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Reason’s Why Your Dog’s Breath Smells So Bad

Does the sight of your dog walking towards you panting heavily make you panic? Does your cat’s persistent attempts to rub against your face make you queasy? Do you run away whenever your dog or cat approaches you – is the odour from their mouth enough to knock you over?  If this is the case you are not alone as many companion animals suffer from Fetor Oris commonly known as halitosis.

Don’t turn up your nose or stop getting close and personal with Fluffy or Fido – but do be aware that the odour may signify a significant health issue for your family member.  Periodontal disease and gingivitis affect up to 90% of dogs and 70% of cats by their 5th birthday. Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition that is diagnosed in cats and dogs and it is a disease that is completely preventable.  It is also often overlooked by pet owners as most of the problem lies below the gum line and is not readily visible; apart from bad breath there are few signs that make it an obvious health issue.

The bad odour is generated from the germ infected plaque that multiplies under the gum line allowing pockets of infection to grow; this creates the foul odour that make most pet owners cringe.  The odour signifies there is trouble brewing in your pet’s mouth, and that periodontal disease is having a marked effect on the quality of your pet’s life. As the disease progresses the tissue and bone supporting the teeth weaken and erode causing the teeth to become loose and fall out. Side effects from this plaque buildup can include a sore painful mouth, digestive disturbances, drooling along with difficulty chewing and swallowing.  Your pet’s immune system is under a constant challenge brought on by the bacteria invading the bloodstream (bacteria enter through the swollen bleeding gums); this in turn can lead to extensive damage of internal organs.

Often pet owners are surprised to find out that their pet is experiencing  any type of dental pathology – because often Fluffy or Fido show no outward signs of pain or discomfort and their general behaviour does not change; apart from the bad breath  they appear to be in good health.  Our furry companions have the inability to communicate with us about where it hurts and as pet owners we need to be proactive and provide them with the dental care they deserve throughout all their life stages.

Please discuss your pet’s dental health at their annual physical examination or sooner if any of these signs are present.

  • Bad breath
  • Red or inflamed gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Yellow/brown film present at the gum line
  • Loose or broken teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Lethargy
  • Pawing or digging at the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Drooling
  •  Sneezing


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