Halitosis (Bad Breath) in Dogs

Halitosis is a medical term used to describe unpleasant, foul and offensive odor or bad breath coming from a pets mouth.

Conditions of the mouth such as periodontal disease, stomatitis, bacterial infections, cavities, gingivitis, wounds (in the mouth), kidney and liver diseases.

Bad breath is a sign of an existing health condition. It can be a symptom of a mild infection to a severe chronic disease. Some may be acute (lasting a few days) whereas some may be of chronic nature (affecting organs, may take months to recover).


These include:
› Epulis (Gum Tumors)
› Gingival Hyperplasia (Gum Overgrowth)
› Gingivitis
› Periodontal Disease
› Overcrowded teeth, presence of baby teeth
› Stomatitis
› Cleft Palate
› Mouth ulcers
› Oral neoplasia (Oral tumors)
› Foreign body stuck in the mouth such as raw food, vegetation, meat, bone, hair)
› Abscess caused by wounds, cuts, tooth injury
› Bacterial infections
› Viral infections
› Fungal infections
› Systemic diseases
› Kidney and liver diseases
› Megaesophagus
› Cancer

Clinical Signs & Symptoms

Common signs are:
› Ptyalism (Hyper-salivation or Drooling)
› Dysphagia (Difficult Swallowing)
› Anorexia (Loss of Appetite)
› Depression
› Mouth pain
› Oral discharge
› Oral discharge (bloody)
› Difficulty eating


Veterinarians will require a complete history of your dog which includes medical history, vaccination records, existing health concerns, current and previous medications, onset of symptoms, diet and exercise routine and any information which can help in establishing a correct diagnosis. Diagnosis is done with a combination of tests. These include:
› Physical examination
› Complete Blood Count (CBC)
› Biochemical profile
› Urinalysis
› X-rays of the mouth
› Gum biopsy


Treatment depends on the underlying cause of bad breath. Medications will vary accordingly.
› Antibiotic medications
› Anti-inflammatory medications
› Removal of any and all foreign objects from the mouth
› Medications for any wounds, cuts
› Medications for Oral tumors


Halitosis is not a disease but a symptom seen in a variety of diseases. Identifying, diagnosis and treatment of underlying causes will prompt administration and monitoring is necessary.

Home Care

Home and supportive care depends on the diseases causing bad breath. Treatments and medications may vary accordingly. You have to administer and monitor all prescribed medicines as directed by your veterinarian. If you observe any behavioral changes or if the condition does not improve, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
› A well planned, nutritious diet (less protein) is necessary in such conditions. Routine and regular checkups to access the progress, weight checks, further tests may be advised.
› It is mandatory to provide a stress-free environment for your pet. Keep water and food bowls within reach, avoid exercise and physical activity, keep away from noise and any kind of commotion. Do not travel with pets.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *