Dear Dr. Jackson,
My dog has bad breath. Even though he is only 4 years old, could he have a bad tooth or something? EJF
Bad breath in pets, either dog or cat, can definitely indicate an oral problem. In medical terms, we call this halitosis and by examination, try to find the underlying cause.
Data from the American Veterinary Dental Society show that as many as 80% of dogs older than three years have some type of tooth and gum disease. If left untreated often this type of mouth condition can lead to more serious dental issues such as tooth decay and receding and bleeding gums. As tartar and infection builds, these dental issues also can trigger serious health conditions such as kidney, heart and liver diseases over the long term.
February through April is often designated as “Pet Dental Months” in order to educated pet owners to learn about ways to improve the health of their pets’ mouth.
Through this education during the Semi-Annual exam, most veterinarians and their staff will discuss ways of brushing, cleaning, and even applying oral plaque control to reduce this tartar buildup. Our hospital believes in preventative medicine so much that we offer a $30 Dental Month Discount to all dental cleanings during these months.
If left untreated, many pets will require a professional teeth cleaning and polishing under sedation or anesthesia. I would encourage you to have a thorough oral exam at your next wellness visit. An investment in time and money will yield many rewards for the health of your pet for years to come.