Fresh Breath

Doggie kisses are sweet, but stinky breath can quickly put a damper on your dog’s affections. Many people wrongfully assume bad breath is just “normal” dog breath, but foul-smelling odor can be a sign of something more. This includes cats!

Your pet is not expected to have minty-fresh breath at all times, but consistent whiffs of funky breath is not normal and may be a symptom of an underlying health issue. Here are a few common causes of bad breath and how to prevent it.

Possible Cause: Poor Oral Hygiene
Dogs require regular teeth brushing. Ideally, you should aim to brush their teeth daily – or at least weekly. Cats don’t like to have their teeth brushed…this we know. But people (ideally) brush their teeth daily, too!  Poor oral hygiene can lead to problems such as periodontal disease. Build-up of plaque and tartar creates bacteria that cause bad breath. Periodontal disease is when plaque and tartar build-up begins to push the gums away from the teeth, exposing new areas for bacteria to develop. This inflammation can lead to cavities, infection, tissue destruction, tooth loss… and yes, bad breath! If your dog or cat has a hard, yellow-brown crust near the gum line, pain or bleeding when you touch his/her gums, or swelling or redness…please make an appointment!

Potential Solution
Perform regular at-home teeth brushings using toothpaste designed for dogs and/or cats. Provide treats that helps remove plaque build-up through chewing and be sure to talk to Dr. Bischel about scheduling professional dental exams and cleanings.

Possible Cause: Dietary Habits
It’s the same as it is with humans: human food may increase the build-up of plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth if they often snack on table food. It’s important to limit these foods and be sure the food is safe for dogs to consume (some foods are toxic for dogs). Unfortunately, dogs may also be snacking on more unpleasant things such as remnants in garbage, cat litter, or sigh, possibly even their own feces.

Potential Solution:
It’s best to restrict access to these prospective culprits when dogs are unsupervised and make sure to pay attention to what dogs get into on walks or at the dog park. Also, be aware of what’s in your yard when your pup is spending time out there.

Limit canned foods for both dogs and cats, or avoid them completely. The crunchy, hard foods help keep teeth clean – it scrapes off tartar and residue as the pet chews.

Possible Cause: Health Condition
Some symptoms may require an appointment with Dr. Bischel. If your dog or cat’s bad breath has a sweet or fruity smell to it, this is typically a symptom of 
diabetes: a serious but treatable condition. Talk with Dr. Bischel about other symptoms to look out for if this may be a concern!  A urine-like odor to your pet’s breath is a warning sign of kidney disease, and warrants an immediate veterinary visit!  If your pet’s breath is truly foul and he/she is also vomiting, exhibiting lack of appetite, and/or has a yellow tinge to the gums, there may be a liver problem – which is vital!  Your pet should be seen immediately!

Potential Solution: Diabetes, kidney, and liver disease are all conditions that require treatment from a veterinarian. Once the underlying issue is resolved, the bad breath will be resolved, too. Dr. Bischel can get you started on the right path.

For fresh breath, be consistent at home with oral hygiene and speak to Dr. Bischel about any concerns you may have. There are many oral healthcare products on the market, so confer with her about recommended products to keep your pet healthy with breath fresh. Every pet is different and may require different preventative measures or treatment to keep you all smiling.

Sometimes…it can mean something more serious.
Please make an appointment when in doubt!

Possible Cause: Health Condition
Some symptoms may require an appointment with Dr. Bischel. If your dog or cat’s bad breath has a sweet or fruity smell to it, this is typically a symptom of 
diabetes: a serious but treatable condition. Talk with Dr. Bischel about other symptoms to look out for if this may be a concern!  A urine-like odor to your pet’s breath is a warning sign of kidney disease, and warrants an immediate veterinary visit!  If your pet’s breath is truly foul and he/she is also vomiting, exhibiting lack of appetite, and/or has a yellow tinge to the gums, there may be a liver problem – which is vital!  Your pet should be seen immediately!

Potential Solution: Diabetes, kidney, and liver disease are all conditions that require treatment from a veterinarian. Once the underlying issue is resolved, the bad breath will be resolved, too. Dr. Bischel can get you started on the right path.

For fresh breath, be consistent at home with oral hygiene and speak to Dr. Bischel about any concerns you may have. There are many oral healthcare products on the market, so confer with her about recommended products to keep your pet healthy with breath fresh. Every pet is different and may require different preventative measures or treatment to keep you all smiling.

ALWAYS Contact us for an appointment when in doubt!