By Karen A. Soukiasian
A healthy dog should not have bad breath.
The reality is, approximately 80 percent of dogs do suffer from gingivitis or a periodontal disease by the time they are 5 years old.
Now and then a simple dental procedure such as a professional cleaning or perhaps a bad tooth extracted can save your pet from a lot of suffering. It should be noted, the older a dog gets, the more likely their breath will reflect their general health.
The most common causes of bad breath in dogs are countless. Let’s start with what they eat. Some canned dog foods, dry food high in fish oils, food too hard to digest, raw food diets, sneaking a snack or two from the cat’s food bowl, not to mention the litter box, can have a serious effect on your dog’s breath.
In some cases, it may not necessarily be their breath. Bearded dogs, and dogs that lick their butts or anal glands, often smell rather ripe. Keep a washcloth handy.
Other causes may be food or hair stuck between their teeth.
It could be something stuck in their nose. Veterinarians have pulled interesting objects out. They range from plants/weeds such as foxtails, to string, dry food, even toys, out of the noses of smelly dogs. In defense of the dog, on occasion they have found a young human co-conspirator assisted in the venture.
On a slightly more severe level, your dog could be suffering from a broken tooth, tooth decay, gum disease, a sinus infection, a respiratory infection or possibly an abscess in their mouth or throat.
The most critical source of bad breath in dogs can be caused by kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, lung disease, and oral or throat tumors.
The best thing to do is to desensitize your dog, while they are still a puppy, to having their mouth examined and their teeth brushed. Do not use human toothpaste. There are toothpastes made specifically for dogs. You can use a regular toothbrush, washcloth or a finger brush made for brushing your dog’s teeth.
Check with your veterinarian about having your dog’s mouth examined and their teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year.
Here are few home remedies dogs owners claim help to keep their dog’s breath tolerable in between vet visits. They include adding parsley to their diet, hard biscuits, dry food, a tablespoon of plain yogurt (no flavors or sugar/sugar substitutes) added to their food, baby carrots or carrots cut up into bite size pieces, raw bones, Nylabones and charcoal biscuits or tablets.
Bottom line: Don’t wait too long. If the bad breath problem persists, have your dog examined by your veterinarian.
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