Whether you call it “doggy breath” or halitosis, bad breath makes getting up close and personal with your dog the last thing you want to do. And, unfortunately, it’s all too common.
In dogs, as in people, bad breath often occurs when bacteria – laden plaque collects on the teeth. Unlike humans dogs don’t brush their teeth. This means the plaque, along with the smell, won’t go away. Worse, the bacteria can lead to gum disease, which gives off additional pungent odors.
How to Quell the Smell:
There’s really no reason to put up with your dog’s bad breath. By making a few changes in her diet and practicing basic oral hygiene, you’ll soon have her smelling sweet again – and you’ll be protecting her teeth and gums at the same time.
Keep her teeth clean. The easiest way to take the edge off doggy breath is to brush your dog’s teeth every day or so. Pet supply stores sell special brushes and tasty, meat – flavored toothpastes designed with canine taste buds in mind. At the very least, you can wrap a piece of gauze around your finger and quickly rub the surface of each tooth to remove food particles and plaque. For more information on getting her pearly whites really clean.
If your dog’s breath is truly overpowering or the teeth are distinctly discolored, you will want to take her to your vet or veterinary dentist to have her teeth professionally cleaned and polished before you start with her home care. Not only will you notice a big improvement in her breath, but once her teeth are clean they’ll be easier to maintain in the future.
Avoid Frequent Feeding. Changing your dog’s eating habits may also improve her breath. When dogs have food available all the time, their constant noshing makes it easier for plaque to accumulate. What’s more, the steady supply of food particles on the teeth allows bacteria to thrive. So feed your dog just once or twice a day.
Give her breath-friendly treats. If you give your dog the occasional table scrap or too many biscuit treats, don’t be surprised when her breath gets worse instead of better. Carrots, rawhide chews or nylon bones – especially the kind with raised “dental tips” – are better treats because they’ll remove plaque without adding calories. And before you know it, her “doggy breath” will become a breath of fresh air.
While bad breath usually means your dog need her teeth cleaned, it can sometimes be a sign that something else is wrong. Diabetes can change the smell of your pet’s breath, as can kidney disease. With both these illnesses, she will also likely drink and urinate more than usual and may lose weight. So if you notice her breath is a little different than the usually doggy breath smell, it’s best to get your vet’s advice.