It’s a common misunderstanding that bad breath is normal in dogs. So how do you know what’s a normal dog breath smell?
Dog breath doesn’t have a particular odour and it shouldn’t smell strongly.
Veterinary dentists agree that bad breath in dogs is a sign of significant oral infection. Usually, but not always, this which is caused by periodontal diseases. Some estimate that as many as 90% of dogs have some level of oral disease by the age of one.
Dog breath smells you should look out for:
Fish Breath: Unless you’ve been feeding fishy flavoured food, there’s reasonable chance that the fishy smell is coming from your dog’s anal glands. I know it’s gross but bear with me… Impacted anal glands secrete a fishy odour and cause the dog discomfort. As a result they lick the area and the fish stink get’s transferred to their mouth.
- Treatment: Emptying the anal glands is a very quick & minor procedure, however unless you’re experienced in this treatment (and prepared for the ungodly smell) it might be easier to get your vet or groomer to do it for you.
Urine or Ammonia Breath: An ammonia smell is often caused by kidney problems. This is because the kidneys are unable to remove toxins. It results in a buildup of urea, which is then converted to ammonia.
- Treatment: Kidney problems often have other symptoms, such as loss of appetite, vomiting and decreased urination. You should seek vet advice immediately because kidney issues can progress quickly.
Nail Polish Breath: As with humans, the instance of an acetone or chemical smelling breath can indicate the presence of diabetes.
- Treatment: Affected dogs need immediate IV fluid therapy to stabilize them, followed by insulin to get blood sugar under control. So get to the vet as soon as you can.
Decay Breath: Regardless of exactly how you describe it – a strong foul odour is indicitave of severe periodontal disease. An abscess can also contribute to this vile smell.
- Treatment: It can be hard for you to identify infections or abscesses – as they are often at the back of the mouth. It’s estimated that 90% of dogs will have some level of periodontal disease. There’s a good chance your dog is in a lot of pain so take them to a vet for a check up.