We’re all aware that bad breath is one of the worst things a dog can have, and most all of us dog owners experience stinky kisses from our pets every now and then.
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is caused by excessive build-up of odor-producing bacteria inside of your dog’s mouth, lungs or even gut. Keep in mind, even if the cause of your dog’s bad breath is caused by something minor such as dental disease, gum disease, or tartar, on-going bad breath could be a hint that your pet may be experiencing greater medical problems.
If you’re currently looking for a way to improve your dog’s bad breath, look no further. There are many different ways to improve your dog’s bad breath and I’ve listed my top 10 ways below.
- Before the build-up on your dog’s teeth becomes really bad, you’ll need to have his teeth examined at least 1-2 times per year. Your dog’s vet is the best person to determine the exact cause of your pet’s bad breath. When the vet examines your dog, he may want to do a complete physical examination, as well as lab work. He will also ask you questions regarding your dog’s diet, oral hygiene and general behavior - so be ready to answer those questions.
- Search your dog’s mouth for any foreign objects or growths. Bad breath can sometimes be caused by a piece of food that’s become stuck, or even a tumor growth. If you notice a tumor growth inside of your dog’s mouth, have him examined by his vet immediately.
- Brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day. Because human toothpaste will make your dog ill, you should only use toothpaste that’s formulated for pets. As you brush your dog’s teeth, focus on the upper teeth because plaque usually begins to build up there first. Don’t forget to brush your pet’s tongue thoroughly. Pet toothbrushes and toothpaste can be purchased in the dental section of your local pet store. The best time to start brushing your dog’s teeth is when he’s young because he’ll become accustomed to it. If you aren’t currently brushing your dog’s teeth, there’s no better time to start than right now.
- Floss your dog’s teeth. If your dog will let you, you can floss his teeth just like you floss your own. Keep in mind, the sooner in their life you start flossing their teeth, the better.
- Give your dog some safe chew toys to gnaw on. The natural process of chewing will help clean your dog’s teeth. A popular chew toy is a Kong. Kongs are hard rubber toys that are sold in pet stores. To help clean your dog’s teeth with a Kong, smear some meat or cheese flavored toothpaste on the inside of the toy. As your dog chews on the Kong, he’ll get used to the toothpaste flavor and the hardness of the toy will help loosen the plaque from his teeth. Rope toys are also good for dogs to gnaw on because they’ll help dislodge any food that’s stuck in-between your their teeth.
- Give your dog specialized dental treats to help keep his breath fresh. Breath sprays and mouthwashes will also help keep your dog’s breath fresh. Just make sure what you purchase doesn’t contain xylitol. Xylitol is very toxic to dogs. A popular dental treat that’s been on the market for many years is the Greenie. Greenies are charcoal-based treats that can help eliminate bad breath, and they can be purchased from most pet stores.
- Give your dog a rawhide bone. Rawhide bones work really well at reducing your dog’s plaque build-up. Keep a close eye on the bone and make sure you throw it away immediately once it becomes easy to swallow. Remember to never give your dog a cooked bone to gnaw on because it can splinter - causing potential damage to the intestinal linings of your pet.
- Try using products that contain chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is a chemical antiseptic that can be found in chews and sprays, and it’ll help keep odor-causing bacteria from your dog’s mouth.
- Make sure your dog is on a healthy diet. If your pet’s diet contains a lot of meat, that could be what’s causing his bad breath. Your dog will need a balanced diet of vegetable nutrients and rice to avoid giving him too much meat. It’s never a good idea to leave your dog’s bowl of food available throughout the day because if your dog isn’t feeling well or eating well, you’ll be less likely to notice than if they have specific eating times. Plus, consuming food throughout the day will only feed the bacteria in your dog’s mouth and will increase your dog’s bad breath.
- If your dog has a lot of plaque build-up, he may need a professional cleaning.