Does your pet have bad breath?


Why might my pet have bad breath?


Both  dogs  and  cats  can  suffer  from  halitosis  (bad  breath) for  a  number  of  reasons.  Sometimes  it can indicate a underlying medical disease, but most often it is due to plaque and tartar building up in your pet's mouth. The smell is a sign  of accumulating deposits on the surface of the teeth; this can eventually lead to gum disease, a serious and potentially very painful condition.  


What signs should I be watching for at home?


Unfortunately  our  pets  do  not  show  the  same  signs  of  pain  as  us;  they  often  show  more  subtle behavioural signs which can be easily missed.   The first signs of dental disease include:

1. A reluctance to eat biscuits and a preference for soft, wet food

2. Chewing preferentially on one side of his/her mouth

3. Dropping small amounts of food from his/her mouth when chewing

4. Initial interest in food at meal times but subsequent avoidance behaviour  

5. Bad breath

6. In the later stages, your pet will often go completely off his/her food


Noticing any of the above signs in your pet should prompt a trip to the vets before it progresses.  


How will we know if your pet has a dental problem?


Regular checks by your vet or vet nurse as well as close monitoring by yourself can detect potential problems before they become serious (and expensive to treat!)  We will check for:

1. Halitosis (bad breath)

2. Accumulation of brown/yellow tartar on the tooth surface  

3. Bleeding gums

4. Gingivitis (gum inflammation) and gum recession

5. Fractured teeth

6. Tooth root infection

7. Facial swelling


What are the treatment options for my pet?


It is important to discuss with your vet as to which treatment will be most effective, as often it will depend on the severity of dental disease present.  We will help you decide between: 
1. A  dental  care  routine  carried  out  at  home.  This  will  involve  a  combination  of:  daily tooth brushing (be sure to use a veterinary toothpaste as some human toothpastes contain  an  ingredient  toxic  to  pets!);  water  or  food  additives  to  prevent  further plaque  build-up  on  the  teeth;  Dentistix;  and  the  introduction  of  'dental-friendly' toys and chews over stones and tennis balls!  

2. A  timely  scale  and  polish  under  general  anaesthetic  can  help  eradicate  smelly breath  in  younger  animals  and  decrease  the  chance  of  extractions  being  required later in life. 3. In more advanced cases, a dental procedure will be performed at the practice under general  anaesthetic.    We  will  clean  all  of  your  pets'  teeth  with  an  ultrasonic  scaler and  extract  those  that  are  causing  a  problem.  Dogs  and  cats  manage  very  well without their full set of teeth; far better than when infected, painful teeth are left in place.  


We understand that a lot of pets are old or geriatric by the time they require a dental. Rest assured that we will take various precautions to minimise the anaesthetic risk in these patients.


To find out more, why not  book an appointment for a  free nurse clinic? One of  our nurses will be happy  to  advise  you  more specifically  on  your  pet's  dental  health  and  hygiene.  If  they  are concerned about your pet’s dental health, you may be advised to arrange an appointment to see a vet.


In addition, any dental work  booked within  30 days of  your  vets consultation  will be carried out with a 10% discount from the original cost.  A healthy dog’s mouth, little tartar is present and the gum line is pale pink and flush with the base of the teeth.

A healthy dog’s mouth with some tartar build-up around the base of the teeth (especially the canine and third incisor). Here the gum line is still pale pink and flush with the base of the teeth. If left, the tartar will continue to build up causing gum disease and gum recession, exposing the roots of the affected teeth. This is an example of a mouth where a timely scale and polish can halt dental disease progression, especially if followed up with home care. A dog’s mouth where the tartar has been removed allowing us to see the true extent of the dental disease. Here you can clearly see that the roots of some of the teeth have been exposed due to the build up of tartar causing the gums to recede. The gum line is also inflamed. These teeth were unstable and painful and were therefore extracted. After surgery, she recovered well, with a fresh smelling mouth and, most importantly, was very quickly pain free. 

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Ollerton (Companion Animals): 01623 860138

Retford (Farm, Equine & Companion): 01777 703663


In an emergency call: 01777 703663






Company registered name: Independent Vetcare Ltd. Registered Number 07746795. Registered address: The Chocolate Factory, Keynsham, Bristol, BS31 2AU.

Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for credit-related regulated activities under reference number: FRN738010