If a dog’s mouth smells bad, it is particularly unpleasant for our nose. Sometimes it can also be a sign of fundamental diseases of the oral cavity. So that you and your furry friend can breathe easy again, we have summarized the most important information about bad breath in dogs for you.
What are the causes of bad breath in dogs?
If dogs have bad breath, it can have various causes. The most common triggers include:
Bad dental care
Not only we dog owners, but also our fur noses need good oral hygiene. In order to stop the formation of dental plaque, tartar and inflammation of the gums, it is therefore very advisable to occasionally brush your teeth with a special dog toothbrush.
The mechanical movements and special ingredients in dog toothpaste help remove slimy plaque. As this consists of proteins and sugars, it is a perfect food source for bacteria that promote bad breath.
Inferior dog food
Some feeds have a very intense taste and smell. Treats made from rumen or beef scalp can cause bad breath in your dog. However, this should evaporate after a while.
Another feed-related cause of mouth odor in dogs can be feed with inferior ingredients or high sugar content. Because this can promote the growth of bacteria in the oral cavity. These absorb the sugar and then produce gases that cause the unpleasant odor.
Foreign bodies such as awns (small, bristly plant parts) or wood splinters that are speared into the mucous membrane of the mouth or wedged between the teeth are not uncommon in dogs. These are also a source of bacteria.
An occasional check of the mouth by the owner is therefore advisable. In most cases, you can gently remove the foreign objects with your fingers or a pointed object. If this is not possible or if the oral mucosa has already become severely inflamed, a veterinarian should remove it.
Dogs tend to have loose teeth in two different phases of life. On the one hand during the change of teeth in puppyhood and on the other hand in old age.
If a tooth loosens, germs can penetrate deeper into the oral mucosa. In the resulting deep tooth pockets there is a perfect environment for the bacteria so that they can multiply rapidly and lead to mouth odor.
Most dogs with bad breath have only mild plaque or gingivitis. In rare cases, however, bad mouth odor can also be caused by diseases of other organ systems. These include, for example:
- severe inflammation of the mouth and throat area (e.g. a purulent tonsillitis)
- Tumors in the mouth, throat or throat area (e.g. squamous cell carcinoma)
- Fungal infection of the oral mucosa
- diseases of the gastrointestinal tract
- Metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes mellitus)
- kidney or liver disease
Conditions that cause bad breath in dogs
Noticeably strong and long-lasting mouth odor should be checked by a veterinarian. Before each oral cavity examination, he measures the vital parameters of your four-legged friend (pulse, breathing rate, condition of the mucous membranes, etc.) and can thus assess the general state of health. In combination with the detailed owner survey, he can then rule out some causes of mouth odor. Only then is a thorough oral cavity examination carried out.
First of all, the veterinarian looks at the front part of the oral cavity. In addition to the front tongue and gums, this also includes the incisors, canines and front molars. If he can not see any abnormalities there, he also looks at the back of the oral cavity, the throat and the entrance to the trachea and esophagus.
Examination under anesthesia
In order to keep your dog as stress-free as possible during this examination and to protect the vet from the sharp teeth, an anesthetic is usually necessary.
If the anesthesia has been initiated, the vet can open your dog’s mouth wide and examine it in peace. He uses a tongue depressor to press his tongue down. A laryngoscope is also used to rule out foreign bodies or changes in the throat area. This medical auxiliary instrument has a lamp and thus enables a precise view of the larynx and surrounding structures.
To diagnose deep-seated dental diseases, an X-ray image of the mouth can also be created, while a tissue sample can be taken if there is any suspicion of tumor changes. In some cases, blood will also be drawn from your dog, which will be tested for inflammatory cells, among other things.
How can you prevent bad breath in dogs?
The best protection against bad breath is a thorough oral hygiene with dental care products for dogs and regular dental checkups for good dental health.
To keep your dog fresh, you can also use the following home remedies and tips:
- Tooth-cleaning chewing articles (e.g. chewing roots or dry food)
- special dog toothbrushes and dog toothpastes against putrid food residues
- Low-sugar and high-quality food helps against bad breath.
- Avoidance of slimy wet food
- Parsley is also said to help against dog odor.