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Bad Breath in Pets

It’s a myth that with time and age, your pet will start to develop nasty breath. Sure it’s true that as your best friend ages, the more care you’re going to have to give them in order to stay fit and healthy will slightly increase, but bad breath can affect any pet whether they’re three years or thirteen years.

What are the causes of bad breath in pets?

Halitosis, the term given by vets or in laymen terms ‘bad breath’,  has multiple causes which could be at the helm to why your pet isn’t quite the fresh smelling daisy you’d like he/she to be.

A wide range of complications may lead to Halitosis, including:

·         Kidney disease and Diabetes mellitus

·         Rhinitis &sinusitis (inflammation to the nasal/ sinus passages)

·         Gastrointestinal problems (within the stomach and the passages to)

·         Trauma

·         Decaying teeth

·         Tooth abscess

·         Bacterial, viral or fungal infections

·         Dietary

The most common cause though, is a bacterial problem caused by an excessive build-up of plaque called periodontal disease which often causes tooth or gum infections, leading to a loss the loss of teeth and sometimes other problems.

Identifying Halitosis

It’s important to check your pet’s breath often, and if possible their teeth and gums too. If their breath, teeth or gums don’t smell or look great then it may be best to book an appointment with a veterinary nurse.

In our case, our nurses willset out the appropriate course of action for your pet to ensure that they get the best course of treatment. If there are problems that cannot be solved from home, further action may need to be taken such as a dental procedure like a scrape and polish or possibly a tooth extraction may be necessary, these procedures are carried out under a general anaesthetic and require your pet to spend a short stay with us.

For those in the Adelaide area, there are vets in Seaford, Blackwood, Aldinga and Wallinga that can carry out comprehensive check-ups and can diagnose and distinguish between any problems concerning your pet’s dental health.

Preventing Halitosis

·         Did you know that there are specially formulated toothpastes for cats and dogs? And they are sometimes even flavoured beef, chicken or other more pet friendly flavourings. Be careful when brushing your dog’s teeth though as dogs aren’t accustomed to having their teeth brushed and you may provoke them, leading them to bite you. But be sure to avoid toothpastes with alcohol or artificial sweeteners.

·         Keep them happy with a raw bone or chew toy, cats too! Raw bones give your pet the nutrients calcium and phosphorus which promotes healthy bone growth and maintenance. This includes teeth!  More specific for dogs- meaty bones, ones with cartilage and soft tissue still attachedgives your pet the equivalent of a brush and floss. This helps to break down tartar and reduces the risk of gum disease.

·         Diet is one of the most important aspects of your pet’s health, and therefore their dental health. There will always be the debate of dry food vs wet food though, and although this may come down to owner’s preference there are thing to take into consideration when choosing. There are a few things to consider in their dental diet though, a couple of these are:



1.       Dry foods do not clean your pet’s teeth. This is another myth that is strongly believed but is easily proven wrong by just observing your pet’s teeth afterwards. When we eat biscuits, are our teeth cleaned? No. So nor do your pet’s when they’re eating their dry food.

2.       Dogs and cat’s teeth are designed for killing and eating their prey. They are predominantly meat eat eaters and it is important that their diet consists of primarily meat in order for them to stay fit and healthy, so whether it’s dry or wet food you feed your pet, it must not be vegetarian or vegan.

3.       As a whole, raw meats or meaty bones are the most effective way for your pet’s teeth to stay clean. This allows them to bite off a sufficient bite-sized chunk as well as cleaning their gums by having the raw meat rub against. Let’s not forget that our pet’s ancestors were hunting, killing and eating their prey. Not all of our pets now do this, but the mechanics of their teeth and gums haven’t changed.

In summary, every precaution you take into ensuring that your cat or dog is both orally and internally healthy is essential and extremely beneficial. A healthy pet costs less through vets bills and will go on to bring joy to your family for years to come. Obviously not all cats and dogs are the same as others, just like humans, some may develop problems through their teeth that may come down to genetics, in that case it’s always best to see a vet as soon as possible for a thorough check up.