Recognizing and understanding your dog's symptoms can be tricky.
You're dog won't come up to you and say, “Listen, my belly really hurts, I think I should see a doctor.”
The best veterinarian in the world won't be of any help if you don't know when to bring your dog in.
Regular check-ups certainly help to discover trouble in the making, but not problem should wait that long.
When is bad breath a symptom of disease?
Your dog can get bad breath from eating something deliciously rotten. That of course doesn't count.
If however your dog has persistently bad breath, you need to take note.
The most common cause of bad breath in dogs is dental disease.
Now, dental disease is not an immediate rush-to-the-emergency-vet type of threat, but it isn't something to ignore either. Bad teeth are not just a cosmetic issue. They can be extremely painful and even lead to systemic disease!
The bacteria associated with dental disease can lead to life-threatening infections affecting the heart, kidney and liver!
You can read more about it in my earlier article: Know Your Dog's Enemies: When Bad Breath Can Kill!
If your dog has bad breath; discolored, loose, broken or missing teeth; red swollen gums that bleed easily; a painful mouth; or drools excessively, please have it checked and get those teeth taken care of!
Dental disease is a serious issue but it is not the only potential cause of bad breath.
Bad breath can also be a symptom of other serious health issues such as gastrointestinal, respiratory or autoimmune diseases; metabolic disorders; oral cancer; and more!
So please, instead of spending money on products that mask your dog's bad breath, look for a cause.
For example, severe kidney disease can cause significantly bad breath. Friends from the dog park had a dog that suddenly started having very bad breath. They figured his teeth needed cleaning and scheduled an appointment for the procedure. When they finally got him in, the veterinarian found their dog was in kidney failure. With dialysis they got one extra day to say goodbye to him!
Clearly, they must have missed a bunch of other symptoms too!
The best way to deal with bad breath is by treating the underlying disease!
It's your dog's health!
Know Your Dog's Enemies: When Bad Breath Can Kill!
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Excessive Drinking
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Excessive Panting
Where There Is Smoke, There Is Fire: A Symptom Is Your Friend!
When Is It An Emergency?