The seemingly slow build up of yucky yellowish-brown stuff on the back molars might not cause problems right away, but if left alone for too long, a telltale smell might become part of your dog’s kisses. The first sign of dental disease in pets (like people) is usually bad breath.
Unfortunately, that doggie breath you’ve grown accustomed to might very well be on its way to repelling you – but it doesn’t have to be this way!
What’s Really Going On
The most common cause of bad breath in dogs is the accumulation of plaque on their teeth. Once plaque gains a foothold in the mouth, other odor-causing bacteria can flourish. Without routine brushing and regular professional cleanings every year, plaque can lead to gum irritation and inflammation, or gingivitis. Ultimately, if ignored, gum or periodontal disease is all but guaranteed.
The Long-Term Effects
Despite the fact that periodontal disease is entirely preventable, more than 80% of dogs over age 3 show signs of it in various stages of development. The doggie breath you might start to notice over time can actually be connected to the following diseases:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
The link between good dental health and overall wellness simply cannot be overstated. Bad bacteria can seep into the bloodstream and wreak havoc on your dog’s major organs. Infections, insulin resistance, and gastrointestinal issues can all stem from doggie breath.
Preventing Bad Doggie Breath
Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly will help prevent plaque and tartar from building up on the teeth. They may not like it at first, but there are many flavors of dog toothpaste (never use products designed for humans) that attract and reward them. There are prescription diets, rinses, and water additives as well.
Safe, appropriate chew toys are also really helpful, but be sure they cannot injure your dog’s teeth or cause choking hazards.
Routine wellness exams always include a peek in your dog’s mouth. Additionally, they may require and benefit from cleaning under anesthesia.
The Bottom Line
Dupont Veterinary Clinic at Coldwater is committed to helping your dog live its longest, healthiest, and happiest life. Preventing lasting health problems is one of our highest priorities.
Please let us know if you have further questions about doggie breath, or if you need help integrating canine oral hygiene at home.