If your dog has chronic bad breath, chances are he has dental disease, which affects an astounding eighty percent of all dogs. Dental disease in dogs is really the same as in humans and is caused by an accumulation of plaque that builds up around the base of the teeth at the gum line.
Bacteria build up in the plaque and causes infection in the dog’s gums, with subsequent bad breath, redness of the gums, tenderness, easy bleeding, that left untreated can lead to pain and tooth loss. The consequences of dental disease can go far beyond your dog’s mouth as ongoing inflammation is a risk factor for other serious illnesses, including heart and kidney disease.
So what can you do to prevent dental disease in your dog?
Yes, you should brush your dog’s teeth daily, using a specially formulated canine toothpaste. Never use toothpaste meant for humans and also do not use baking soda or salt, as these, if swallowed can harm your dog. You can purchase a dog toothbrush or use a toothbrush designed for children to brush your dog’s teeth. Alternatives include a finger toothbrush or gauze wrapped around your finger.
You should also schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a dental exam. This will be done under anesthesia, so that the dog’s mouth can be thoroughly examined and his teeth cleaned. Also, your dog can be examined for other, less common causes for his bad breath, such as infected or broken teeth or even cancer.
So just like you wouldn’t neglect your own oral health, pay attention to your dog’s teeth and gums as well. Good oral hygiene and regular dental exams may well mean the difference between a long and healthy life and a shortened one.