There’s not much of a worse insult than the term “dog breath”, but your dog really shouldn’t have bad breath just because he’s a dog. Bad breath may be a sign of many different problems from tooth decay, gum disease, an upset stomach or perhaps its just that he has consumed something far from palatable to humans (we all know that there appears to be nothing quite like a mouthfull of cowpat!)
Bad breath could, however, indicate a more serious condition and in some cases the type of odour may give you a good clue as to the cause:-
* General “dog breath” – a bad or nectrotic smell on the breath
When the smell is generally bad, it suggests bacteria in the mouth. Does your dog have an upset stomach? Has he eaten something different of late that hasn’t agreed with him or perhaps picked up a bug (it might be that one of your other dogs has been off-colour and passed it on to him).
Alternatively, it may well be that your dog needs to have his teeth cleaned professionally or perhaps even undergo some dental work such as the removal of a bad tooth. Check your dog’s dental hygiene and if you see any decay, bleeding at the gums or even a wobbly tooth, an appointment with your vet is advisable.
If you think you may need to look at dental hygiene for your dog, check out our blog here: Canine Tip of the Day: Keeping Teeth Clean
* A sweet smell like pear drops or alcohol
If you can smell a fragrance like pear drops or nail varnish remover, this could suggest a problem with your dog’s blood sugar levels, perhaps indicating diabetes or an infection. A sweet smell is something you should address as a matter of some concern and should not be left uninvestigated. Your dog may require medication for the rest of his life to control his sugar levels or simply addressing his diet may be enough.
* A smell of urine or ammonia
If you can smell an ammonia type odour on your dog’s breath, this could indicate a problem with the kidneys and an appointment with your vet should be organised immediately.
Please do not just accept bad breath as “normal” for your dog. It certainly isn’t and neither you nor he need to put up with it