Vet Blog

Bad Breath in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

August 17, 2021

Stinky breath is fairly common in most dogs, but it can be difficult for pet owners to discern whether their dog just has bad breath (halitosis) or if their stinky breath is caused by an underlying health condition.

There can certainly be a connection between oral health and canine halitosis. That's why Animal Care Center of Castle Pines offers professional teeth cleanings and dental care. We can help you keep your pet's oral and overall health in good shape so that you don't have to shy away from any puppy kisses.

Common Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs

There are many reasons why dogs get stinky breath. It could be something as simple as the food they eat, or something else they ate that they weren't supposed to (like garbage). However, sometimes bad breath indicates a more serious underlying health issue.

1. Gum Disease

Gum disease is the most common cause of bad breath in dogs, as bacteria build up along the gum line, which can lead to tooth decay and plaque buildup. The growth of this bacteria can result in some seriously gnarly halitosis. If left untreated, gum disease can be detrimental to your pet's overall health.

In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that 80% of dogs will develop gum disease by the age of three. You can combat gum disease in your dog by scheduling regular teeth cleaning appointments.

2. Imbalanced Oral or Gut Microbiomes

Keeping your pet's oral and gut microbiomes balanced can also keep their breath smelling fresh. An imbalance of good and bad bacteria can lead to stinky breath. There are several safe ways to rebalance your dog's microbiomes, especially if you consult a holistic veterinarian like Animal Care Center that specializes in integrative medicine.

3. Diseases or Health Conditions

Certain health conditions can cause bad breath in dogs. Persistent halitosis could indicate illnesses like diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease. Watch (or smell) for these signs:

  • If your dog has diabetes, ketone buildup could make their breath smell sweet, fruity, or like nail polish remover.
  • If your dog has kidney disease, their breath may smell fishy or similar to urine.
  • If your dog has liver disease, their mouth might smell like a dead mouse.

Does Your Dog Have Persistent Bad Breath?

If your dog's breath is so stinky that you can smell it from a distance, or if it keeps you from wanting to be near your dog, schedule a veterinary appointment right away. If you notice any sudden, persistent changes in your dog's breath, it could be something a bit more serious than just the usual slight stink of dog breath.

At Animal Care Center of Castle Pines, we'll take good care of your fur baby and do our best to treat the problem so that you can get back to enjoying sweet puppy kisses in no time. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.