Though not all animals' breath has a noticeable odor, house pets occasionally suffer from halitosis. While the biggest offenders seem to be dogs and cats, humans are not far behind when it comes to oral odor.
People and their pets get bad breath for similar reasons, although there are some extenuating circumstances that make the furry ones' exhalations a bit smellier. In any mouth, billions of bacteria reside on the tongue, teeth and palate.
After a meal, these microbes go to work on the food particles left in the oral cavity. As they digest these bits, they release aromatic compounds that tinge breath with a sour or funky reek.
Of course, pets don't have the opportunities that we do to use toothbrushes, tongue scrapers, floss, specialty breath fresheners or oral care probiotics, all of which can beat back bacteria and neutralize odors. With this in mind, the Central Plains Herald-Leader recommends that you do for your pet what you'd do for an infant - brush their teeth for them.
As with humans, pets with poor dental health are at a moderately higher risk for certain infections, since the microorganisms responsible for periodontal disease can invade the gums and then permeate the bloodstream.