The Dangers of Dog Breath

Wagging tail, bright eyes, wet nose… and bad breath. If this accurately sums up your canine companion, you’re not alone. Stinky dog breath has become synonymous with man’s best friend, but the reality is that it’s not normal.

That rotten dog breath you’ve come to know (and not necessarily love) may actually be an indicator of underlying dental health problems. Taking a moment to learn about the causes and cures of doggy breath can make a huge impact on the overall health and wellness of your best pal.

What Causes Dog Breath?

The majority of pets over age 3 exhibit signs of periodontal disease, an infection of the gums and supportive structures of the tooth. Without treatment, a buildup of bacteria associated with the disease may eventually make its way into the bloodstream, where it can wreak havoc on the heart, liver, kidneys, and other vital organs.


Dog breath is one of the symptoms of periodontal disease, along with:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty chewing, dropping food
  • Loose, broken, or discolored teeth
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Repeated pawing at the face

If your pet is experiencing any of the above conditions, he or she may need dental care right away, so please give us a call.

Banishing Bad Breath

Certain breeds are more prone to the plaque and tartar that lead to periodontal disease, but all pets are at risk if their dental health isn’t attended to on a regular basis. Good home care, along with professional veterinary dental exams and cleanings, will help your pet avoid the painful symptoms associated with periodontal disease.

Home Pet Dental Care

The single most effective action you can take in the fight against dog breath is daily, or at least regular, tooth brushing. Brushing your dog’s teeth may seem like an insurmountable task, but with practice and patience you can get the hang of it. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and pet-specific toothpaste (never use human toothpaste, as it isn’t meant to be swallowed and may be toxic for your pet). Getting into a routine can be challenging, but the effort you make to acclimate your pet to brushing will pay off in the end.

Certain dental rinses, treats, and chews can also supplement (but never replace) regular tooth brushing. Peruse the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s website for approved products, and let us know if you have any questions.

The Importance of Professional Dental Care

We encourage pet owners to keep all of their pet’s regularly scheduled wellness visits. The wellness exam is an opportunity for your veterinarian to examine your dog’s mouth and make recommendations as to follow-up care, such as a professional dental cleaning and examination.

Making a Change

Our goal is to support you in providing your pet with the best dental care possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact our staff with any questions. We are always happy to help you and your pet!