Despite the common belief that bad breath, or halitosis, in dogs is a normal occurrence, it can be a serious problem. It can signify the presence of symptoms of an underlying disease or dental problems that might require immediate attention. The causes of halitosis in dogs are many, but can be broadly categorized into five main ones.
The most common cause of bad breath in dogs, particularly in smaller ones, is dental problems. The build up of plaque from saliva, food particles and bacteria cause bad odor to occur. This can be prevented by providing good dental care for the dog. Owners who do not look after their dog’s dental hygiene can make the problem worse by not addressing it. Plaque build-up can lead to gingivitis which could result in periodontal ailments. Apart from resulting in halitosis, this can cause permanent damage in the form of abscesses and loss of teeth. Untreated symptoms can lead to damage to the dog’s brain and jaw, thus, if the dog suffers from changed appetite, weaknesses, excessive drooling and bleeding from gums, veterinarian attention should be sought immediately. Brushing the dog’s teeth at least twice a week can help in this regard.
There is also research that suggests that bad breath in dogs can be attributed to diabetes. In this case, the breath has a plumy or fruity tinge to it. The symptoms of diabetes can include in an unusual increase in the water intake of the dog, or more frequent urination. If such symptoms occur, the owner should consult the vet to carry out the relevant tests and seek appropriate treatment for the dog.
Feeding the dog low-quality food can also result in the dog having bad breath. If the feed includes corn, soy or meat by-products, it could mean that the dog is eating food that is likely to create an artificial alkaline environment in its body that can lead to the build up of plaque and bad breath. This can easily be avoided by checking the ingredients on the labels of the feed box or can, and aiming to buy food that contains more natural ingredients than artificial ones.
Some veterinarians believe that bad breath can also be can indication of the dog suffering from kidney problems. In this case, the breath can be very rancid. It can also signify liver problems, if it is accompanied by vomiting, a yellowish tinge in the dogs eyes or its teeth. If the breath of the dog is particularly malodorous, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.
Some times foreign objects and growths in the dog’s mouth can also lead to bad breath. Food particles stuck between the dog’s teeth or tumor growths can be very fundamental causes of halitosis in dogs. Oral neoplasia, or tumors of the mouth, can cause extensive damage to the dog’s health if not treated in time and accurately. If unusual growth is found in the dog’s mouth, the owner should seek the advice of a vet at first priority basis.
Hence, dog owners should be particularly careful about the oral hygiene and the diet of their pets, as it can have a significant impact on their health, sometimes leading to fatal diseases if left untreated.