Bad breath is so common, that there is an official name for the stinkiness: halitosis. For many pet owners, whenever their furry pal comes over to lick their face, the owner ends up gasping for breath and moving the pet as far from their nostrils as possible. Unsurprisingly, bad breath is not just an annoy result of the salmon or tuna in pet food; rather it could be the reflective of some disconcerting health issues that should be addressed.  But before your imagination runs wild with frightening possibilities, review the list below to see if your pet’s dental hygiene requires nothing more than a good cleaning.

Possible reasons for the odor

  • Plaque build up on the teeth (this is most common in cats, who tend to eat softer food than dogs who routinely scrape their teeth with hard bones and rough chew toys.)
  • Bacteria on the tongue or in corners of the mouth
  • Food, pieces of chew toys, and other small objects might be trapped between the teeth and beginning to rot (meaning it might be time to pull the floss out!)
  • Another option of foul breath might be a tumor in your dog’s mouth, so be sure to check their mouth to see if there are any growing tumors.

Taking a serious turn…

If the bad breath is increasingly noticeable, and you are unsure of the cause, go get a professional opinion. Some of the more serious symptoms include:

  • Brownish colored plaque on the teeth, or red swollen-looking gums;  this might be a sign of gingivitis or gum disease.
  •  A scent of urine on the breath might indicate kidney disease.
  • Fruity or sweet smelling breath might be a sign of developing diabetes.
  • A distinct fetid odor accompanied by vomiting, and lack of desire to eat, may reflect liver failure or infection.

Your pet’s rancid breath might require nothing more than a good tooth scraping, flossing and brushing from a groomer.  But if the problem persists, try to get your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible to help solve any severe health issues.  In order to avoid bad breath in the future, brush your cat or dog’s teeth daily, and provide them with cleansing chews to ward germs away. Then you can gladly welcome all kisses and snuggles from your little fur-ball!