Bad breath, also referred to as halitosis, is an unpleasant condition for humans, which can be even more unpleasant in pets. As in humans, often it is an indication of an underlying medical condition. If your pet is experiencing chronic bad breath the first step is to take your pet to the veterinarian. The veterinarian will first check your pet’s teeth for periodontal disease, abscessed teeth, mouth ulcers and tumors. If your pet is found to have plaque buildup, depending on the size and age of the pet an oral cleaning may be recommended. This often requires the use of anesthesia and is not normally recommended for older pets.
If your pet is found to be in good oral health, the veterinarian will also want to rule out diseases such as lung cancer, liver disease, and diabetes and kidney disease. Once you have taken your pet to a veterinarian and medical conditions have been ruled out, you will want to learn how to prevent bad breath in pets.
Bad breath may be the result of excessive plaque buildup on the teeth, which can also cause periodontal disease. To prevent this buildup it is important to brush the teeth and tongue of your animal using a pet friendly toothpaste and toothbrush on a daily basis. However, brushing may not be enough. Most pet stores now carry breath freshening mints, oral rinses, sprays, tablets, bones and toys that are designed to help prevent bad breath. If you have difficulty getting your pet to be still long enough for a tooth brushing, you may also want to try pet dental wipes.
Diet is another factor that plays a role in bad breath. Soft food especially that from a can often causes bad breath in pets. Dry food diets have less of a tendency to cause bad breath. There are also dry pet foods designed specifically to prevent plaque buildup on teeth. It is believed that the chewing that is necessary to eat dry food also works to prevent plaque buildup, which is one of the main culprits of bad breath.
Once upon a time, it was believed that bad breath was normal for pets. However, we now know that this is not a normal condition. If your pet begins to experience sudden bad breath, you will want to rule out serious medical conditions and then begin a plan of improved oral care and diet.