For most dog owners, one of the favorite ways to spend time together is cuddling and being close together on the sofa, possibly even watching television together. Some of the appeals of being close to your pet can be diminished when you realize that your pet has such bad breath that you’d prefer to keep your distance.
Many owners have simply accepted this as a fact of life, something that is just natural for dogs, given the kinds of foods in their diet, and the fact that they don’t practice anything like the good oral hygiene that humans do.
While it may certainly be true that dogs don’t brush their teeth three times a day, it doesn’t necessarily mean that better oral hygiene wouldn’t improve their breath. Bad breath in dogs is not something that you need to accept as an owner, and it’s definitely something that can be managed if you’re willing to take the time and help your dog maintain a fresher mouth, so she can be a better company.
Causes of Canine Bad Breath
Your dog’s breath doesn’t smell bad because of the food it eats, nor because it doesn’t brush and floss afterward. The most common causes of unpleasant breath in your dog are really that bacteria is building up inside its mouth around food particles which have not been removed.
Dogs are really subject to the same kind of bacterial growth that humans are when food particles are left in the mouth, and not removed by brushing and flossing. Once those food particles stay a while, plaque builds up around them, and a yellowish-brown material called calculus eventually forms.
Both these substances give off an unpleasant odor, and they can cause even worse problems. If this situation goes on unchecked, it will eventually attack the teeth and gums in your pet, potentially causing gum disease and other problems with your pet’s teeth. Your dog will be irritated by the action going on inside its mouth, but of course, it has no recourse other than what you as master and friend choose to do.
If gum disease does is allowed to form, that will contribute greatly to the bad breath problem, and also jeopardize your pet’s teeth for the long-term. Needless to say, this should not be allowed to happen inside your dog’s mouth, and there are some very definite steps you can take to help alleviate this before it ever gets started in earnest.
More Serious Causes
In some cases, bad breath in your pet can be caused by a more serious situation, for instance, mouth problems, or issues which are developing in the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system, or even with internal organs. If you notice that your dog’s bad breath persists even after measures have been taken to remediate the unpleasant odors, it’s certainly worth taking your pet to the veterinarian for an examination.
If there is something serious going on internally, and you didn’t have it checked out, you would more than likely feel some major regret later on. Another telltale symptom of something potentially serious is when the bad breath condition develops very suddenly, where none was in evidence before.
When your dog’s breath is fruity or sweet, that could be an indication of diabetes, especially if you’ve noticed excessive drinking and urinating from your pet lately. If your dog’s breath smells like urine, that could be a sign of kidney disease, and any foul odor which is accompanied by vomiting might be a sign of a liver problem developing in your pet.
Treatments for Bad Breath
One of the easiest and most natural ways to help your pet maintain healthy gums, healthy teeth, and reasonably pleasant breath, is to provide it with products that aid in the cleaning process, and which are at the same time, at least tolerable to eat as food. There are a number of products on the market which help in this regard, and some of them even promote good health for the teeth by encouraging a good chewing action.
It might take a little bit of experimentation to find a brand of dog chews that your own pet will appreciate, but it’s certainly worth it, because if you can find one your pet likes, you’ll be able to make it part of the regular diet, and it can be a significant contributing factor to good oral health.
There are also some products which are not intended to be ingested by your pet, but which simply promote chewing action, along with at least modest cleaning action. Many of these are marketed as much toys or rawhides, and they can easily become your dog’s favorite chew toy.
You should be able to tell after a week or so of having your pet chew on one of these, whether or not it’s doing any good with oral health. There are also products on the market which are billed as tartar removal products, and if your dog will tolerate these, they can be very helpful also.
If you are a really committed master, you could even go all out, and buy your dog its own toothbrush and dog toothpaste, and try to establish a regular routine where you clean the dog’s teeth to the best of your ability.
While some dogs are not especially inclined to sit through such brushing sessions, if you can train your pet to sit at least semi-quietly through them, it will certainly go a long way toward improving its oral health and having much fresher breath for those pleasant evenings together on the sofa.