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Bad Breath in Pets: Why It Can Indicate a More Serious Health Problem

Bad breath in pets is one aspect of pet ownership that individuals definitely don’t enjoy, but often simply learn to deal with.  However, while it may be common for pets to have bad breath, it is actually neither normal nor healthy.

Bad Breath as an Indication of Serious Health Issues

Just as is the case with humans, regular animal dental care and health care is important.  Bad breath in pets is usually an indication that something is amiss in their system, and it is always best to treat such issues as early on as possible.  Most notably, an excess accumulation of bacteria in the pet’s system, anywhere from their mouth to their lungs to other parts of their digestive system, can lead to bad breath.  Pet periodontal disease, often resulting from a buildup of tartar and plaque around the tooth and gums, can also lead to bad breath.  If a pet is suffering from extensive and chronic bad breath, they may also be suffering from a more serious dental or internal problem that needs to be properly diagnosed and treated by an animal health care professional.

While you may not want to rush your pet to the veterinarian’s office every time you notice they have bad breath, it is very helpful to take advantage of a normally-scheduled check-up to ask your veterinarian about your pet’s bad breath and what they recommend you do to address it.  They may ask about your pet’s diet, dental care regimen and activity in order to better understand their lifestyle.  That said, there are some cases of bad breath where you should consult your veterinarian immediately, including:

  • Your pet’s breath suddenly becomes very bad, and they are vomiting, changing their eating habits or has a yellowish tint to their eyes. This could be a sign of liver problems.
  • Your pet’s breath suddenly takes on a urine smell. This could be a sign of kidney problems.
  • Your pet’s breath suddenly takes on a sweet smell, and they are drinking and urinating more than usual. This could be a sign of diabetes.

You can work to prevent bad breath in pets, and the underlying conditions, that cause them by ensuring your pet receives proper animal health care.  Many veterinarians provide dental health care, but there are even things that can be done at home, including regular tooth brushing, to help ensure your pet maintains good oral health.

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