What to do About Bad Breath in Pets
Whether it’s pets or people, no one likes to be on the receiving end of a hot halitosis exhalation. With humans, most people make the connection between bad breath and something terribly amiss in the mouth, but that’s less likely to happen when it comes to our pets. While bad breath in pets is widely accepted, the truth is that halitosis warns of more dangerous problems.
Understanding the Implications
Smaller pets can develop halitosis more frequently than larger breeds, but no breed is considered immune to bad breath.
Aside from the day-to-day implications of bad breath in pets, halitosis is usually caused by periodontal disease. The very first whiff of bad breath shouldn’t be ignored; instead, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. A diagnosis can be confirmed with an exam and digital x-rays.
Beneath the Surface
Periodontal disease is scary enough to face, but bad breath in pets can also be linked to:
- Oral infection
- Diabetes mellitus
- Sinus or nasal congestion or inflammation
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Fungal infections
- Dietary deficiencies
As a result, we recommend routine dental care for pets. This entails daily attention at home in the form of tooth brushing or wiping down the gums after a meal. Also schedule a professional cleaning (or other dental procedure) under anesthesia every year.
A Great View
It’s understandable to approach a dental exam or cleaning with apprehension. However, placing your pet under anesthesia is much safer for everyone involved. A team of experienced veterinarians and technicians are on hand to monitor your pet before, during, and immediately after the procedure to ensure maximum safety.
Treatment for Bad Breath in Pets
Often, a cleaning or scaling of the teeth and gum line solves bad breath in pets, but it’s equally as common to extract loose or broken teeth. The full extent of periodontal disease isn’t known until full digital x-rays can be taken while your pet is under anesthesia. At that point, more work may be needed to ensure your pet’s future health isn’t placed in the crosshairs.
Don’t Ignore It
Left alone, periodontal disease (and the dangerous oral bacteria that cause it) can spread throughout the body, affecting your pet’s heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs.
If you ever notice these related symptoms, we urge you to take action:
- Discolored teeth (look out for yellowish or brown teeth)
- Lost, loose, or broken teeth
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- Excessive drooling
- Dropping food
- Pawing at the mouth
As we mentioned, daily tooth brushing can score high marks for your pet’s overall health (always use pet-safe products). Aside from this gold standard, your veterinarian may prescribe certain medications to control bacteria on infected gums. Likewise, many products are designed to help combat bad breath in pets, such as:
- Dental diets (Hill’s, Purina, and Royal Canin promote dental health through their food products)
- Dental rinses
- Chews (never offer your pet anything hard, such as bone or antler, to prevent breaking or splintering the teeth)
- Accepted products by the Veterinary Oral Health Council