A dog panting in the cold airAccording to an analysis conducted by a pet insurance company in 2013, the average yearly cost to prevent dental disease is about $170. Of course, The Pet Experts recognize this is a sizable price tag, but when you consider it can cost over $500 to treat dental disease annually, the long-term savings and benefits are obvious.

Of all the symptoms that precede a dental disease diagnosis, dog breath is the most common. Unfortunately, by the time you start to smell it, significant damage has already been done. However, good hygiene at home and regular dental cleanings can save you money and benefit your dog far into the future.

Ignoring Infection

Dog breath, while common, is not natural. We’re not talking about the typical bully stick aroma that you’ve maybe grown accustomed to; instead, dog breath (halitosis) indicates an infection inside the mouth. Left alone, dental infection can spread to the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs, posing a significant threat to vitality.

Periodontal Disease

Dog breath is usually the result of periodontal disease. Responsible for eventual decay and tooth loss, untreated periodontal (dental) disease causes the following red-flag symptoms:

  • Inflamed or bleeding gums
  • Lost, loose, or broken teeth
  • Discolored teeth (look out for yellowish or brown teeth)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Inappetence
  • Dropping food
  • Pawing the mouth
  • Lethargy

It’s important to bring your pet in for a wellness exam and a dental check-up at the onset of any of the above symptoms. Sometimes, dog breath can be related to respiratory problems, diabetes, issues in the throat or tonsils, and GI concerns. Please do not delay attention or treatment for your dog.

Putting Dog Breath in its Place

While prevention is the best course of action regarding periodontal disease, taking control of dog breath is possible with these suggestions:

  • Scheduled visits—Staying on top of your dog’s preventive care will go a long way toward eliminating dog breath from your life.
  • Professional cleanings—Conducted under general anesthesia, annual cleanings can remove the cause of periodontal disease by scaling plaque and tartar from the gum line.
  • Brushing at home—Perceived as the “gold standard” of pet dental care, there is no substitute for daily brushing.
  • Baseline care—You know your dog the best. It’s that close understanding and observation of certain behaviors that can alert you to any developing problems.

The Pet Experts Understand

The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center are committed to helping you and your dog live the longest, fullest life together. We can assist you finding a prescription diet that promotes dental health, certain dental treats or chews, or other approved products by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about dog breath, we encourage you to contact the team at Springbrook Animal Care Center.