8 Tips to Treat Your Dog’s Bad Breath

For dog lovers, there are few things as enjoyable as snuggling up with your pooch. Nothing kills the mood of a cuddle session quite like a face full of hot, wet, garbage breath. There are any number of reasons to explain why your dog’s breath smells awful, and, thankfully, many ways to treat it!

dog bad breath in raleigh, nc

In this article, we’ll go over some of the more common tips to treating your dog’s bad breath in Raleigh, NC. 

The Obvious: Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

It seems obvious that, like you, your dog might benefit from regularly having their teeth brushed; however, it is often overlooked. There are a variety of doggy toothbrushes available and toothpastes that come in many different flavors. It is recommended that you brush your dog’s teeth at least once to twice a day.

Since the feeling of having their teeth brushed isn’t natural for your dog, it may take some work to get them to accept this new routine. Before you even start with the brush, get your dog used to your hands being near his mouth by playing with his lips and teeth.

Once your dog grows used to that, introduce the brush to them. If they are particularly resistant to the toothbrush, there are finger toothbrushes that may be more to their liking.

Rinsing in Addition to Brushing

Daily use of pet specific oral rinses or gels such as Clenz-A-Dent Rinse (w/ Chlorhex) or MaxiGuard Gel after brushing helps further reduce bacteria and plaque in the mouth.

If you are unable to brush, simply using one of these products can still reduce odor and bacteria in your dog’s mouth.

Dental Diets

Purina DH and Hill’s Healthy Advantage Oral Care are dental diets that can be very helpful in reducing plaque. These diets can be used in conjunction with brushing and/or rinsing. But, are also great alternatives if you are unable to brush or rinse daily.

These diets are usually recommended to be mixed with your pet’s regular diet. If you are interested in trying a dental diet, please talk to your veterinarian to ensure that your pet has no dietary restrictions and is being fed the proper amount to maintain a healthy weight.

Delicious Dental Chews for Dogs

There are a variety of specialized dental chews that are designed to break up plaque forming on your dog’s teeth. Many of them are also made with ingredients to kill bacteria which helps to freshen your pup’s breath.

Here are a few we recommend: Clenz-A-Dent Enzymatic Chews, Oravet Chews, Tartar Shield Chews, or Veggiedent Chews. One of these a day can help to combat foul breath and help decrease the amount of bacteria in your dog’s mouth.

Water Additives Can Help Solve Bad Dog Breath

There are a number of water additives specifically designed to improve your pet’s breath on the market today. Clenz-A-Dent Water Additive is the product we regularly recommend.

The most important thing about using a water additive is to follow the instructions carefully; do not use more than the label suggests and regularly refill and refresh your dog’s water.

Routine Dental Cleaning in Dogs

Just as your dentist recommends a deep cleaning and radiographs every 6 to 12 months for your teeth, veterinarians share the same recommendation for your pup’s teeth.

These teeth cleanings allow for removal of tartar build up on the teeth, remove odorous bacteria from the mouth, help prevent gingivitis, and decrease the chances of dental disease that can occur if not routinely performed.

Studies have shown that taking a proactive approach and having your dog’s teeth cleaned at least once a year not only can improve their quality of life but even extend their lives by as much as two years on average.

At-Home Dental Care Is Preventative Care

One thing we want to note is that any homecare you do for your dog’s dental health in Raleigh, NC should be for preventative purposes only. Meaning, if your dog has already been given a clean bill-of-health by your veterinarian, then it’s ok to start your at-home dental care routine with your pet.

For a dog with existing dental problems, it is best to ask your veterinarian for recommendations on what home care can be performed.  This will ensure you are helping your pup rather than possibly causing any additional issues.

If you’re unsure of the last time your dog had a checkup for their dental health, then it’s best to talk with your veterinarian to see if you should bring them in. Your pup’s doctor can create a dental care plan specifically for your dog that you and your dog can feel confident following long term.

Vet Visits in Raleigh, NC

Being proactive and preventing dental disease before it starts by sticking to your at home care routine and scheduling regular deep cleanings with your veterinarian is ideal.

But if you’re noticing that your pup’s breath is particularly pungent, there could be something more going on. Bad breath may be caused by tooth or gum infection, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease. By inspecting your dog’s mouth, your vet will be able to tell you if your dog needs a deep dental cleaning or if more testing is in order.

It is recommended that dogs under 8 years old be seen for a full nose to tail exam with their veterinarian at least once per year and dogs over 8 years be seen at least twice yearly. During these exams your veterinarian will perform an oral exam of the teeth, gums, lips, tongue, soft palate, throat, and more.

They look for obvious signs of tartar build up, gingivitis (red/bleeding/swollen gums), fractured or broken teeth, gum recession, tooth root exposure, oral masses, signs of an abscess, etc.

These are all reasons why your pup could have bad breath. To more thoroughly examine the oral cavity and what is happening under the gum line, an exam and radiographs under anesthesia may be needed.

When In Doubt, Contact Your Vet About Your Dog’s Bad Breath in Raleigh, NC

As with any change in your pet, if you notice your dog’s breath has rapidly gotten much worse than usual, you should speak to your vet to rule out anything more serious.

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About Bowman Animal Hospital & Cat Clinic

Established in 1986 by Dr. Gale Bowman, Bowman Animal Hospital and Cat Clinic is dedicated solely to the health and well-being of our pet community. We are a team of compassionate veterinarians and pet lovers who invest our time and resources into providing the very best medical care to your pet.