Help Is Here for Doggy Breath and Dry Mouth in Your Dog and
Yes, Even in Your Cat
By Arden Moore – The Pet Health and Safety Coach™
Let’s see how brave you are. I challenge you to cuddle with your dog or cat and take a deep inhale of their mouth. How’s your pet’s breath smell? Is the odor so foul you find yourself backpedaling or rushing outside to inhale fresh air? Or is the smell normal and non-offensive with perhaps a hint of kibble? February is National Pet Dental Health Month and for those of us who are lucky enough to share our lives with one or more pets, we can do our part to keep them as healthy as possible. And, that often starts by being “down in the mouth.” Yes, I do sniff and inspect inside the mouths of my three dogs and three cats to catch any early signs of trouble.
As a master certified pet first aid/CPR instructor, I include dental tips in my veterinarian-approved Pet First Aid 4U . I teach my students that breath coming from their pets that is anything but tolerable is an “uh-oh” sign that needs to be addressed. That uh-oh could mean that your pet has:
- Periodontal disease
- Tartar buildup
- Medical issue, such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism
- Mouth ulcers or lesions
- The after-odor from your dog just raiding your cat’s litter box for ‘nuggets’
- Unhealthy saliva
WATCH OUT FOR DRY MOUTH
Included in this list can be a far-too-overlooked condition called xerostomia, better known as dry mouth. People and pets can develop dry mouth, which simply means the mouth is lacking adequate or healthy saliva to properly keep things inside the mouth flowing in a healthy way. This can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth. Unchecked, pets with dry mouth can develop receding, red or inflamed gums, tooth decay, mouth ulcers or lesions, a tongue that is dry and cracked, and painful chewing. It may surprise you that medications needed to treat allergies, pain, anti-anxiety, and osteoarthritis in cats and dogs rank as a leading cause of dry mouth. The good news is dry mouth is manageable.
Bujeau, my 9-year-old, 90-pound Bernese Mountain Dog mix, hails from a breed with a slobbery, drooling reputation. But her saliva helps fend off cavities, removes food particles in the mouth, aids in digestion and contains chemicals with antibacterial properties. My veterinarian treated her to a thorough dental cleaning about a year ago and I do my part to keep her teeth and gums healthy by adding a pump or two of the Oratene® Enzymatic Brushless Water Additive to three water bowls I clean and fill daily for my four-leggers.
However, there is my newest canine companion is Emma, a stray adopted during the early onset of the pandemic. This young, 9-pound terrier mix is rarely spotted drinking from the water bowl and declines water on our walks. Since she is at risk for dry mouth, I add salt-free chicken broth to her meals twice a day and “treat” her daily to a spritz of Oratene Enzymatic Brushless Breath Freshening Spray that cleans and freshens her breath and helps keep her oral flora in balance while preventing dry mouth. Her breath is normal, her teeth are tartar-free and her gums are healthy bubblegum pink.
WATCH THIS SHORT VIDEO
To give you a better understanding of dry mouth in pets, check out this two-minute video from Pet King Brands: https://www.zymox.com/lp3-system-2/dry-mouth/.
BE A PET DETECTIVE
Maintaining at-home dental care and working with your veterinarian on your pet’s mouth health is a year-round mission. I learned from Dr. Ben Colmery III, a dedicated pioneer in animal dentistry, that pet parents should be pet detectives and report to their veterinarians what they see – and what they smell – inside their pets’ mouths. It’s also important to note that pain in a pet’s mouth can impact it’s temperament and ability to eat.
Dr. Colmery is a veterinary dentist who has been providing pain-relieving treatments for cats and dogs at the Dixboro Veterinary Dental and Medical Center in Ann Arbor, MI for decades. He is also the co-founder of the American Veterinary Dental Society.
He noted, “More than 400 types of bacteria have been identified in the oral cavities of companion animals. The odor comes from two main places: something wrong inside the mouth (including dry mouth) or something wrong inside the gastrointestinal tract. The sooner we can treat the issue, often, the better chance we have of staving off a serious condition. When we can find the issue in the mouth and fix it, the dog or cat has a new lease on life.”
A RUN DOWN OF DENTAL PRODUCTS FOR YOUR PET
Practicing at-home dental care doesn’t have to lead to a wrestling match to get a toothbrush in your pet’s mouth to clean his teeth and gums. Fortunately, there is Pet King Brands’ brushless, yet effective, Oratene products. All contain veterinarian-approved enzymes that freshen the breath, clean teeth, balance oral flora, keep plaque at bay and much more. The products include water additives, a freshening spray, and a brushless toothpaste gel.
Learn more by visiting this link: https://www.zymox.com/products/oral-care/
Arden Moore wears many collars in the pet world. She is a best-selling author, master certified pet first aid/CPR instructor, pet behavior consultant, host of the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio and happy pet parent to a Furry Brady Bunch in Dallas. Learn more at www.ardenmoore.com.