If you’re a proud pet owner, you’ve probably encountered bad breath in your dog or cat at least a few times. Bad breath in dogs and cats is a common issue and many pet owners believe it’s just an unavoidable part of owning a pet.

While bad breath can be harmless, in some cases it can also be a sign of potentially serious underlying medical conditions.

Determining the reasons behind your pet’s bad breath can help prevent the problem and keep your pets healthy.

A small white dog undergoing a dental cleaning which can help prevent bad breath in cats and dogs.

What Causes Bad Breath in Cats and Dogs?

One of the most common causes of bad breath in cats and dogs is dental disease.

Dental disease is very common in pets. It’s estimated that at least 50 to 90% of cats and 80% of dogs will have some form of dental disease by the time they reach four years of age. As pets age, their likelihood of developing dental disease increases.

When plaque and tartar build-up on your pet’s teeth, it can cause issues such as bad breath, gingivitis, inflammation, infections, tooth decay, and tooth loss.

To prevent dental disease related issues in cats and dogs, it’s important to regularly brush your pet’s teeth, feed them a healthy and balanced diet, prevent dehydration, and maintain a regular schedule of dental exams and cleanings.

How Does Diet Affect My Pet’s Breath?

Diet can play an important part in your pet’s breath, and a well-balanced diet can help improve your pet’s breath and their overall health.

Foods that are high in sugars and added fillers can increase the amount of bacteria in the mouth and lead to bad breath and decay. Dehydration can also cause bad breath in cats and dogs.

To keep your pet’s mouth healthy, choose a high-quality food with minimal fillers and always provide plenty of fresh drinking water.

Adding crunchy treats to your pet’s diet can help cut down on tartar build-up and adding canned food can help prevent dehydration in pets that are reluctant to drink.

When Should I Worry About My Pet’s Breath?

If you are worried about your pet’s breath, you should schedule an exam for your pet for their health and for your peace of mind.

While it may seem odd at first to schedule an exam for an issue as common as bad breath, exams are one of our best tools for detecting issues in their early stages when they are at their most treatable.

Bad breath in cats and dogs can also be caused by conditions such as diabetes and liver disease.

If you notice a sudden change in your pet’s breath or your cat or dog’s breath is consistently bad, your pet may be dealing with a medical issue that needs attention.