Most of us have smelled dog halitosis (bad breath) at one time or another. It is the result of the foul odor-producing bacteria buildup in a dog's mouth. Chronic halitosis in a dog can indicate that it needs better dental care or that dry mouth may be a problem. Dog Breath Causes The more common serious issues are gum (periodontal) or dental disease, and generally the smaller a dog is, the more vulnerable it is to tartar and plague. There are more serious issues that are possible, but less common, which include more extreme medical problems in the mouth, such as gum issues. Diagnosing Dog Breath One should normally bring his or her pet to the veterinarian to diagnose the reason behind the chronic bad breath. A vet can do a physical eam and laboratory work to pinpoint the problem. Come prepared with information on your dog's diet, exercise routine, and behavioral habits. When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet? As soon as your dog's breath has an unusual smell, bring it to the vet. Here are some symptoms: 1. Unusually fruity/sweet breath can signify diabetes, especially if the dog has been drinking fluids and urinating more than usual. 2. Dog breath that smells like urine can mean kidney disease. 3. Bad breath along with vomiting, lack of appetite, and yellow-tinged corneas and/or gums can signify a liver problem. Dog Breath Treatment Obviously, treatment depends on the cause of dog breath. If plaque is the cause, the dog may need a professional dental cleaning. If diet is the cause, then you should change what your dog is eating. If the cause of bad breath is related to other issues, the vet should know the best route to take. Prevent Dog Breath Just because a dog is older does not mean that it is normal to have bad breath. Always take action and provide the best care that you can for your pet, as a method of prevention. Here are some good things to do: 1. Bring the dog in for regular checkups at the vet to make sure it has no underlying medical issues. 2. Have the vet monitor the condition of the dog's teeth and breath. 3. Provide the dog with a high-quality and easily digestible diet. 4. Brush the dog's teeth everyday if possible--or as frequently as you can if you cannot everyday. Be sure to brush with a toothpaste made for dog's, since toothpaste for human's can cause digestive problems in canines. 5. Provide safe chew toys that encourage the natural process of chewing and teeth cleaning. 6. Research dog treats that help with breath odor. 7. Research dog oral health products to use at home and discuss them with your vet. Keep in mind that products designed to mask bad breath may not fix the cause of it. Also, most of these ideas discussed can also be used for cats.