You lean over to kiss your darling dachshund good night, but recoil in horror at the smell from her mouth. Did she eat something dead? What could possibly be causing that horrendous odor?

After checking under your blankets and pillows, and all over your furry friend, you conclude—the rotten smell is definitely coming from her mouth. Although you watched that zombie movie snuggled with your pup in honor of Halloween, your dog could not possibly have turned into the walking dead. 

Flipping up your pooch’s lip, you gasp at what you see in her mouth—truly zombie-worthy teeth. A large back tooth appears to be decaying, and is covered with a thick layer of slimy cement. You quickly check the other side of your pet’s mouth to ensure that the same tooth on that side is healthy, but it looks larger and has a different shape. Oh no—your precious pup’s tooth is broken.

You can’t believe your dog has shown no signs of pain or discomfort. But, fortunately, her gag-inducing halitosis has alerted you to her periodontal disease. You make an appointment with your veterinary dental expert for the next day to banish your pet’s frightening dental disease.

What causes halitosis in pets?

While we consider normal puppy breath one of the greatest smells, halitosis caused by dental disease falls firmly in the opposing category. Some odor from canine and feline mouths is normal, but the smell should not be so strong that you run howling in horror from your beloved pet. Halitosis can be an indicator of mild, early stage periodontal disease, or can escalate quickly to alert you to a serious problem, such as a fractured tooth.

You know how bad your teeth feel when you wake up, and you’re desperate to banish your morning breath? Your bad breath builds up in only a few hours, as it also does in pets. 

When was the last time you brushed your pet’s teeth? We know that brushing her teeth is easier said than done, but if it’s been more than 20 minutes since you’ve taken a toothbrush to your pet’s teeth, a layer of plaque is already forming, ready to harden into cement-like tartar within 48 hours. 

As plaque accumulates and gingivitis progresses to periodontitis (i.e., tooth-support loss), the bacterial flora in the mouth change from good bacteria to destructive bacteria. This bad bacteria causes decay, which creates sulfur compounds, the culprit behind halitosis. Your pet may have eaten something nasty, but tainted air from the lungs or stomach does not cause bad breath. 

How to prevent halitosis in your pet

To prevent halitosis, the bacteria in plaque and tartar must be eliminated. As the bacteria change into sulfur compounds, you’ll notice a stronger odor from your pet’s mouth. Stop halitosis early with a variety of dental-care products proven to banish bacterial buildup.

Dental-health products that can help reduce periodontal disease include:

  • Treats
  • Chews
  • Prescription diets
  • Water additives
  • Toothpaste
  • Oral wipes
  • Food additives
  • Oral gels or sealants

If you and your pet are already suffering from her stinky breath, she will need a comprehensive dental cleaning by our team of veterinary professionals to remove her plaque and tartar, and to treat any issues that create bacterial pockets. Once your pet’s teeth are free from plaque, tartar, and disease, you should begin your dental-care regimen at home. Daily plaque control is crucial to prevent bacterial buildup responsible for halitosis.

Halloween dental safety for your pet

Before sharing any Halloween candy with your pet this year, consider her dental health. Sugar, xylitol, and chocolate can negatively affect your furry friend’s enamel—and her overall health—and chewy candies can stick to her teeth, as they do yours. Instead, fill up your pet’s trick-or-treat bag with her own goodies that include dental products stamped with the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s seal of approval, or other treats and chews designed to combat plaque, bacteria, tartar, and bad breath.

Don’t let your pet’s halitosis be the most horrifying thing you encounter this Halloween. Give us a call—we have the tools to banish your furry friend’s bad breath.