A white dog pantingThe odoriferous quality of your pup’s mouth-breathing might be something to shrug off (dog’s will, after all, be dogs), but if you’re ever down wind of dog breath that’s particularly putrid, it’s time to take action.

Living with dog breath is a choice with sizable ramifications, but when pet dental care is addressed and managed, both of you will benefit. Your perks are obvious, but it’s your dog’s long-term health and happiness that are majorly affected. To support you in the full eradication of dog breath, The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center offer reasons why stinky breath happens – and how you can reverse it.

Red Flag

A majority of dogs over the age of three suffer (silently) from periodontal (gum) disease. While foul breath can be linked to other health issues such as diabetes mellitus, tonsil or throat inflammation, and GI issues, it’s often a direct result of gum disease. The good news? Dog breath – and its associated problems – is entirely preventable.

When Bacteria Goes Bad

Your pet’s mouth is a natural host to a variety of bacteria. Left alone, these bacteria react to food particles in the mouth and create a sort of slime over the teeth, commonly referred to as plaque. The minerals in the saliva harden the layer of slime, forming tartar, or calculus. This chemical reaction causes the teeth to appear yellow or brown, another tell-tale sign of gum disease.

What Lies Beneath

While this doesn’t sound aesthetically pleasing, the damage below the gum line is actually more critical. Deep pockets of bacteria can cause the gums to pull away from a tooth, causing it to loosen, fall out, or break. Over time, the jaw bone can deteriorate and fracture.

As if this weren’t bad enough, dog breath (as related to gum disease) can eventually lead to significant systemic illnesses of the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs.

Dangers of Dog Breath

You might notice dog breath in conjunction with:

  • Mouth sensitivity
  • Difficulty chewing or dropping food
  • Inappetence
  • Pawing at the face
  • Drooling
  • Inflamed gums
  • Change in preference from kibble to wet or canned food
  • Pain

Please call us immediately to get your pet the relief that he or she deserves.

Addressing the Problem

A proper dental exam and cleaning is only successful – and safe – when your dog is anesthetized. We understand the doubts and fears associated with this, and The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center can walk you through every step of the process.

At Home

We may prescribe daily tooth brushing at home in addition to supplements, such as antibacterial gels, anti-inflammatory gels, natural water additives, and certain toys and treats endorsed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

Some prescription diets have been proven to decrease the buildup of plaque. We can also work with you on finding the right food for your pet that reduces the risk of cavities.

The Pet Experts aim to help you in every aspect of pet dental care. Please let us know if you have any questions related to dog breath.