How to Control Bad Breath in Pets
Tips and Tricks
There is nothing fun about getting a slobbery wet kiss from a cat or dog with bad breath!
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is generally caused by excessive build-up of odor producing bacteria inside your pet's mouth, lungs, or gut. While most cases of bad breath can be traced back to poor oral hygiene, some cases are symptoms of more serious health problems.
Treating bad breath begins by identifying the cause(s) and taking steps to correct the underlying problems. Causes of bad breath include dental disease, oral tumors, tonsillitis, foreign material in the mouth or voice box area, and systemic diseases such as kidney disease and diabetes.
Bad breath in cats and dogs is most commonly linked to the build-up of bacteria in the mouth due to poor oral hygiene. In fact, bad breath is a common warning sign of dental disease. Periodontal disease starts out as plaque. Plaque is a biofilm that contains bacteria which causes gingivitis. Over time, plaque hardens turning into tartar. Plaque and tartar lead to swollen, inflamed gums, along with bad breath.
Abscessed teeth are common in dogs. Abscessed teeth can result from bad periodontal disease, or from a fractured or worn tooth that allows bacteria to move up the canal in the middle of the tooth to the tip where it causes an abscess to form. These abscesses can also cause bad breath.
The best cure for bad breath is to prevent it before it happens. In order to best keep your pet's breath under control, schedule a yearly dental check-up with your pet's veterinarian. Additionally, veterinarians often recommend that pet owner's brush their pet's teeth on a daily basis. Brushing teeth is the best way to cut back on tartar build-up and help control bad breath.
Additionally, give your pets access to safe chew toys. The natural process of chewing will help clean your pet's teeth. Chew toys also help reduce your pet's stress level and eliminate boredom. Be sure to use a chew toy approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). Chew toys that are too soft are a danger because pieces may be swallowed causing an obstruction. Chew toys that are too hard, such as nylon bones, break teeth. Rope toys can cause threads to get caught between the teeth.
Make sure your pet is on a healthy diet. There is one diet, Hills T/D, that is formulated to help reduce tartar. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations for your particular pet.
Finally, schedule regular dental cleanings with your veterinarian. Be sure your pet has his or her teeth cleaned at least once every year.
This is not a replacement for a veterinary consultation.
If you pet has bad breath, call us today to set up his or her appointment for an examination and/or consultation. (480) 893-0533
If your pet has not had a dental examination and professional cleaning within the last year, call us to set up their annual dental appointment!
For additional information of Dentistry, Dental and Oral Care, Brushing Your Pet's Teeth, and Chew Toys, please click on the links to our corresponding pages.