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Dec 11 2015

What can bad breath mean for your dog?


Halitosis is a common problem in humans. Other known as bad breath, halitosis may plague your dog as well. More than just a stinky nuisance, bad breath often means your beloved pet has health issues needing the attention of your Richmond Hill Veterinarian at Bayview Seven Animal Hospital.

The Common Cause of Bad Breath

While both humans and animals alike give off mild breath odor after strenuous activity or after sleeping, foul-smelling breath in dogs usually finds its source in periodontal disease. An advanced form of gum disease in which sticky plaque builds up on and between teeth and underneath the gum line, periodontitis is really an infection.

Oral bacteria thrive in the food residues that contribute to plaque and its harder counterpart, tartar. These microbes redden and irritate gum tissue and if left unchecked, pull gums away from tooth surfaces. Periodontitis also causes tooth mobility, tooth loss, and jaw bone recession.

Drs. Howard Covant and Peter Bell perform thorough oral exams on dogs who present with bad breath. They may also x-ray the mouth to confirm the diagnosis of gum disease.

To treat the problem, the veterinarian scales the dog’s teeth. Done under general anesthesia, dental scaling removes plaque and tartar so gums return to healthy, pink condition. Scaling also removes the source of breath odor. The doctor extracts decayed teeth and those with extensive bone recession.

To maintain the cleanliness of your dog’s mouth, your Richmond Hill Veterinarian recommends daily tooth brushing. If a dog owner begins this simple hygiene routine when the pet is a puppy, teeth will remain healthier longer and halitosis, well controlled.

Other Causes

Some dogs have bad breath because they have short snouts. Pugs, Boston Terriers and other dogs are what veterinarians call brachycephalic.

Other health conditions that cause doggie bad breath, include:

  • diabetes
  • sinusitis
  • tonsillitis
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • strong smelling foods

Physical examination, blood work, and other diagnostics should pinpoint the health problem.

Unfortunately, some dogs have bad breath simply because they eat their own feces. This is a distressing, but frequently occuring habit is also called coprophagia. Your Richmond Hill veterinarian recommends diligent removal of feces from play areas and yards to eliminate this habit.

Don’t Worry

If your dog has bad breath, don’t worry. Help is a phone call away at Bayview Seven Animal Hospital. The friendly and professional staff will determine the cause of this doggie odor and recommend treatment options. Phone (905) 764-1144 today.


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