The most common cause of stinky breath in dogs and cats is periodontal disease. This refers to a build-up of tartar on the teeth, with inflammation and infection of the surrounding gum tissue. You can check this easily yourself by gently lifting your pet’s lip with your finger to take a look at the teeth – if you see brown or grey material on the teeth along with red gums, this is a good indicator that he needs a dental cleaning! Less commonly, bad breath can also be caused by a tumor or foreign body in the mouth, or a systemic illness like diabetes or kidney disease.
If you notice that your pet’s breath smells worse than normal, it’s always a good idea to see your veterinarian for a check-up. Your vet can perform a thorough dental exam and cleaning under anesthesia so that any infected or painful teeth can be removed, and may also recommend blood work or other testing if needed to make sure that he is healthy otherwise. At Brown Veterinary Service, we offer a special discount on dental cleanings during the month of February – so it’s a great time to have this done, if needed!