Posts Tagged ‘dog kisses’

Howlitosis: When Bad Breath Happens to Good Dogs

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

There are few things in life better than getting kisses from a dog. However, you may not feel this way if your dog’s breath is so bad it could peel paint! Dogs aren’t self-conscious about their halitosis and will kiss you no matter what ghastly smell is coming from their mouth. Thankfully there are many ways you can be a friend to your best friend, and help them improve their oral health.

What Causes Canine Bad Breath?

Halitosis (or bad breath) in dogs can be caused by several factors. It’s important to speak with your veterinarian about what may be the cause of your dog’s bad breath and rule out any underlying health issues.

Periodontal Disease: Like humans, if dogs don’t maintain proper oral hygiene, they can develop dental issues. Tartar and plaque build up are the most common, and can be the culprit behind some nasty morning breath especially if decay is a factor. If this buildup is not treated, it can progress to periodontal disease which includes inflamed gums, overgrowth of bacteria, and even worse breath (if you can imagine it!). Also keep in mind that smaller dogs are more susceptible to periodontal disease than larger dogs because their teeth are packed more closely together making them vulnerable to filthy fangs.

Pyoderma: Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that is commonly occurs in the facial and lip folds of a dog. Brachycephalic breeds (calling all Pugs, Bulldogs, Pekinese & Boston Terriers!) are especially susceptible to this condition, but it can affect any breed. Symptoms include scaly, crusty, or pustules which produce an odor. They look much like a large, horrible pimple. Treatments include antibacterial sprays , topical hydrocortisone cream, and antibiotics.

Kidney Disease: Metabolic issues like kidney disease can also negatively affect your dogs breath. Kidneys help eliminate toxins in the blood stream, so when they are not doing their job, the waste build up can cause a terrible mouth odor.

Diabetes: Rather than foul smelling breath, a diabetic dog produces a sickly-sweet fruit like odor in its mouth. This is due to high levels of diabetic ketones that are in the body. It can also smell a little like the acetone you find in nail polish.


Brush, Brush, Brush: You (hopefully!) brush your pearly whites twice a day, every day. Now imagine that you’re stuck on a desert island for months without a toothbrush. Things would feel pretty gross inside your mouth, right? This is probably the state of affairs in your dogs’ mouth if you’re not brushing his teeth regularly. Brushing can be a daunting task at first (if you can, start during puppyhood!), and both you and your dog will have learn together. Start out once a week and gradually increase to at least 3 sessions per week (daily is ideal). There are many flavors of dog tooth paste that are irresistible to dogs, so make sure to find one that your pooch loves. Also make sure to find an appropriately sized toothbrush for your dogs’ mouth. When you go in to brush, get down on your dogs’ level, and let your pup become familiar with both the brush and paste. If your dog is tolerating this, gently pull back their lips and softly brush. Make sure to take breaks to reward your dog with treats (it sounds counterintuitive while brushing but removing tartar/plaque and not necessarily food particles is your number one concern). Be patient, and reassuring to your pooch, and don’t get frustrated if it takes several sessions for him comfortable with the concept.

Veterinary Dental Cleanings: If your dog absolutely won’t allow you to brush his teeth and has bad breath, consider a dental cleaning with your vet. Dogs will receive an initial exam and blood work to ensure they are healthy enough for anesthesia. They are then placed under general anesthesia so the dentist can do a thorough cleaning and address any underlying dental problems. For example, a vet may pull a dogs infected tooth during a cleaning if it’s found to be the source of pain, infection, or bad breath. Vets can also treat gum issues they discover during the cleaning. Though many dog owners may be nervous with the idea of anesthetizing their dog, rest assured it’s very safe. Ask your vet about their anesthesia protocol; more and more vets are using local anesthesia during dental procedures to they don’t have to administer as much general anesthesia.  Depending on the state of your dog’s oral health, professional cleanings are recommended every 6 months – 1 year.

Chews and Treats: There’s no question that your dog is going to love this solution! The right treats may be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to treating their bad breath. Dental chews are designed to help remove tartar and plaque while satisfying your dogs natural urge to chew. Make sure to never leave your dog unattended with a chew, and check labels to avoid artificial ingredients, sugar, and fillers. For a special treat, consider giving your dog a raw frozen bone! They will go crazy for it, and these bones encourage a pH level that kills bacteria in their mouth!   

Minty Fresh! Tips and tricks for cleaning your dog’s teeth

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Does your dog suffer from bad breath? And do their sweet doggy kisses make you want to plug your nose? The solution is simple. Dogs need clean teeth just like you and me! They are at risk for gum disease and tooth decay, as well as infections which can spread and cause life threatening conditions.

dog toothbrush

Here are some tips on how to set a healthy dental routine with your furry loved ones. Brushing just three days a week can make a huge difference. First, pick a time of day when your dog is calm and relaxed, maybe after a nice long walk or in the evening when things are winding down. It doesn’t matter what time as along as your dog is calm enough for you to stick a toothbrush in their mouth without an impromptu game of tug ‘o war. Using a toothbrush made for dogs can be helpful because the bristles are softer and special angled. Also be sure to use dog friendly toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth because it contains ingredients that are potentially dangerous for your pet. Many major brands contain additives such as sudsing agents which can lead to liver damage if enough is ingested.

Two other toxic additives are xylitol and fluoride. Xylitol is commonly used as a sweetener, and dogs who ingest it are at risk of a surge in insulin followed quickly by a precipitous drop in blood sugar. It can also cause severe liver disease. Fluoride can cause a multitude of problems from digestive upset to irregular heartbeat, so please be safe and make sure to purchase pet toothpaste at your local pet supplies store.


Comfort is key, so make sure your dog feels safe and relaxed – it’s always a good idea to kneel instead of standing over/above your dog. You don’t want your stance to be at all intimidating and if your dog seems too upset or anxious, just stop and try again later!

When it comes to your dog’s oral health, gums are just as important as teeth. You might want to start by gently using your finger to massage along your dog’s upper gums to help them get comfortable with the sensation. Next, try putting a small amount of toothpaste on your finger to and let your dog taste it so they can get used to the smell, flavor and texture. Then, put these two steps together and try this in combination with the toothbrush. Lift the upper lip and angle the bristles to reach the gum line, then gently brush in small circles.

If you’re just getting started with regular brushing routine, some slight bleeding may occur. However, if your dog’s gums bleed every time you brush their teeth, it may be a sign that you are brushing too hard or they have a pre-existing condition that may need attention. If so, contact your vet!

Last, but not least make sure you are reassuring during this process by patting your dog’s head and whispering sweet nothings into their ears and please end on a positive note. Give your dog a healthy teeth-cleaning treat (We love treats from The Honest Kitchen) and tell them they did a good job!


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