Your dog leans in to give you a big lick across the face and what used to be a sweet gesture now has turned into making you gag. His breath smells like fish and you want to do something but you don’t know what. Here are some ideas.
Don’t Give Human Mouthwash
Human mouthwash often contains chemicals that are dangerous to dogs. In fact, some of them are downright toxic. This could land you in the veterinary clinic with a very sick pooch and it could even kill your dog. We don’t want that! There are other options.
Try Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Dogs can’t use human toothpaste because fluoride and other chemicals in them are very bad for dogs, but toothpastes made for dogs do exist. They come in tasty varieties that your dog will enjoy such as liver or chicken.
Dog toothpaste is formulated with special enzymes that destroy the build-up that leads to tartar and causes bad breath.
While you can use a fingertip brush to apply the toothpaste and rub it all over their teeth, brushing is optional. As long as the enzymes get on the teeth, the toothpaste will begin working on the tartar.
With tartar gone, their teeth are white again and the smells often are gone too.
Give Them Hard Things to Chew On
Dogs need to chew on things that are tough enough for them to scrape their teeth on. This is how their teeth get cleaned naturally. A dog that has a hard bone, one that is safe from the pet store, will have white teeth because the scraping they do from chewing on the bone is cleansing their teeth.
Some toys made for dogs also have strings that are meant to act like dental floss for dogs. Rubber chew toys with hard knobs that massage gums and clean will also keep tartar low.
Try Treats Designed to Clean Their Teeth
Many dog treats are formulated to not only clean their teeth by being shaped in a way that creates a scrubbing action when they chew, but also are treated with breath-freshening agents that improve their breath immediately.
Water drops that help freshen their breath with the water they drink are also available. Some dogs may not like the way this makes their water smell though, and they may refuse to drink it so make sure there is also water available to them that doesn’t have this added, just in case.
Consider Having Their Teeth Cleaned
Many people don’t realize that dogs can also need their dental health checked from time to time .They can get cavities and need teeth pulled. Older dogs can have gingivitis and gum disease, just like humans can.
Have your veterinarian check your dog’s teeth and see if they can schedule a dental cleaning. This will greatly improve their breath and you may learn that your dog has a bad tooth or gum disease that needs treatment and this could be the problem with their breath.
Some breeds of dogs are more likely to have problems with their teeth. Yorkshire Terriers, for example, rarely die with all their teeth. You’ve probably seen these little dogs with their tongues hanging out the side of their mouth. This is because their teeth have been pulled and are no longer there to hold their tongue in place.
Regular routine dental care can ensure that your dog has fresh breath and remains healthy. Dental issues will invariably lead to other issues, such as stomach problems. Dogs who have to have all their pulled will eventually need to be on a soft food diet too. That will not help their breath.
Health Problems that Bad Breath May Indicate
Bad breath may be an indicator of a potential health issue as well. This is why you should always speak to your vet about bad breath and have it checked out. Some of the potential issues that bad breath can be a warning sign of include:
- Kidney disease
- Gum disease
- Coprophagia (when they eat their own poop or the poop of other animals)
- Liver disease
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to have that bad breath checked. It may be that your dog has a case of liver disease that needs attention.
It could also just be that he is emptying the cat’s litter box once or twice per day. You may want to rethink letting your dog lick you. You also may need to find a new place for the litter box.
Dogs can be really disgusting. Sometimes it seems like the more disgusting something is, the more likely they will either want to eat it or roll in it.
This is possibly the hardest choice that your dog will make all day. “Do I eat the deer poop in the yard or should I throw myself down in it and rub it all over myself?” We would prefer neither but that’s not going to happen unless you are paying close attention.
One second they are sniffing the grass and the next thing you know, they have smeared deer poop from their nose to their tail. It almost makes bad breath seem not so bad when you have to stop what you are doing and bathe your dog, who is covered in the feces of some wild animal.
Trying to wrestle cat poop from his mouth is also not the most fun way to spend a Friday night because he’s been litter box cruising. I highly recommend that you find a container to hide the box in that the dog cannot fit into. Make it deep enough that the dog can’t get his head into it. That may end the bad breath.
Placing the cat box in a room that has a child gate is sometimes a good solution as the cat can just jump over to use his box and hopefully your dog can’t.
Good luck bringing an end to your dog’s bad breath. I’m confident that you understand how important it is to have checked and what steps you can take to be back on the road to fresh breath and doggy kisses.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.