-faced features such as Pugs and Boston Terriers) are more inclined to periodontal and other mouth diseases because their teeth are closer together.
Metabolic disorders, such as diabetes, may also be the cause of dog bad breath. If your pup’s bad breath has a sweet or fruity smell, diabetes may be the culprit. Diabetes may “suppress the immune system, allowing bacteria in the mouth to grow unchecked,” states Dr. Steve Barghusen, DVM, of Pet Crossing Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic in Minnesota.
Kidney disease or failure is another metabolic disorder that can cause dog bad breath. It can result in an ammonia-like smell on your pup’s breath. “The waste products that are normally eliminated by the kidneys build up in the bloodstream and then show up in the breath of affected individuals,” says Dr. Barghusen.
Overly foul or offensive dog bad breath coupled with vomiting and yellow gums may signal a liver problem. Like kidney disease, liver problems can be a sign of a serious condition that requires veterinarian assistance.
Dog bad breath can also be caused by respiratory difficulties. Inflammation of the nose, sinuses, or nasal passages can lead to dog bad breath. Inflammation of the throat or pharynx, called Pharyngitis, or inflammation of the tonsils, named tonsillitis, may lead to do bad breath as well. Gastrointestinal ailments, such as enlargement of the esophageal tube, can lead to issues in the main tunnel that connects the throat to the stomach.
Trauma and cancer are much less common causes of dog bad breath. Trauma can include electric cord injury. If your pup chews away at an electrical cord and shocks itself, the resulting electrocuted and seared skin in their mouth can give off a horrible odor.
Disgusting dietary habits will obviously cause dog bad breath as well. Some pups exhibit coprophagia, which is categorized as a dog’s habit to eat feces. Pups have a gross habit of enjoying cat feces, and some dogs may eat their own excrement as well. Other pups may find themselves getting into the trash, or snacking on revolting items such as roadkill or animal corpses. By ingesting these sickening items, dogs can develop bad breath immediately.
Symptoms of Bad Breath in Dogs
In the vast majority of dog bad breath cases, there aren’t any symptoms apart from a putrid odor emitting from the mouth. In circumstances where the odor is a disease of the mouth, symptoms may include loss of appetite or an inability to eat, the loss of teeth, excessive drooling which may have traces of blood, and pawing at the mouth.
Prevention of Dog Bad Breath
Smaller breeds often need more precise and constant dental care than large breeds. Smaller dogs are more likely to develop periodontal disease. This is because smaller breeds have teeth that are more confined or close together, which increases plaque and tartar build-up.
There are several home remedies to help prevent bad dog breath. The cheapest and easiest way to prevent bad dog breath is to brush your pup’s teeth regularly. Brushing your dog’s teeth reduces plaque and encourages excellent oral hygiene. There are some pups that may fight against getting their teeth brushed, but many dogs adjust with regular exposure to the task.
Oral Hygiene Pet Products
Other than that typical oral health products such as doggy toothbrushes and toothpaste, owners should invest in dental chews and water additives. Both can help facilitate good oral health for your pup, although owners should speak with their vet about which products would be best.
Chew Toys for Clean Teeth
Owners must provide their dog with a plethora of chew toys to help limit dog bad breath. Chewing helps to prevent plaque and tartar build-up. Keeping your pet busy with chew toys can also reduce the risk of them rummaging through the trash or getting into other habits that may add to dog bad breath.
Diet is also key to preventing dog bad breath. A quality, healthy, balanced diet will do wonders for your pup. By avoiding food and treats that can lead to metabolic disorders such as liver or kidney ailments, owners are positing themselves to stay one step ahead of dog bad breath and other serious health issues.
Looking for some healthy additives to add to your dogs diet? Check out this article next: 5 Best Superfoods for Dogs.
Home Remedies for Dog Bad Breath
There are many home remedies for bad dog breath. Luckily, they are all cheap and efficient.
Many vets recommend dental chews to combat horrible dog breath, but it is important to know which chews to purchase. Dog dental chews that contain breath-freshening chlorophyll are best. Owners should look for products that include clove and cinnamon as well, two ingredients that also help with halitosis is humans. Chlorophyll may result in greenish feces, so owners should not be alarmed if this occurs with their pup.
Chlorophyll is a green photosynthetic pigment found in plants. It is known for providing many health benefits for humans and dogs alike, such as reduction of arthritis inflammation, relieving constipation and unsettled stomachs, anti-aging benefits, acne treatment, and much more.
Drinking Water Additives
Owners can combat dog bad breath with liquids as well. Dental water and other liquid additives create a concoction of enzymes and chlorophyll that can help your pup drink away the horrible breath. It may take days for the additives to take effect, but by adding them to your pet’s drinking water, owners will get the relief they’ve been searching for.
Wheatgrass is also a useful home remedy for bad dog breath. Natural wheatgrass is high in chlorophyll and contains vitamins A, C, and E, as well as iron, magnesium, calcium and amino acids.
Probiotics provide another efficient home remedy for bad dog breath. It provides bacteria and yeasts that are good for your dog, especially the digestive system. Although when people think of bacteria they typically think negatively, probiotics are healthy bacterias that are good for both dogs and humans. Keeping your pet’s stomach and mouth inhabited by probiotics will cause a noticeable positive effect on your dog’s breath and overall health.
Some say that coconut oil is a miracle product that can solve almost anything. Add dog bad breath to the list of issues that it can help with. Some owners brush their pup’s teeth with coconut oil while others feed their pup a small spoonful with their meals every day. Both methods have been known to help digestion, boost the immune system, and help combat bad dog breath.
Much like coconut oil, Neem is considered another natural miracle product. Neem is a herb that comes from the neem tree, which is sometimes called Azadirachta Indica and Indian Lilac. While neem is most notably good for the skin and coat, it is also amazing for oral health.
No More Scavenging
Sometimes dogs forage food scraps from trash bins or they get ahold of an animal carcass while the are outside scavenging. Both of these cases can result in bad breath for the dog. To avoid this source of bad breath owners must take preventative measures.
The purchase of a dog-proof trash bin can stop your pup from getting into the garbage. Restricting unsupervised time outside can help prevent your pup from picking at the corpse of dead animals near or on your property. If your pup is a hunter and often finds itself with dead animals in its mouth, make sure to brush your pet’s teeth daily.
It is relatively easy and inexpensive to keep your pup’s breath smelling fresh. Home remedies for dog bad breath can range from buying a pup proof trash to introducing chlorophyll into your pet’s diet. By following the steps provided above, owners should be able to quell bad dog breath and enjoy getting kisses from their pup once more.
If your pup is experiencing bad breath that does not respond to home remedies, or if your pet’s breath gives off a distinct smell of urine, ammonia, or has a sweet hint to it, please bring your pet to the vet. These symptoms may hint at a serious health ailment.
Routine teeth brushing and providing healthy chew toys may help owners avoid any issues with bad dog breath altogether. Remember, it is always best to apply preventive measures whether or not your pet is experiencing bad dog breath!