What Can You Do About Your Pet’s Bad Breath?

February 4, 2021

By Patricia Bennett, D.V.M.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month and a great time to address your pet’s oral health concerns. Just like people, dogs, and cats benefit from regular care of their teeth, and a clean mouth can help prevent more serious health concerns later. Poor tooth health can result in common problems involving not only the mouth but the liver, heart, and kidneys as well.

As a pet owner, you may not be checking or cleaning your dog’s or cat’s teeth on a regular basis. You may assume that all is well if he or she is eating. However, all may not be well. If your pet has had bad breath or displays any of these signs, oral health should be investigated further.

  • Moves slowly to go to the food bowl.
  • Licks the juice and leaves the bites while at the food bowl.
  • Runs away from the food bowl growling and hissing after taking a bite.
  • Refuses to eat dry kibble.
  • Drops food out of the mouth.
  • Becomes head shy.
  • Acts irritable and/or aggressive.
  • Develops a swollen face, swollen eye, or a facial wound.
  • Has foul-smelling drool.
  • Paws at the face or mouth.
  • Is losing weight.
  • Hides at food time.
  • Loses teeth found around the home.

Your cat or dog should receive a complete examination that will include an oral health check to rule out potential causes of disease and to identify existing problems. Keeping up with your pet’s dental health can enhance his or her quality of life. If your pet has not had an oral health evaluation, schedule an exam with your family veterinarian.

For tips on caring for your pet’s teeth, visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council or Veterinary Partner websites and search for pet dental health: www.vohc.org/veterinary_oral_health.html  or https://veterinarypartner.vin.com

The information contained in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional health advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment. Always consult your veterinarian or other qualified healthcare provider with questions regarding any possible health condition.

Patricia Bennett, D.V.M., serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor in Primary Care at the Companion Animal Clinic at Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine in Glendale, Arizona. The Companion Animal Clinic utilizes the latest technology to provide high-quality veterinary care for the community at affordable prices. Call 623-806-7387 (PETS) to schedule an appointment.

Related Topics

Animal Health Institute Companion Animal Clinic