My dog has bad breath!

Dear dog owner,

Who hasn’t had this experience? Your panting dog’s snout is approaching its loving owner who is lying on the sofa, and the dog is joyfully anticipating a caress or at least some friendly words. Instead, Mr. or Ms. Dog Owner recoils with disgust. The smell is just unbearable!

Most often, bad breath is caused by the buildup of tartar on the teeth. Tartar accumulates if the plaque covering the teeth calcifies and becomes hard. Smaller dog species with tightly spaced teeth and older dogs that no longer chew as much are especially vulnerable to developing tartar.

The unpleasant odor is not the only reason you should try to prevent tartar buildup – most important, it can also lead to gum inflammation (gingivitis), and this inflammation can cause teeth to become loose and fall out. Mouth bacteria can spread to all parts of the body and can cause infections in the kidneys, the liver or the heart valves.

Removal of tartar often requires general anesthesia. This procedure can be costly if antibiotics are needed to combat infection along with teeth extractions and dental surgery. For older dogs with heart disease, the risks of general anesthesia are increased.

For all of these reasons it is important for you to know how to prevent tartar. Just as in humans, the process of chewing harder foods decreases plaque formation in dogs. There are also specially formulated dental treats and diets available to help care for your dog’s teeth. Daily tooth brushing effectively removes plaque from teeth before it has a chance to harden. Special toothpaste is available for dogs, which contains abrasives and antibacterial substances, and is frequently meat-flavored in order to increase acceptance by dogs. You should never use toothpaste intended for humans on your dog. Most of these products contain essential oils and their fluoride content is too high for animals. In addition, most pets find the taste unpleasant. The brushing itself is of greater importance than the toothpaste, as it is brushing that removes plaque.

Here are a few additional tips for accustoming your dog to the daily ritual of brushing his teeth: put a little bit of peanut butter on the toothbrush and play with it with your dog. After a few weeks, he will give you permission to move the brush around in his mouth. Wait another week or two before you actually begin to brush his teeth: when you do, it’s just like with people – always move the brush from the gums toward the tips of the teeth.

You can read all you need to know on the subject of tarter in our article.

We wish your dog a bright and shiny smile!
Your enpevet team.