Dog Breath: 4 Ways to Combat Halitosis

Preventing unpleasant dog breath works best if you start from the moment you get your pet. Acclimating your dog to an oral care program from puppy hood prevents stress on both you and your dog. The American Veterinary Medical Association states 80 percent of dogs suffer from gum disease. This remains a leading cause of breath odors in canines. Maintaining healthy gums and teeth is the best way to prevent foul smelling dog breath. Daily Teeth Brushing Routine Before attempting to brush your dog's teeth, get your pet accustomed to your touch. Spend a week or two holding your dog's head and putting your fingers in his/her mouth. Offer a treat after every session. The dog learns to associate treats with you touching his/her head and mouth. To establish a daily brushing routine to prevent bad dog breath, you need to find canine toothpaste your pet likes. Dog toothpaste comes in different flavors, including beef and poultry. Never use human toothpaste, Xylitol is often in the ingredients and is toxic to dogs. Other items you need include: * Dog toothbrush * Dry cloth * Fingertip brush Give your dog a taste of the canine toothpaste for a couple days before attempting to brush the teeth. Allowing the pet to grow accustomed to the taste helps immensely. When brushing your dog's teeth, brush in small circles from the gum line to the top of the teeth. Some dogs don't mind toothbrushes, others prefer the fingertip brush. If your dog dislikes both, a soft, dry cloth is a great option. Work from the back of the mouth forward. If your dog starts fidgeting, stop brushing and try again later. Forcing the dog to sit while you finish will make the dog fearful. Dogs swallow their toothpaste. Dog toothpaste is completely safe, so don't worry about the amount your dog swallows. If you want, purchase a specially formulated enzyme additive, like Dental Fresh, that you add to your pet's water. The enzyme prevents tartar build up preventing smelly dog breath. Dental Chews After a meal, offer your dog a dental chew to help remove plaque. Purchase dental chews that are twice the size of your dog's mouth for best results. Dental chews come in many flavors, including mint, helping to freshen dog breath. Oral Inspection When brushing your dog's teeth, visually inspect the gums and teeth. If the gums are red or swollen, call your vet. Also, check for particles like sticks, rocks or grass in the mouth. These promote bacterial growth that causes bad breath. Vet Recommended Dog Food Many veterinarians recommend dry dog foods to help scrape plaque off teeth. Look for dry foods that contain high-quality proteins without fillers like corn gluten. Products must contain pure meats like chicken or fishmeal and no meat by-products. Yearly Veterinary Visit Finally, take your animal to the veterinarian every year for vaccinations and an oral check-up. Unlike humans, dogs may not need their teeth cleaned professionally every year, but your vet will be able to advise you when it is necessary. If you vet skips the oral check-up, request one. Periodic professional cleanings are key to preventing bad dog breath.