Despite our best efforts, we all experience bad breath from time to time. Whether it's after a heaping serving of garlicky pasta, in the morning or a side effect of an illness, it's something that we all have to deal with. Even our pets experience halitosis. That's no surprise for any animal owner. Has your cat ever been so sweetly sleeping in your lap, and then he wakes up and yawn in your face with the most foul breath ever? It is sometimes just a smell of their food, but other times it can be a larger issue.
When you're trying to get rid of bad breath, you brush, floss and rinse, but pets can't do these things on their own. Most of the bad breath odor that breaks up a cuddle session with your four-legged friends comes from hydrogen sulfide that is left behind in their mouths from anaerobic bacteria that live between gums and teeth. If you're furry friend isn't chewing enough on plaque-reducing treats, this buildup can lead to a smelly mouth.
If you have a kitten or puppy who is teething, you may notice that their breath is rather unappealing, but this will usually only last a couple months. This is typically caused by the bacteria that accumulates along the gumline as the baby teeth are forced out by the adult teeth.
Gum disease is the most common reason why your little buddy is letting out some stinky breath. According to VetStreet, 80 percent of cats and dogs will show some signs of periodontal disease. If gone untreated, this can cause your animal a lot of pain, tooth loss and possible damage to organs such as the heart and kidney. As the disease gets more intense, the bacteria can become more destructive and cause these issues. There are several other oral diseases that dogs and cats can experience as well, such as stomatitis, oral masses and gingival hyperplasia.
Gastrointestinal disease can cause halitosis, and specific illnesses such as pancreatic insufficiency, reflux esophagitis and delayed gastric emptying. To get rid of this, you may want to change your pet's diet or begin giving her probiotics to help with digestion.
Kidney disease is the most common metabolic disease that may be causing bad breath in your pet, and it can cause a sour-smell in her breath. Any disease that affects the metabolic balance of your pet can create bad breath because the levels of toxins in her blood can produce oral odors.
Smaller dogs tend to have more dental problems than larger dogs, but both can be treated with the use of canine toothbrushes and treats that are dedicated to oral health. It is challenging to clean the teeth of cats, since their mouths are much smaller and cats tend to fend for themselves. However, with dogs, you can ease them into the practice of cleaning their canines.
"She started to nibble (on the toothbrush) and I rubbed it on her front teeth. I didn't make a big deal out of it. I didn't worry about brushing the first half dozen times. It was just a little bonding thing. Eventually, I brushed one tooth. Now she stands there and lets me brush all her teeth," Christie Keith, an owner of three dogs told Mercury News regarding her efforts to clean her 8-year-old greyhound's teeth.
There are typically some gels and oral care products that are on the market to increase the health of your pet's mouth, but you should be careful that it is safe for your breed.