Besides being revered as a loving, furry companion, man's best friend is known for his halitosis. This association isn't necessarily fair. For one thing, human mouths are rarely much cleaner or more fragrant than those of canines. For another, dog bad breath can be a signal that your pet needs a clinical check-up.
That was the thrust of a recent article published by the Associated Press. The piece focused on the difficulty many owners have in recognizing dental decay in their dogs. Besides looking directly at pet's teeth, it's possible to detect oral problems by noticing certain symptoms.
If it alters its eating habits, drools, excessively, has irritated gums or has dog bad breath, it may be time to take your canine to the vet to get a dental checkup, the news source stated.
For pets and humans alike, part of the difficulty in maintaining fresh breath and good dental health is access to proper tooth care. Of course, dogs can't take the initiative to purchase specialty breath freshening products, leaving humans with little excuse.
Even with regular checkups, dogs can quickly develop dental problems. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates that by age 3, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats suffer from oral disease, making it the most frequently diagnosed pet health condition.
What can be done about canine tooth decay and dog bad breath? Numerous studies suggest that, even for older dogs, tooth cleanings and periodontal therapy can reduce halitosis, often for several months at a stretch.
The AVMA notes that pet halitosis can also be a sign of serious liver, kidney or digestive problems, which is why it recommends bringing a dog to the vet if halitosis suddenly gets worse.
Dog bad breath can occasionally indicate that your pet has eaten something it shouldn't. For instance, a case study in the journal Modern Veterinary Practice described an instance in which a poodle had halitosis, dark urine and serious organ trouble.
Ultimately, the pooch was found to have eaten an onion, a food that is toxic for most dogs.
Onions can cause bad breath among owners, but usually not in the same way. These bulbs stain the palate with volatile sulfur compounds, as well as give oral bacteria something to much on.
Do canines have fewer oral microbes? Hardly. According to an investigation by the Straight Dope's Science Advisory Board, dog's mouths are just as dirt as ours, if not more so. After all, think of all they'll eat, if given half a chance...