Q: Why does my pet have bad breath?

dog-with-toothbrushA: There are several reasons why Fido or Fluffy may have bad breath, also known as halitosis. Several medical conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease may cause an unusual or unpleasant smell to the breath. Occasionally, stomach problems including reflux or chronic vomiting, or respiratory issues, such as sinus infections, will cause foul breath. More commonly in dogs than cats, “inappropriate snacking” like sneaking food from the garbage can or treats from the cat litter box can cause halitosis.

But by far, the most common cause of bad breath in dogs and cats is dental or periodontal disease. Over 80% of pets over the age of 5 will have some degree of dental disease. Broken teeth, excessive tartar and plaque, gingivitis and even oral tumors can contribute to bad breath. Dental disease in pets not only causes halitosis, but can also lead to more serious medical conditions when left untreated. If your pet is experiencing bad breath, schedule an appointment for a physical examination to determine the cause and necessary treatments.

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