If your pooch has, shall we say, a putrid panting problem, its halitosis is originating in a way very similar to yours, even though it may not seem like it. That's because dog bad breath comes from bacteria - often the same bacteria that can be found in your mouth. Makes you rethink getting puppy kisses...
Doggy oral odor isn't much of a surprise (which is funny, because human halitosis sure seems to be). After all, man's best friend eats things that most people turn up their noses at. If left alone in a house, do you have the urge to eat trash, drink toilet water or worse?
Probably not. Your furry friend may try to, though. For this reason, the persistence of the old wives' tale about dogs having cleaner mouths than humans is pretty surprising. In truth, dogs have filthy mouths, hence all the dog bad breath.
In a study published by the myth-testing newspaper column The Straight Dope, researchers tested the bacterial content of canine and human saliva samples. The human spit engendered small microbial colonies.
And the doggy saliva? Here's what author Cecil Adams had to say: "The majority of the canine [samples] looked (and smelled) like that gunk that gets down in your garbage can after the raw chicken got left in there. One was actually green and I swear I heard it chuckling to itself."
There you have it. Dogs have dirty mouths and oral odor. That said, we love our pooches in spite of their puppy breath, just like they love us despite our halitosis, which to their sensitive noses must smell truly awful.
Dog bad breath and human halitosis can indicate something more than a diet of pungent foods. According to a Q-and-A published in the Montreal Gazette, doggy breath may point to tooth decay in your puppy.
Veterinary dentist Jan Bellows told the newspaper that canine halitosis may even be coming from beneath the gums. "Sixty percent of the tooth is below the gum line, so your veterinarian can't actually see what's going on," she said to the news source. "Odds are, plaque there requires removal. Also, dental X-rays - just like we get - are probably a good idea."
The American Veterinary Medical Association agrees that you shouldn't ignore dog bad breath. For both people and pups, specialty breath freshening toothpastes, lozenges and rinses can help reduce oral odor.