Bad breath in dogs…
You know the drill. Your beloved pet jumps up into your lap and starts happily licking your face. Except, you aren’t so happy – you’re desperately trying to do whatever you can to get away from the horrible stench emanating from your dog’s mouth.
Since dogs aren’t terribly fond of breath mints, there has to be a better way to deal with this problem.
Since canine halitosis goes hand in hand with a number of other health issues, it’s a good idea to head this problem off at the pass, even if your pet’s bad breath is mild or doesn’t present a huge problem for you right at the moment.
Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs
The primary reason for bad breath in dogs is a buildup of tartar in the area surrounding the teeth. Just like people, a dog will have small food particles that remain behind in the mouth after finishing a meal.
Over time, these particles will begin to decompose. This can create a perfect environment for oral bacteria to grow and thrive.
The bacterial eventually grows to form a plaque wall. This is a nasty combination of decomposed food, various minerals, and of course the previously mentioned bacteria. Associated oral infections in addition to plaque are what give your dog’s breath that unmistakable, foul odor.
This plaque can also cling to the bottom of your canine’s teeth. This will often cause inflammation of the gums. Left untreated, the will eventually recede.
As you probably know, inflamed gums will bleed, and this combination actually increases the amount of plaque that is present. The plaque (also known as calculus) appears as a sort of yellowish, hard coating around the bottom of the teeth.
Reversing Canine Halitosis
A mutli-faceted approach is essential to eliminating bad breath in dogs. Here are some of the primary ways you can help your pet:
1) Annual Checkups
Even if you aren’t a big believe in vaccinations or their boosters, it never hurts to take your dog to the vet once a year to get an overall checkup. Simply make sure that they include a dental exam. This importance of this exam increases dramatically as your dog ages.
To best reduce the formation of plaque on your dogs teeth, be sure to use a high quality, name brand dry pet food. Some companies even produce special dental diets that are designed to massage the gums and reduce plaque buildup.
Other brands add enzymes that will dissolve plaque over an extended period. One item to definitely avoid is soft, canned dog food. The increase of plaque in pets fed soft, canned diets is very rapid, and tends to degrade the teeth over time.
3) Teeth Brushing
Brushing your dog’s teeth is the most effective way to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Use a small toothbrush (a child’s toothbrush works well for this) toothpaste designed for animals – usually meat or salt flavored.
Using a tiny amount of toothpaste – the brushing part is more important then the toothpaste itself – focus your efforts near the bottom of the teeth at the gum line.
If you begin doing this when your dog is still a puppy, then the procedure will become routine over time. Even some older animals can learn to accept the toothbrush.
But not all of them, which leads to:
4) Oral Solutions
Veterinarians and even some dentists sell oral solutions that dissolve away plaque with various enzymes and help reduce bacteria.
If you can’t get your dog to tolerate teeth brushing, or you find it difficult to stay on a brushing schedule, then this is your best solution.
Eliminating bad breath in dogs may seem like a complicated task, but it really isn’t. Armed with knowledge, regular checkups, and with a toothbrush or an oral solution, you can once again enjoy your dog happily licking your face, without the nastiness of canine halitosis.