Vet Blog

What Does It Mean If My Pet Has Bad Breath?

February 27, 2019

No one enjoys spending time with someone who has persistently bad breath.

Unfortunately, our precious pets are just as likely to experience this problem as we are, and this can make sharing cuddles and affection with them a less than pleasant experience.

There is a range of different reasons why your pet might have bad breath. Some are fairly simple and can be resolved without too much difficulty. However, others will definitely warrant the involvement of an experienced pet dentist or pet dentistry team.

Here Are Some of the Most Common Causes of Bad Breath in Pets

Dental Issues

In the vast majority of instances, bad breath is caused by an accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. When we first wake up in the morning, our breath might smell a little funky and this is because the number of bacteria in our mouths has multiplied while we have been sleeping and not actively fighting against it, such as by chewing gum, drinking, or cleaning our teeth. Your pet will have the same problem, and you might notice that his breath is particularly stomach-churning first thing in the morning. However, his bad breath might also be being triggered by an accumulation of plaque and calculus on his teeth.

Plaque occurs when the bacteria that lives in his mouth interacts with the sugars in the food that he eats. It is very sticky and contains countless bacteria, and unless cleared away by brushing his teeth, could lead to problems such as dental disease which is an inflammatory condition whereby the gums become infected. If your pet has extensive plaque deposits on his teeth or signs of periodontal disease, he probably has very unpleasant-smelling breath and you should seek an appointment with your pet dentistry team as soon as possible to have his oral health assessed. It may be that he needs a professional clean to alleviate his symptoms and make getting up close and personal with him much more pleasant.

Poor Quality Pet Food

With so many products to choose from, it can be very difficult to choose which food to feed your precious pet. This problem is made all the trickier thanks to the use of clever marketing and spurious ingredient labels that can be hard to decipher what ingredients are actually going into the products that you are feeding your pet. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers are committed to providing high-quality ingredients, and pet foods that contain low levels of real meat sources and lots of cheap fillers such as corn and soy have been shown to be more likely to cause dental problems for pets. Again, these could potentially result in bad breath. Similarly, certain foods or treats you give him could be upsetting his digestive tract and causing him to experience foul odors emanating from his mouth.

Underlying Illness

No owner likes to think about the prospect of their pet becoming unwell, but the fact is that diseases and health problems do occur and affect our animals too. In some instances, it is possible for an underlying illness to cause significant changes in your pet's breath. For example, animals with diabetes are likely to suffer from a breath that is sickly sweet, while those with kidney problems may find that their breath smells like ammonia.

If your pet dentist in Nashville, TN has ruled out dental problems as the primary cause of your pet's bad breath, he may suggest that further testing is carried out to determine if there is an underlying health problem to blame.

If your pet has stinky breath and you would like to schedule for her to visit our pet dentist in Nashville, TN for an examination, we would be delighted to see you. Please contact our veterinarians in Nashville, TN to schedule her appointment at (615) 833-7387.