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Why is my pet’s breath smelly, and what can I do about it?

Blog Home Jun 16, 2021

It is widely assumed that our pet’s naturally have bad breath, mostly because we’re used to them trying to eat disgusting things. 

From poo to small animals, their mouths have seen it all! So let’s face it, you already know your pet’s breath isn’t going to be minty fresh. That being said, it shouldn’t be hold-your-nose horrific! And if it is, you can always use some pet-friendly toothpaste on them (yes, really)!

Our furry friends don’t just use their mouths for eating. Pets use their mouths for playing, hunting and exploring their surroundings. If their teeth and gums aren’t kept in tip-top condition, it can have an impact on their overall wellbeing. 

So what does less-than-pleasant pet breath actually mean? From plaque build-up and gum disease to introducing an oral hygiene regime, we’re here to talk you through it all!

What causes bad breath in pets?

Cat yawning

All pet owners are familiar with dog breath or fishy breath. If you can’t resist curling up with your fur-baby for bedtime, you may notice that your pet can have the worst morning breath of all (initiating a smooch-free zone). 

Bad pet breath can be caused by a range of issues and conditions, including:

  • Food lodged between their teeth and gums
  • Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease)
  • Kidney problems – a touch of ammonia (or pee) stench may be a sign of kidney disease. Other symptoms include excessive thirst and urination, as well as weight loss.
  • Liver disease – if you detect a vomit scent on your pet’s breath, you may want to look for symptoms associated with liver disease. This includes a loss of appetite, yellowing of gums or eyes, and a swollen abdomen. 
  • Respiratory problems
  • Diabetes – this can cause a slightly sweet (or even fruity!) odour. You may also notice excessive thirst, urination and weight loss.

The most common cause of stinky pet breath is gum disease caused by poor dental hygiene. 

Just think how stinky your breath would be after a lifetime of not brushing (gross!). If your pet’s teeth are not being looked after, it can cause plaque build-up leading to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). This means that plaque is eroding your fur-baby’s teeth. If left untreated, this could lead to a visit from the (pet) tooth fairy! 

Food lodged between your pet’s teeth can create a serious stink, so you’ll want to make sure that whatever delicious treats your pet has munched on hasn’t become stuck. Not only will rotting food make for smelly breath, but it can also infect their gums.

How do you prevent bad breath in pets?

The best thing pet parents can do to help prevent bad breath is create a dental hygiene regime. Yes, that’s right! This applies to dogs AND cats. 

Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth with a pet-friendly toothpaste every day. Worried your furry friend may object to you de-stinkifying their breath? Some pawsitive reinforcement will go a long way here!

Here are some tips on cleaning your pet’s teeth:

Apply your pet-friendly toothpaste to a finger (or brush, if preferred) and rub it on your pet’s teeth and gums, all the while inspecting the gums for any signs of colour change or inflammation. 

Top tip: It may be best just to start with the front teeth whilst your pet gets used to their new routine. Each time go a little bit further back until they are happy with you brushing a full set of teeth!

Right afterwards, give them a dental treat, plenty of happy talk (what a good boy/girl!) or some play time. This way, they’ll always associate having their teeth brushed with fun activities and it will be less stressful all-round! 

We must admit, this may work more convincingly on a dog. A cat, however, may be too busy plotting your demise. 

How can Itch support your pet’s dental health?

Itch Dental pet-friendly toothpaste with tube and finger brush

Here at Itch, we are all about supporting your pet’s health and well-being! Our new and improved Itch Dental paste is easy to use and has an enzymatic formulation to help prevent plaque, tartar and stinky breath. Each tube comes with a finger brush to help get into all those nooks and crannies! Best of all, Itch Dental is available as an add-on to your monthly Itch Flea subscription.

To help sweeten the deal of toothbrushing, we also have delicious Itch Dental treats which will help your pet say ta-ta to tartar! Ingredients include green tea, activated charcoal and peppermint to support good oral hygiene, neutralise bad breath and keep those pearly whites sparkling. Itch Dental treats are also available to add to your monthly pack.

Stop that stink right in its tracks and get those gnashers healthy and strong! Add Itch Dental to your monthly personalised protection pack today.