Bad Dog Breath & Terrible Cat Breath
Common Causes & Natural Treatments
What Causes Bad Breath in Cats and Dogs?
Many pet owners report that their cat or dog has really bad breath. This undesirable odor is often overlooked as "cosmetic," when in fact it can be a warning sign of disease. If your cat or dog’s breath stinks, be sure to discuss this health issue with your veterinarian to determine the cause.
Dental disease is a common reason for bad breath in dogs and cats. While halitosis can be caused by plaque and tartar, there may often be an accompanying underlying medical condition occurring as well. Cat and dog bad breath can be a sign of digestive issues, allergies, autoimmune diseases, or a serious medical condition such as kidney disease or diabetes.
Below, we list common causes of bad breath in dogs and cats. In the first section, we include recommended supplements to help get rid of dog's bad breath naturally. To learn more about why your cat's breath stinks, please click on the button below.
What Can I Give My Dog For Bad Breath?
Dental chews and doggie mints can only do so much for bad breath in dogs. They may temporarily mask the odor, but they do not address what is causing the pungent smell. While there may be different health factors contributing (see below); fresh, clean breath depends upon a healthy bacterial balance in your dog's mouth. Bad dog breath is an indicator of an imbalance in the microscopic community that lives in your dog's mouth, intestinal tract and respiratory system. Microscopic organisms such as good (friendly) and bad bacteria, viruses and fungi (e.g. yeast) make up your dog's microbiome. When there is an imbalance too much bad bacteria relative to the friendly bacteria (found in probiotics) creates "dysbiosis" along with symptoms such as bad breath and other digestive problems. Remember that the mouth is the first portion of the digestive process and it reflects that state of your dog's digestion.
The following supplements can help improve your dog's bad breath and digestive health:
K9 Digestive Enzymes - The most comprehensive digestive enzyme supplement for dogs! Contains two key ingredients (ox bile extract and HCL) that are essential for the digestion of fats and protein. Healthy levels of acid (HCL) are needed in a dog's stomach to prevent the overgrowth of pathogens in the upper GI tract. Hypochlorhydria (low HCL) can increase risk for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), yeast, intestinal discomfort and increased sensitivity to foods. Low stomach acid can contribute to bad dog breath. With low acidity and the presence of undigested food, bad bacteria are more likely to colonize, wreaking havoc on your dog's digestion. If your dog’s breath stinks, poor digestion could be the cause. When food is poorly digested, it creates gas and pain, and K9 Digestive Enzymes improve the digestion and absorption of fats and protein especially. Thus, K9 Digestive Enzymes is very helpful for improving the pH balance of the mouth and reducing tartar related to poor digestion.
Power Probiotic - The best probiotic for pets! Backed by scientific research, this powerful, multi-strain probiotic supplement promotes the growth of good, friendly bacteria to support a healthy mouth and digestive system. This dog bad breath home remedy will repopulate your dog's microbiome with beneficial bacteria to counter the effects of bad bacteria and yeast. Pure, safe and natural, Power Probiotic contains no fillers.
Gastro ULC - When pets have acid reflux, it can cause stomach acids to back up into the esophagus and mouth. This can lead to erosion of the teeth and other periodontal problems. Pets with acid reflux tend to have bad breath as well. Gastro ULC relieves acid stomach pain and repairs inflamed tissues. Works best when used with both Power Probiotic and K9 Digestive Enzymes or Lypozyme.
Colostrum for Pets - Colostrum has been shown in research studies to enhance digestion and improve the immune system. Colostrum is very helpful for pets with bad breath and gingivitis. Ask Ariel’s Colostrum for Pets contains Tegricel colostrum which is backed by scientific research and proven to be more effective than general colostrum products. Note: Colostrum is derived from dairy and should not be used by dogs with a known dairy allergy.
LypoZyme - This is a gentle, tasteless, easy-to-use enzyme supplement that helps pets digest protein and fats. The small amount of powder in the capsule (which can be easily opened and the powder mixed into food) makes this product especially easy to administer to small dogs and finicky eaters. While ideally the K9 Digestive Enzymes is the best choice for eliminating bad breath in dogs, some small dogs may be sensitive so starting out with LypoZyme is a great approach.
What Causes Bad Breath In Dogs?
Periodontal disease does cause bad breath so it's important to get regular cleanings for your dog's teeth. Non-anesthetic dental cleanings are available in many locations and can make a tremendous difference in your dog's overall health. But some dogs are much more prone to tartar and dental problems than others and diet and poor digestion are contributing factors. Pet owners may notice unusual odors too which can be linked to health issues outside of the mouth. Have you ever wondered: Why does my dog's breath smell like fish? Or why does my dog's breath smell like ammonia? Below we discuss the most common reasons your dog's breath stinks. By treating the underlying health condition, you can improve your dog's bad breath and help prevent the foul odor from coming back. It is important to see your vet to get help in determining the cause of your dog's stinky breath.
So then, what causes bad breath in a dog?
- Dental Issues and Tartar Buildup - Dog bad breath is often caused by the accumulation of odor-producing bacteria and tartar in your pet's mouth. Your pet's mouth could have a surprising number of tooth abscesses, as well as oozing pus and tartar accumulation. Bad bacteria can build up inside your dog's mouth, inflaming the gums and causing cavities, loss of teeth and infection. Getting regular dental cleanings is important, especially now that anesthesia-free dental cleanings are available in many locations. Acid stomach can cause tartar to accumulate faster on the teeth. Using Gastro ULC can be helpful in neutralizing stomach acids. K9 Digestive Enzymes promotes healthy saliva to reduce tartar buildup. Poor dental health can lead to serious, potentially fatal health conditions such as heart disease and kidney disease. Click here to learn more about pet dental health.
- Acid Reflux - Does your dog seem to have a hard time swallowing? Is he gulping or smacking his lips after eating? Stomach acid is meant to help with the digestion of food in the stomach. With acid reflux, the acid can come up into the esophagus and damage the tissue. A dog may cough or gag to try to clear the acid away from the sensitive throat tissues, particularly after meals. If a dog has GERD or acid reflux, the stomach acid will irritate the mouth, teeth and tongue....causing dog bad breath from the stomach. Vomit, burping and regurgitation can all cause an acidic smell in the mouth.
- Digestive Disorders - Along with bad breath, your pet may have gas, diarrhea, tummy gurgling, mucus or blood in the stool and loud digestive noises. There are many reasons why pets can have digestive problems, including poor-quality food, food intolerances or conditions such as IBD. The micro-organisms in your dog's intestinal tract must live in balance (symbiosis) between the good and bad bacteria. When the microbiome is out of alignment, dysbiosis can cause digestive upset. Aside from vomiting and acid reflux, your dog may also have diarrhea and loose stool. These bowel movements can stick to the skin and fur area around your dog's rectum and cause itching and burning. This can be very uncomfortable for dogs causing them to lick at the area, making the pungent smell coming from the mouth even stronger.
Natural supplements can help to improve digestion, calm inflamed tissue and reduce stomach acid. Replenishing the digestive system with Power Probiotic which has "good bacteria," can help aid digestion, improve bad breath, loose stool, vomiting and diarrhea, and offer overall immune and digestive system support. Using an effective digestive enzyme such as K9 Digestive Enzymes or LypoZyme can greatly help, as digestive enzymes break down the food, aiding digestion, improving saliva pH and reducing tartar buildup.
- Metabolic Conditions - Diabetes, kidney disease and liver problems are serious metabolic disorders that can cause bad breath in dogs. Diabetes occurs when there is not enough insulin to fuel the metabolic process. Increased sugar levels in the saliva, combined with a suppressed immune system, allows bacteria in the mouth to thrive. This can create a sweet-smelling or fruity bad breath. "Ammonia breath" is a classic sign of kidney disease. When the kidneys begin to fail, they can no longer effectively filter out the toxins and waste products in the blood. The toxins build up and can emanate through your dog's mouth. Dogs with liver disease may have musty breath or breath that smells like a dead animal. The liver filters out toxins and when it is compromised, waste products and sulfur compounds build up in the body. The built-up compounds can be released into the lungs and exhaled through the mouth. If you think your dog's bad breath is due to diabetes, kidney or liver disease, please check with your veterinarian. Laboratory tests, such as a blood panel and urine analysis, can determine if your dog's bad breath is due to a metabolic disorder.
- Allergies - When a dog is allergic to a certain food, it can trigger inflammation throughout the digestive tract, causing symptoms of acid stomach, diarrhea and vomiting. It's important to feed your pet a hypoallergenic diet and avoid common food allergens. Even if you are feeding your pet a raw frozen diet, if you are giving your pet poultry, a common allergen, your pet can continue to react to it. Dry food can be hard for many pets to digest as it contains a great deal of over-processed carbohydrates - even the grain-free varieties.
- Anal Glands - Anal glands (or anal sacs) are located on both sides of your dog's anus. They contain specialized sweat glands that secrete a scent marker for your dog. Dogs express their anal glands when they poop and when they are scared. Anal gland problems can give your dog an itchy butt and cause him to scoot on the floor. So when you ask: why does my dog's breath smell like fish? The fishy odor comes from your dog licking his butt. He may lick the anal glands for relief and the anal gland fluid can get on his tongue.
Cat Bad Breath Remedies
Does your kitty always have bad breath? Halitosis in cats can be caused by a variety of factors. Our natural remedies for cat bad breath can help address the underlying causes of the bad breath and improve your cat's overall well being. These natural remedies can be used in conjunction with the conventional veterinary treatments prescribed by your veterinarian.
Power Probiotic - The best probiotic for pets! Backed by scientific research, this powerful, multi-strain formula promotes the growth of good, friendly bacteria. Pure and natural, Power Probiotic does not contain any fillers. This cat bad breath home remedy will repopulate your cat's microbiome with good "friendly" bacteria to support a healthy mouth and immune system.
LypoZyme - This is a gentle, tasteless, easy-to-use enzyme supplement for cats that helps cats digest protein and fats. The small amount of powder in the capsule (which can be easily opened and the powder mixed into food) makes this digestive enzyme especially easy to administer to cats, even finicky eaters.
Gastro ULC - When cats have acid reflux, it can cause stomach acid to back up into the esophagus and mouth. This can lead to erosion of the teeth and other periodontal problems. Cats with acid reflux tend to have bad breath as well. Gastro ULC relieves acid stomach pain and repairs inflamed tissues. Works best when used with both Power Probiotic and LypoZyme.
Colostrum for Pets - Colostrum has been shown in research studies to enhance digestion and improve the immune system. Colostrum is very helpful for cats with bad breath and gingivitis. Ask Ariel’s Colostrum for Pets contains Tegricel colostrum which is backed by scientific research and proven to be more effective than general colostrum products. Note: Colostrum is derived from dairy and should not be used by cats with a known dairy allergy.
Immune Support Kit - Contains three tasteless, liquid remedies that are easy to administer. These products provide immune support and can help reduce inflammation in the mouth and sinuses. Helpful for conditions such as stomatitis, rodent ulcers and oral squamous cell carcinoma, all of which can cause bad cat breath. The Kit contains:
- NotaSAN - Natural homeopathic remedy that fights infection and supports your pet's immune system. Controls harmful bacteria and restores gut flora balance, improving digestive symptoms and immune function. Helps to relieve allergy symptoms, redness from inflammation and help prevent infections from recurring. Safe and gentle, these drops act like “natural antibiotics” and are easy to administer.
- QuentaSAN - Natural homeopathic remedy that fights viruses and infection, especially targeting the lung and upper respiratory system. Using the NotaSAN and QuentaSAN together is very effective in treating autoimmune disease and respiratory conditions in cats.
- Silver Immune Support - Silver Immune Support is an all-natural, easy to use anti-microbial supplement to help your pet recover from a bacterial infection or viral flare-up. It is a broad-spectrum germ-killer that is well tolerated even by tiny pets.
What Causes Bad Breath In Cats?
Bad cat breath may indicate periodontal disease, autoimmune conditions, allergies, chronic respiratory infections or metabolic disorders such as diabetes, kidney or liver disease. Below we discuss the reasons your cat's breath stinks.
- Dental Diseases - Cat bad breath is often caused by the accumulation of odor-producing bacteria and tartar in your cat's mouth. Your pet's mouth could have a surprising number of tooth abscesses, as well as oozing pus and tartar accumulation. Getting regular dental cleanings is important, especially now that anesthesia-free dental cleanings are available in many locations. Acid stomach can cause tartar to accumulate faster on the teeth. Using Gastro ULC can be helpful in neutralizing stomach acids. LypoZyme promotes healthy saliva to reduce tartar buildup. Poor dental health can lead to serious, potentially fatal health conditions such as heart disease and kidney disease. Click here to learn more about pet dental health.
- Stomatitis & Gingivitis - Stomatitis and gingivitis are chronic diseases of the teeth and gums. They are both fairly common in cats. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. Bacteria on the teeth move under the gumline and cause inflammation and infection. The condition causes, bleeding gums, loss of appetite and bad cat breath.
Stomatitis is an autoimmune condition where the cat's immune system reacts to the bacteria and plaque in the cat's mouth. The inflammation spreads from the gums to other areas of the mouth including the tongue, lips and to the roof and back of the mouth. It can be extremely painful and cats will often have difficulty eating, drool excessively, paw at the mouth and have very bad breath. These stomatitis flare-ups are directly linked to allergies. The mouth is the beginning of the digestive tract, so when cats eat foods that they are sensitive to (whether it be allergens or poor-quality food), the mouth and digestive tract respond with inflammation. By feeding a hypoallergenic diet and balancing the gut microbiome with beneficial bacteria, you can give your kitty much needed relief. The Immune Support Kit can help to calm the infection and inflammation. Power Probiotic can help boost your cat's immune system by promotes the growth of good, friendly bacteria to improve digestion and periodontal health and prevent bad cat breath.
- Chronic Respiratory Infections - In cats, chronic nasal and sinus inflammation from respiratory infections and feline viruses can lead to bad breath. Fluid discharge and pus (a combination of white blood cells, bacteria and blood) can run down the nose and throat, resulting in an offensive odor. The combination of the Immune Support Kit along with Power Probiotic can be life changing for your kitty. By helping to prevent viral flare ups and chronic respiratory infections, you may also reduce your cat's bad breath.
- Metabolic Conditions - Diabetes or kidney disease may be why your cat's breath stinks. These metabolic disorders are associated with changes in urination, drinking and body mass. Cats with diabetes may have a sweet and sour breath, from mouth bacteria feeding on excess sugar. Kitties with kidney disease may have a metallic breath due to a build up of toxins in the body. If you think your cat's bad breath is due to a metabolic disorder, please check with your veterinarian.
The Best Diet For Cats And Dogs With Bad Breath
Diet can play an important role in supporting the health of your pet's mouth. Even "healthy” or “organic" premium brands can be problematic if they contain ingredients that cause inflammation, convert to sugars and create allergic responses. Using natural supplements to improve digestion along with feeding a low carbohydrate diet can reduce halitosis.
Ask Ariel is dedicated to helping you get rid of your pet's bad breath naturally. Please be sure to include your pet’s diet on the order form at checkout. Our nutritionist will include diet tips on the packing slip that comes with your product directions.
Need Help? Please email us at Support@AskAriel.com
We understand how challenging bad breath can be for you and your pets. We are here to help. If you need information about a particular pet health condition and the products that can help, please email us for assistance. We do ask for your understanding, however, as we cannot provide any consultative advice due to veterinary regulations that require a physical exam.