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People love playing with puppies and kittens. They enjoy holding them in their arms and watching them explore a world they are already intimately familiar with. Their fur is soft, they smell great, and their energy level is through the roof. But as these little bundles of cuteness grow older, they begin to develop. They become less playful, less cuddly, and they lose that new puppy or kitty smell. The most noticeable change is their breath.

As your dog or cat grows older, their breath begins to develop a stronger smell. This is a normal change. What is not normal, is for that smell to become an odor. A common belief among pet owners is that as your furry friend grows older, their breath will begin to smell worse. When your pet has bad breath, there is a cause, and there is a solution. Causes of Bad Breath There are a number of reasons your pet’s breath may begin to stink. The three most common reasons an animal’s breath may smell bad are disease, diet, and lack of dental care. These areas are often reversible if detected early enough and proactively addressed. Diseases that Stink It is important to watch for symptoms of illness in your pet because they can’t verbalize what is wrong with them. But if your pet is sick, they will exhibit signs. Bad breath may be a symptom of greater problems, including:

  • Diabetes

  • Kidney disease

  • Liver problems

  • Autoimmune Disease

If you notice a change in your pet’s breath, contact a veterinarian immediately, as it may be a sign of something more serious. Food that Causes Bad Breath Dogs and cats eat everything, even if it is not food. Watch what your pet consumes as closely as you can. Certain foods can interact with the digestive system of your pet causing foul odors. Some owners may be guilty of feeding their pet leftovers from the table. Old pizza crusts and french fries can cause your dog or cat’s stomach to become upset and increase bad breath. There is no way to monitor your little furry friend all the time, but you can control what you feed them and what is available to them. If your pet’s diet includes exotic non-foods—socks, new paper, home work—this may be a condition called pica, and may be a sign of nausea. If this continues over time contact your veterinarian. Problems with their Teeth The last major cause of bad breath in your pets concerns their oral hygiene. Just like humans, animals need to brush their teeth as well. Food particles can get trapped between teeth, causing tartar to build in your pet’s mouth. Left untreated, tartar can harden into plaque. Solutions to Bad Breath The good thing about bad breath is that it can go away. Take the necessary steps to improve your pet’s breath by addressing these problem areas. Visit Your Veterinarian The most important thing you can do once you have noticed a change in your pet’s breath is to visit your local veterinarian at Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital. Talk to your vet about your dog or cat’s breath and make sure to mention other odd behaviors you have seen your pet exhibit. These can help your vet zero in on the problem. Your vet will instruct you on how to improve your pet’s breath. Alter Your Animal’s Diet The first thing a vet will recommend is changing the brand of food they eat. This may include switching from solid food to wet, or vice versa. Changing an animal’s diet can result in a change in the smell of their breath. Start Brushing their Teeth Fight pet halitosis by regularly cleaning their teeth. Just like human teeth, your animal’s teeth need daily attention. The food they eat stays on their teeth and needs removal, or the buildup may lead to tartar and eventually plaque. Our animal clinic carries toothbrushes and toothpaste for your pet, with a variety of options available for keeping your dog or cat’s teeth clean and healthy. It is important to use toothpaste designed for animals. If brushing your animal’s teeth is a new experience, take it slow. Familiarize your pet with the process and use a cleaning tool they will feel comfortable with. You may want to begin cleaning their teeth by simply using your finger. You can also keep teeth tartar free by providing various snacks and objects for your pet to chew on. Tartar control treats are a chewable snack that clean teeth while they eat. Animal bones and rawhide strips also can clean your pet’s teeth. Finally, make sure to schedule a yearly teeth cleaning with your veterinarian. Foul breath has many causes. If you have concerns about your dog or cat’s breath, schedule an appointment with your trusted veterinarians at Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital. Establishing a relationship with a trusted animal doctor can help you help your dog or cat live a long, healthy life.

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