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Issue 76: Go Fetch! (A Breath Mint)

Many of us know that affectionate kisses from our pets can often come at an odoriferous price for us—the experience of disgusting dog breath. Some of us may even be tempted to toss some doggy breath mints their way, only to realize that the effects last for mere minutes before the smell returns.

It’s pretty normal for pets to have some scents about them, though. In fact, when animals are in the wild, their smells send signals to anything and anyone around them. Animals have pheromones and oils on their skin which can clearly communicate fear, territorialism and other messages.

Most of our pets, however, are not in the wild and that's why we may want to take steps to tame their aromatic calling cards, including some pretty offensive breath. The encouraging news is that veterinarians say good grooming efforts can keep some of the smells at bay.

One of the best things you can do is keep your pet’s teeth clean—professionally cleaned at least once a year. Starting your pet out young with mouth hygiene is best, too, because it gets Fido accustomed to having his teeth taken care of.

Brushing at home is not a bad idea, either, if you can manage it and can get a toothbrush made specifically for your pet. There’s even special pet toothpaste on the market, since you should never use human toothpaste for animals.

Other reasons for your pets' nasty-smelling breath may include the food they eat, not chewing their food properly, lack of adequate saliva, digestive difficulties or even food allergies.

Bad breath may also signal a foreign object caught in your pet’s mouth or even an unhealthy animal. That’s why you may want to consult your veterinarian if you believe your pet’s breath is way out of control.

A popular way to keep your pet’s breath fresh is to give him or her treats or other tidbits that are specially formulated to keep down bacterial levels in the mouth—since keeping bacteria at bay is a natural way to help diminish bad breath. Additionally, slipping your pet these items may help keep your pet’s mouth strong and healthy.

Now that’s sure to keep a smile on your face—and give your nose a better experience—when you get those puppy kisses!


This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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