What is Chronic Bad Breath?
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Symptoms of Chronic Bad Breath in Dogs
Aside from an offensive odor coming from your pet’s mouth, symptoms of underlying causes may be present, including:
- Difficulty chewing
- Bleeding or red gums
- Loss of appetite
- Pawing at the mouth
- Irritability or anti-social behavior
- Rubbing face on the floor
- Excessive drooling
- Blood in saliva, water bowl, or on chew toys
Causes of Chronic Bad Breath in Dogs
A number of conditions can result in chronic halitosis including:
- Periodontal disease
- Gastrointestinal disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Kidney disease
- Coprophagia (eating feces)
- Respiratory passage inflammation
- Viral, bacterial or fungal infection of the mouth or throat
Diagnosis of Chronic Bad Breath in Dogs
If your pet has chronic bad breath, it is important to visit the veterinarian to diagnose and treat the underlying cause. Your veterinarian will want to know when you first noticed the bad breath, how long it has been present, your pet’s eating habits, behavior changes, and any other relevant history.
The veterinarian will conduct a physical and oral examination. Particularly painful or nervous pets may require sedation or anesthesia to allow the veterinarian to conduct a full oral examination.
Blood chemistry, cell count, and urinalysis may be requested to rule out underlying metabolic disorders such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease.
X-ray may be required to examine the throat and airways for possible tumors or infection.
Treatment of Chronic Bad Breath in Dogs
Once the underlying cause of the bad breath is diagnosed, your veterinarian will being treatment.Dental Cleaning
Treatment for periodontal disease will involve a full dental cleaning under general anesthesia which may need to be scheduled for a future appointment. Cleaning will remove tartar and plaque. Tooth extractions may be required for dying or broken teeth. The pet is usually kept for 4-7 hours for the procedure.Medical Treatment
Antibiotics or anti-inflammatories or antifungals may be required to treat infections. A diagnosis of diabetes will require treatment with insulin.Surgery
In cases of severe gastrointestinal disease or cancer, surgery may be required to repair or remove damaged tissue.Coprophagia
Coprophagia (eating feces) may or may not cause bad breath. If it is determined to be the cause, there are several commercially available products you can try.
Recovery of Chronic Bad Breath in Dogs
Always be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely when giving medications.
Recovery from surgery can take weeks to months and require several follow-up appointments. If surgery or tooth extractions are involved, pain medications and antibiotics will need to be administered for several weeks. You may need to feed your pet a soft diet or his normal kibble soaked in warm water and eliminate hard chew toys for 3-4 weeks to allow the teeth and gums to heal.
Brush your pet’s teeth twice daily to minimize bacteria. Animal approved toothpastes are available the most pet stores and are flavored so most dogs learn to tolerate and even enjoy tooth brushing. A child’s soft-bristled toothbrush can be used. Position your pet on his back or side, however he is comfortable, and gently introduce the brush with the toothpaste, adding a few seconds each day to brushing time until the pet adapts. Offer your pet dental chews and treats.
Take your dog for regular oral examinations and schedule annual cleanings to remove any tartar that has built up and give the teeth a full cleaning.
Periodontal disease occurs in 80% of pets over the age of 3 years. This disease is the number one cause of chronic halitosis and is preventable with proper oral hygiene.
Chronic Bad Breath Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My 15 yr.old Chihuahua Lizzie has been falling over when she walks,her quality of life is not very good,she now has extremely bad breath,and vomits some of what she drinks or eats.I am considering putting her to sleep.Money has always been tight to of given her proper vet care. Not sure what to do.
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Numerous fatty lumps but his belly seems to be more distended. He is spry acting. Runs, jumps, swims a couple times a week. Loves to eat bit I have noticed he is drinking more
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My dog always has had bad breath since as long as I can remember it's like a hot garbage smell with a bit of a fishy odor he also isn't very social or constantly barking crazily at strangers
Bad breath in dogs is usually caused by bad teeth or gum disease; other causes include respiratory problems and stomach problems; bring this up with your Veterinarian at your next visit. Behavioural problems may be caused by multiple factors like lack of socialisation as a puppy, to bad experiences etc… a Behavioural Specialist will be able to help you better by observing Cyrus’ behaviour and will advise you of corrective actions. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
I have a 9 month old greater swiss mountain dog. His breath has been very smelly since he started loosing teeth. It seems to be getting worse instead of better because he should be done with teething. I brush his teeth regularly which helps at the time but the smell comes back. He doesn't have an foreign bodies in his mouth along with no bumps or redness on the gums. He ha always had trouble with digestion for as long as I can remember. He has loose stool very often and because of this I have him on a probiotic. Could this be a gastrointestinal problem? If so what and what is the treatment?
My 10 yr old lab just started having bad breath and has been eating 💩 outside which he has never done before. He also has a couple more fatty tumors as he ages. Any correlate?
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