Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Announcements

The Pet Health Community and Pet Health Center are NOT substitutes for a vet visit. Contact a vet in an emergency! | Dog Conditions A-Z | Dog Symptoms A-Z | Cat Conditions A-Z | Cat Symptoms A-Z

Remember Your Beloved Pet
Is your dog's bad breath a sign of sickness?
avatar
Will Draper, DVM posted:
"Dog breath" is never particularly appealing. However, it is important to distinguish it from halitosis, or "bad breath". Usually with dog halitosis, our first thought is that it's the result of nasty teeth. With the buildup of tartar and dental calculus, followed by gingivitis and tooth infections (periodontitis), there may be odor-producing bacteria in a dog's mouth that can cause unpleasant breath. However, other things can cause bad breath in dogs. Oral foreign bodies -- such as a stick caught in the roof of a dog's mouth -- will cause inflammation, infection or abscesses, and then subsequent odor. Oral tumors can also cause bad breath. In cases where you feel like your dog's breath is worse than usual, all of these possible causes are reasons that make thorough oral exams very important.

Sometimes oral odor can be an indication of internal problems, such as esophageal or gastrointestinal illness. Gastrointestinal injury, foreign bodies, or masses can all cause inflammation, which will eventually lead to odors. Certain things your dog will ingest (like cat poop from the litter box...) can cause bad breath. And even "regular" dog food that may not agree with your dog's system can cause an increase in gas production, which will cause odors to escape from either the top or the bottom.

Though more commonly noted in cats, kidney disease could also cause bad breath in dogs, due to the buildup of toxins (uremia) in the blood stream. After your vet collects a full history and performs a physical exam, the buildup of toxins is generally determined by running blood chemistries to measure a pet's blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels, as well as other values such as creatinine and phosphorus levels.

Has your dog had issues with bad breath?
Dr. Will
Reply
 
avatar
MikkieKim responded:
My dog, 10, has a bad dental situation, but because he also has abnormally high liver enzyme values (high and continually rising, alas), my vet cannot do a cleaning under general anesthesia for fear of further liver damage. Freddie also has an enlarged heart. So his breath is a bit rank but actually not horrendous.
 
avatar
MaryAnne0210 responded:
I have a mix which has the most horrendous breath ever! I know I need to get his teeth professionally cleaned cause brushing his teeth (which isn't a fun job) doesn't seem to last very long. I try to make sure he has plenty of chew toys which are supposed to be for dental health but nothing really helps. Because I have two other dogs with health issues, his diet is carefully monitored so I can't imagine he would have any other issues. I just wish the professional cleaning wasn't sooooo expensive!
 
avatar
DogloverIam responded:
I have this problem with my 2 year old yorkie. She has a dental done every 8 months and it helps but does not make it go away .I brush her teeth a few times a week and use nolvadent daily which has her breath smelling minty for a while but I hate this smell she has. My vet says Yorkies have a tendency to have an odor to their breath. Has anyone heard of this in yorkies?


Featuring Experts from AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM, is a small animal internal medicine consultant for Phoenix Central Laboratory, an independent veterinary diagnostic laborat...More

Helpful Tips

How to Get Your Cat in a CarrierExpert
Trying to get your cat in a carrier for a trip to the veterinarians or road trip can be extremely frustrating. Some how a 10# cat that ... More
Was this Helpful?
19 of 26 found this helpful

Helpful Resources

Be the first to post a Resource!

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Learn more about the AVMA

WebMD Special Sections