What is the first thing that comes to mind when I mention the term ‘dog breath’?
I’m guessing you won’t be thinking of a bed of roses or the smell of a newborn baby. The answers I’ve gotten varied from fish, blood, rotting carcass, garbage, bad cheese and even poop!
Where have these dogs been putting their mouths into?
Any dog owner will know that their dogs don’t have the best of breaths but many still do like the smell of their furry friend’s breath.
Why Do I Like The Smell Of My Dog’s Breath?
In most cases, dog owners like the smell of their dog’s breath out of familiarity. The sense of smell is a very strong sense that is tied to our memories.
Just like how smelling a freshly brewed cup of coffee in the morning reminds you of that amazing holiday you just had, the smell of your dog’s breath can evoke the same emotions in humans.
It can bring about fond memories of dogs or just great moments that you and your pet shared ever since it was a puppy.
The Smell Is Calming
Some dog owners enjoy the smell of their dog’s breath because it can have a wonderful and calming effect.
Provided that the dog’s mouth doesn’t smell like poop or a dead animal, the familiarity of the smell can have a calming effect on the owner.
Just like smelling a pillow, soft toy or blanket you had since your childhood days.
We call it a ‘comforting kind of stinky’, a scent that only we can comprehend.
Helps Us Bond With Our Dogs
Smelling your dog’s breath doesn’t just make you feel good but it helps to deepen the bond between you and your dog.
Dogs secrete pheromones from six different places on their body. These areas include a dog’s ear and mouth.
The ear pheromones released by a mother dog help her puppies bond closer to her.
When a dog greets other dogs, it will first smell the butt followed by other areas like the mouth to take in more pheromones to analyze.
You are also taking in your dog’s pheromones that are being released from the ears and mouth when smelling your dog’s breath.
Here’s an interesting fact.
Did you know that dogs can differentiate between a male and a female human?
Why We Love The Breath Of Puppies?
If your dog is still a puppy or if you had your dog ever since it was a puppy, the way its breath smells now is different than when it was a pup.
A puppy’s breath tends to smell nicer than an adult dog which is largely due to its diet. Puppies are fed milk and have yet to start eating solid or raw food.
They also have better oral health as puppies are still young and have yet to develop any form of periodontal disease.
Once puppies start teething or get older, their breath will start to change for the worse.
The same thing applies to cats when they are kittens.
If you are a big fan of puppy breath, enjoy it while it lasts.
What Should Normal Dog Breath Smell Like?
As your dog gets older, it is hard to expect their mouths to smell like a bed of roses all the time. Then again, your dog’s mouth should not be smelling like a pile of garbage left to rot under the hot sun.
A mild odor from your dog’s mouth is considered normal. Some might call this scent gamey. It should not be bad to the point of being smelly.
Do note that it might not be the best thing for some individuals to get licked by dogs on the face due to certain health risks.
When Is It Considered ‘Bad Dog Breath’?
If you can smell your dog’s breath from a few feet away then that isn’t a good thing and could mean an underlying health issue.
If your dog’s breath makes you gag or run for the hills, that is also a strong indicator that something is off in your dog’s mouth or digestive system.
Any bad odor that is coming from your dog’s mouth needs to be looked at by the vet.
What Causes Bad Breath In Dogs?
Here are some common medical issues that can make your dog’s breath smell bad.
Bad oral hygiene is usually the main reason that can cause a dog’s breath to start smelling bad. The build-up of tartar and plague over time in your dog’s mouth can cause bacteria to start growing and cause bad breath.
There are some dental issues that can cause excessive drooling which stains your dog’s lips pink.
Bad Dietary Habits
You are what you eat.
This wise adage applies to both humans and dogs.
If your dog has a lousy diet that consists of poor-quality food, don’t expect your dog to have a decent-smelling breath.
Dogs are opportunistic scavengers which means that they can eat almost anything that is easily available.
This can mean eating out of your garbage can and even the poop of cats. Make sure to keep your dog away from these ‘food sources’.
A smell of urine coming from a dog’s mouth could mean a sign of kidney disease. Dogs that suffer from kidney disease can’t effectively remove urea from their bodies. This can make their breath smell like traces of urine.
If your dog has very bad dog breath, isn’t eating well and has been vomiting, it could be a sign of liver failure. This is very serious and needs immediate veterinarian attention.
All dogs are susceptible to having bad breath but toy breeds tend to suffer more from oral disease and have bad breath.
Dog breeds that have a lot of long fur around the mouth area can add to the problem. The fur can trap saliva and food resulting in a bad smell.
How To Prevent Bad Breath In Dogs?
Prevention is definitely better than cure when it comes to doggie breath. The best way to ensure good oral hygiene for your dog is to brush its teeth regularly.
You can get a dog toothbrush and toothpaste from your pet store and start brushing your dog’s teeth and gums on a regular basis.
The earlier you do this to your dog, the less resistance you will encounter as it gets older.
Do not use human toothpaste on your dog and it contains an artificial sweetener called Xylitol which is toxic to both dogs and cats.
In the event that your notice any bleeding, swelling or sniff bad breath in general, it would be good to take your dog to the vet for a complete health checkup.
No one can enjoy and appreciate the smell of your dog’s breath more than you. It is also your responsibility to ensure that your dog has good oral hygiene.
Your dog and your nose will thank you for keeping its mouth smelling as fresh as possible.