Why Does My Pet's Breath Smell?

In most cases, bad breath is caused by a build-up of odour-producing bacteria in your pet’s mouth. Diet and dental issues can be contributing factors, however, persistent bad breath can also indicate more serious medical problems such as abnormalities in the mouth, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, liver or kidneys. 

In all cases… smelly breath should be investigated!


How can I determine the cause of my pet's bad breath?
Your trusted family veterinarian is the best person to determine the cause of bad breath. Be ready to answer questions about your pet’s diet, oral hygiene, exercise habits and general attitude and behaviour. A physical exam will be conducted by your vet to look into potential causes. 


When is it time to see the vet?
The following symptoms will require veterinary attention:  Excessive tartar on your pet’s teeth, especially when accompanied by drooling, difficulty eating and red, inflamed gums, could indicate serious dental or gum disease. Unusually sweet or fruity breath could indicate diabetes, particularly if your pet has been drinking and urinating more frequently than usual. Breath that smells like urine can be a sign of kidney disease.  An unusually foul odour accompanied by vomiting, lack of appetite, and yellow-tinged corneas and/or gums could signal a liver problem. Pawing at the mouth is also something you'll want to pay attention to. 


How Is Bad Breath Treated?
Determining the ideal course of treatment is best left to you and your family veterinarian.  If plaque is the culprit, your pet might require a professional cleaning. If the cause is gastrointestinal or an abnormality in your pet’s liver, kidneys or lungs, your vet will determine the steps you should take.


How Can I Prevent My Pet From Having Bad Breath
Many people assume that bad breath in pets is normal - but it’s not! In fact, being proactive about your pet’s oral health will not only make your life together more pleasant, but it’s also smart preventive medicine:

  • Bring your pet in for regular checkups to make sure he has no underlying medical issues that may cause bad breath.
  • Make sure your vet monitors and tracks the state of your pet’s teeth and breath, especially if there have been previous issues.
  • Brush your pet’s teeth frequently (be sure to use toothpaste formulated for pets as human toothpaste can upset your pet’s stomach).
  • Discuss home-use oral health products with your vet (i.e. food and dental cleaning).

If your pet has smelly breath, book a dental exam with us. 

During June we are offering FREE dental exams and 20% off professional sedation-only dental cleaning. Call the clinic at 250-339-6555 to book your appointment.