It’s not uncommon for a dog to have stinky breath, but chronic halitosis is not normal. The following information highlights the most common cause of halitosis. It also offers client tips that may help to fight against bad dog breath.
Periodontal disease is the most common cause for bad dog breath, and is also one of the most frequent problems seen during veterinary examinations. Developing through the growth of bacteria, periodontal disease occurs in two forms: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Form #1. Gingivitis
- In a healthy dog’s mouth, the animal’s gums fit tightly around its teeth.
- However, if bacteria begins to develop between the teeth and gum line, the gums are pushed out and away from the teeth.
- Once the gums no longer fit tightly, pockets of dental calculus (tartar) form from trapped food particles, organic matter and bacteria.
- As the buildup of tartar continues, gingivitis occurs as the gums become infected.
- Halitosis is a characteristic sign, along with gum line irritation and inflammation shown by:
Form #2. Periodontitis
- In a healthy dog’s mouth, the teeth are held in place by cementum and connective tissue called the periodontal membrane.
- If gingivitis remains untreated and continues to progress, periodontitis will develop, attacking the cementum and periodontal membrane, and causing:
- Infection of the roots of the teeth
- Loosening of teeth
- Eventual loss of teeth
- Halitosis continues through periodontitis, along with signs of:
- Reluctance to eat
- Shying away from having their head touched
- Difficulties when attempting to eat or pick up food
- Eating on only one side of its mouth
- Dropping of food as eating
- Swelling below the eye
- Sneezing after eating
- Purulent unilateral nasal discharge
- Food and water emitted out of the nose
- Oral-nasal fistula.
Have you considered dry mouth as a cause for halitosis?
Have you ruled out pica as a cause?
Client Tips for Fighting Doggie Breath
Tip #1. Talk to Your Veterinarian
Fighting halitosis caused by periodontal disease involves care provided both a thome and at the veterinary clinic. Talk to your veterinarian and ask for their recommendations to identify the types of dental care practices that will best fit the needs of the pet. These suggestions may include:
- Completion of a primary dental examination and evaluation in order to establish an initial set of dental records
- Scheduling routine annual dental examinations that include procedures to clean, scale and examine teeth
- Obtaining dental x-rays of the teeth and of the area below the gum line.
Tip #2. Daily Dental Care to Prevent Doggie Halitosis
Establish a daily regimen of at-home dental care that involves routinely cleaning teeth and gums using a brush and toothpaste made specifically for animals. Ask your veterinarian to demonstrate the best way to brush your pet’s teeth. Keep in mind these points:
- Starting the routine when the dog is young helps to reduce the animal’s chance of developing periodontal disease.
- Older animals can also be taught to learn to enjoy having their teeth brushed. Discuss handling techniques with your veterinarian.
- Sometimes, even with routine brushing, an animal will still develop periodontal disease. Talk to your veterinarian about using products designed to further remove tartar, plaque, and to control bacteria.
Tip #3. Diet to Control Doggie Breath
The abrasiveness of dry kibble will help to clean teeth. Dogs that are given a canned or wet food diet should also be offered dry biscuits and treats to help prevent plaque and tartar buildup.
Tip #4. Chewing Cleans a Dog’s Teeth
Chewing also helps to clean a dog’s teeth, helping to reduce plaque and tartar build up. However, care must be taken to avoid offering the animal an item that could cause the teeth to break or splinter. Talk to your veterinarian before choosing a chew snack or chewing toy.
Sometimes bad dog breath can be avoided. When a client voices concern over their pet’s stinky breath, it’s important to discuss the cause as well as offer tips for its prevention.
If you are interested in hearing about additional pet dental products, please contact your Henry Schein representative for further information!