A lot of people assume that dogs always have smelly breath and that it is nothing to worry about. However, this is not the case and chronic bad breath can actually be an indicator of some underlying medical conditions as well as bad dental hygiene. This article contains more information on the causes and treatments for bad dog breath.
Most commonly, halitosis in dogs is caused by poor dental hygiene or gum disease. Some dogs are more susceptible to a build-up of plaque and tartar - this is especially true of small dogs. Bad breath that won't go away can be a sign of a bigger problem, such as an issue with the digestive system, kidneys, liver or respiratory system.
When to see the vet
If you are uncertain as to the cause of the bad breath, take your dog to the vet. They will do a full physical examination, and possibly do some tests. They are also likely to ask questions regarding the diet, exercise, and oral hygiene of your dog. If your dog has sweet or fruity smelling breath or very foul breath that is accompanied by other symptoms, such as vomiting and lack of appetite, you should consult your vet straight away, as these can be signs of diabetes, liver or kidney problems.
Depending on the diagnosis of the cause of the bad breath, treatment can vary. If it is simply a case of bad hygiene, your dog will likely need a professional teeth cleaning. If the problem is your dog's diet, a change of brand or type of food may help. This should be done gradually so as to avoid upsetting the digestive system. If illness is the cause of the halitosis, your vet will suggest a cause of action. Bear in mind that you should consult a vet if ever you are concerned about your dog's health.
Preventive care is always easier than treatment, and if you can start this when your dog is a puppy, it makes things all the more simple. Ensure that your dog has regular check-ups with the vet to prevent any medical problems going undetected. Your dog should be fed a high quality dog food which is easy to digest, and there are plenty of treats available which are designed to be beneficial to the teeth. Hard toys are also useful as the dog's teeth are cleaned by the action of chewing on the toy. Finally, make sure that you brush your dog's teeth regularly with a special canine toothpaste - daily is ideal.