Dog bad breath is something almost every pet owner has experienced at one time or another. Most people assume that it just comes with the territory when you own a dog, but that doesn't have to be the case. Not only is it possible to avoid bad breath, it is highly recommended that you take good care of your dog's teeth as poor dental health can lead to other medical issues. So don't just overlook that awful smell or write it off as a mere annoyance.
As is the case with humans, bad dog breath is caused by a buildup of bacteria. The important thing to remember is that even though the odor may be coming from the mouth, that doesn't necessarily mean that the bacteria is located there. Often, bad breath in dogs is a sign of bacterial infection elsewhere, including the gastrointestinal tract, liver or kidneys. That's why bad breath should always be taken seriously.
Because dogs can't brush their teeth the way we do, they are more prone to plaque and tartar buildup than humans. This is especially true for smaller breeds, but it can also apply to larger breeds such as the Australian Shepherd. Just like in humans, as this plaque builds up it can lead to gum disease, which can, in turn, lead to other health issues including dog bad breath.
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Bad breath in dogs can be a symptom of more serious health issues.
There are many potential causes for bad dog breath, so if your furry friend is suffering from it, it is always a good idea to have him checked out by the vet. Only your vet will be able to determine if there is a deeper-rooted cause or if it is simply a matter of poor oral hygiene. Since you can't know for sure, bad breath in dogs should never be taken lightly. It's better to be safe than sorry, so the sooner you get your dog examined and diagnosed, the better.
Once your vet has checked out your dog and determined the cause of his dog bad breath, then you begin to take steps to treat it. If there is a serious underlying health issue, the vet can recommend the best course of treatment. If the odor simply stems from a buildup of plaque, a professional cleaning may be necessary, along with a change of diet.
Aside from these steps, there are other things you can do on a regular basis to help prevent bad dog breath including feeding your dog high quality, easy to digest food. Another option is using either treats or dental chew toys designed to clean the teeth naturally. With larger, more active breeds like the Australian Shepherd, chew toys may be a tricky choice as this breed can be hard on them, but edible dog chew treats like Dentastix or Greenies will usually work nicely.
Of course, given the potential for serious underlying causes of bad breath in dogs, one of the best things you can do is to stay on top of your dog's dental health. Make sure he sees the vet regularly and has his teeth examined and cleaned. You can also discuss various oral health products with your doctor to see if there are any that he might particularly recommend.
No doubt you take your own oral health seriously, as you should, so why not do the same for your best friend? You want what's best for your dog and that means doing everything you can to keep him healthy, including his teeth. So don't dismiss that dog bad breath; it could be a serious warning sign.