The American Veterinary Medical Association named February as National Pet Dental Health month. We’re creating awareness about it by talking about causes of bad breath in our pets, many of which are connected to dental health. Bad breath is a common condition that can make some pet parents hesitate when getting close to their pet.
Some causes are rather harmless, such as your dog just ate some cat poop, while others causes could be a sign of a serious underlying health condition such as diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. While smaller dog breeds, older dogs, and breeds with short snouts are more prone to having bad breath, a healthy dog shouldn’t have chronic bad breath. Bad breath is often a sign that there is periodontal disease that needs treatment.
In this article, we will explain the common causes of stinky pet breath, the connection between poor oral health and disease, prevention tips, and available treatment options. Learn how to fixbad pet breath for good.
The most common cause of bad breath is a buildup of bacteria on your dog’s teeth, called plaque. When plaque and tartar accumulate on the teeth, it provides a home for bacteria, which then invade the gums and cause the teeth to loosen. While a healthy mouth has bacteria in it, plaque promotes the growth of ‘bad’ bacteria that produce unpleasant odors, causing bad breath. If plaque isn’t removed, it can cause irritation and inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), which are the first signs of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease).
When left untreated, gum disease can be dangerous to your pet’s health. The bacteria enter the blood stream when your pet eats, and that can lead to problems with the heart, liver, kidneys and joints. It is difficult to tell from an oral exam just how far the dental disease has progressed. Much of it is not detectable until the pet is under anesthesia and x-rays are taken.
Despite gum disease being preventable with a regular oral hygiene regimen, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that roughly 80% of dogs have gum disease by age three. That’s a lot of bad breath! If you dog or cat has some foul breath, schedule a dental exam today!