PetMeds® What Causes Bad Breath in Dogs and Cats?

Bad breath in pets can be linked to periodontal disease to more serious oral cancers Another common complaint of animal guardians is why their pet has such bad breath, also known as halitosis by the medical and veterinary profession. Bad breath can have many potential causes. The first and most obvious includes some sort of oral periodontal disease. This can range from loose or infected teeth with bacterial plaque buildup, to more extensive lesions and swelling of the gums.

In older pets, tumors or growths which can range from benign gum growths called epuli, to more serious oral cancers can also be found. It is important, however, for an animal guardian to realize, that dental disease is not the only cause of bad breath in a pet. Sometimes upper respiratory and/or sinus infections, particularly in cats can be a common cause of bad breath. Poor digestion and/or digestive tract disease, including intermittent belching or reflux can present bad breath in a dog or cat who is otherwise not having any signs of vomiting or diarrhea.

Depending upon the cause of the bad breath will determine proper course of treatment. That is why any pet with chronic bad breath should have a full medical exam and veterinary assessment to rule many of these possibilities out. Once a diagnosis is obtained, an appropriate course of treatment can be instituted.

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  1. My dog gets bad breath particularly when I give her certain types of raw hides. I have started just sticking to the plain white raw hides. I find that when she belches, this is when the breath was really bad from the flavored or coated raw hide. I’m wondering if any human treatments, like home remedies can be given to dogs. I think there is a remedy mixing water and peroxide to drink. Would this be dangerous to dogs?

  2. I see nothing for stomatitis here. Cats with stomatitis have bad breath. Symptoms include redness and swelling of any suface of the mouth. They get hungry, but avoid eating because it is painful. When you try to examine the mouth, they will resist. Left untreated, a secondary infection can form. Ulcers may form, causing the animal to drool. The animal may end up having all its teeth extracted. Owners should be aware that this is a possible diagnosis and followup. I am on your site to order natural/raw food as part of the treatment. Owners should know if their animal has this condition, dry, grain-rich foods are the worst thing for their animals.

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 26, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks for your addition on stomatitis. All excellent points. Raw meat best way to feed most dogs and cats.

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