22 March 2018 | Doggie health issues

When is Halitosis a Cause for Concern?

When your dog has bad breath it can be extremely unpleasant for all those around them. No matter what the reason for the bad breath, all causes of bad breath need to be treated.   Bad breath also known as Halitosis usually has oral causes. There are, however, some non-oral causes; and in these cases halitosis can be a symptom of a more serious condition.  

  1. Oral Causes
  • Periodontal disease: Bad breath of oral origin is caused by microbes within the oral cavity. Anaerobic bacteria release malodorous volatile sulphur compounds which tend to proliferate in certain conditions. These gram negative bacteria are usually found in plaque, in periodontal pockets and on the surface of the tongue. They proliferate in conditions where there is poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease.
  1. Non Oral causes

Other possible non oral causes of halitosis can stem from the airways, oesphagus, stomach and even certain metabolic conditions and behavioural conditions.

  • Oesopgahus

Some conditions such as Mega oesophagus where there is a dilation of the oesophagus and incomplete closure of the sphincter, where the oesophagus joins the stomach can allow the release of the smell of the fermenting food from the stomach. This usually gives off a rancid type of smell.

  • Diabetes

Diabetics can suffer from a condition called ketoacidosis and this can cause bad breath. The odour is usually sweet smelling.

  • Kidney

Pets with chronic renal failure suffering from high levels of urea in the blood can cause a sour smelling mouth odour.

  • Nasal passages and airways

The nasal passages can also be a source of bad breath and examples of conditions that cause halitosis are infections and foreign bodies. The odour is usually foul smelling.

  • Behavioural

Coprophagia is the ingestion of faeces and is a common behavioural problem contributing to bad breath.

  • Cancer

Bad breath can be caused from cancer in the mouth, nasal passages, throat , oesophagus and airways.  

If your pet has bad breath here’s what you need to do:

  • Take your pet to the vet: Your vet will diagnose the cause of the bad breath and suggest an appropriate treatment. Whether the cause is oral or non oral they will more than likely need some form of treatment
  • Brush you your pets teeth regularly to maintain dental hygiene
  • Feed a good quality highly digestible food
  • Feed dental chews and toys to maintain dental health
  • Use a natural dental hygiene product


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