Your cat or dog has that certain odour when he gives you a kiss or when he just walks in the room. Is this something to be concerned about? There are three common myths about halitosis.
Three Common Myths about halitosis in your pet:
- “It’s just doggie breath!”
Many dogs or cats do have a certain breath odour that is normal. But it shouldn’t be very unpleasant and it shouldn’t be the first thing you notice when your pet walks in the room.
- “My cat always smells like that”. One caution here: you’ve heard of going nose blind? Well that often happens with owners and pets. Maybe ask a friend or neighbour what they think about your pet’s breath.
Perhaps you’ve become accustomed to that smell, but that doesn’t mean it’s not something to be concerned about.
- “Your breath would smell too if you ate pooh!” Yes, what is it with dogs and eating feces? No respectable cat would ever do such a thing. In any case, I digress from the topic here: no matter what your dog eats, it shouldn’t be the cause of a lingering bad smell in his mouth. If the smell is there, there’s a cause.
A really bad mouth odour can be a sign of one of several things: dental disease such as gingivitis or the more serious periodontitis, an infection in another part of the mouth, like the tongue or the soft palate, something stuck in his mouth for a long time, or a disease affecting the whole body that is causing odours to come up from the stomach.
You can start by just lifting up the lips and looking. The gums shouldn’t be red: that’s not normal. The teeth should not be covered with tartar, plaque, or worse. You shouldn’t be bowled over by a bad smell.
80-85% of the patients that veterinarians see have some form of dental disease. Gingivitis is very common. That’s when the gums are swollen and red and there’s a coating of slime, called plaque, on the teeth and some tartar or calculus as well.
Gingivitis is dental disease in the early stage and it can be cured with dental cleaning and good home care. When gingivitis is long-standing it becomes periodontitis, and that’s bad news. The periodontal ligament holds the tooth in place in the socket. When it becomes infected, that signifies a deep-seated infection and eventually a loose tooth. An infection is an infection, no matter where it is. It is painful. It is a focus of bacteria that can make things worse and worse around the tooth and may have a bigger effect on the whole body.
Why ignore bad breath? Have a look in his mouth for yourself first, then take your cat or your dog in to see your veterinarian.
The doctor will go on a search for the cause. He or she will assess the level of gum disease. They will look for other causes of bad breath. Sometimes there’s a stick or a bone stuck in the mouth that you may not have noticed, sometimes there’s a serious problem, usually it’s dental disease. Your veterinarian will get to the root of the problem and make recommendations to fix it.
Don’t let bad breath in your pet be acceptable. Get it checked!
February is Dental Month at Steeples Veterinary Clinic.
Well, really, it’s always dental month …all year long! But in February we want to have a special focus on your pet’s smile.
Ask one of our team members about Dental Month!