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Wellness — May 22, 2012 5:56 pm

How to Cure Your Dog’s Bad Breath

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It’s a lazy Saturday morning and your adorable little pooch pads into your room, hops onto your bed and gently nuzzles you awake. You awaken from your deep slumber to find the cutest big brown eyes staring down at you and you think to yourself, ‘my dog is perfect. All is right in the world.’ That is, until your dog plants a slobbery wet kiss on your nose and you catch that first gag-inducing whiff of his breath. As adorable as Spot is, bad breath is never a welcome bedmate. Let’s be honest – we love our dogs but could do without that stinky breath. Fight the urge to pop tic tacs into your dog’s mouth (the sweetener can cause a bad reaction) and read on. Here are some simple home remedies that can help alleviate your dog’s bad breath.

Check your dog’s diet
Sometimes a simple change in diet can make a huge difference in your dog’s overall health. Avoid giving your dog canned foods and make sure to feed them a high quality kibble that’s easy to digest. A crunchier kibble will leave less food particles behind and can help dogs maintain oral health. Also, try adding some whole grains to your dog’s diet (i.e. cooked brown rice).

Give your dog treats formulated to improve bad breath
Often designed in the shape of an elongated ‘X’ to effectively clean the teeth, these treats come in delicious flavors your pup will love and are formulated to reduce plaque and tartar. You can find them at any local pet store.

Brush your dog’s teeth regularly 
You’ll need a soft bristled toothbrush (think kid’s tooth brush) and a vet approved dog toothpaste. Start by letting your dog get a taste of the toothpaste by using your finger to spread a light layer along the gumline of their upper teeth. Using the toothbrush, brush gently along the gum line in circular motions, angling the toothbrush up slightly and working from back to front. Rinse the toothbrush thoroughly and do a quick brushing using just water to make sure all the toothpaste residue is gone. Repeat daily or as often as your dog will let you.

Provide hard, safe chew toys
These chew toys will allow your dog to clean his own teeth by the natural process of chewing. This is both fun for your dog and effective in curing stinky breath! When choosing a chew toy, make sure to find one that’s the appropriate size for your dog and one that does not have any toxins in the paint or dyes.

Avoid hard bones
Bones that are too hard can cause a dog’s teeth to break or chip, especially in older dogs that have more brittle and delicate teeth. This type of breakage can make it easy for infections and painful toothaches to set in.

Give your dog lettuce or chopped carrots
Wash and drain a handful of lettuce or chopped carrots and feed it to your dog once or twice a week. Eating lettuce or carrots a few times a week can help to sweeten your dog’s breath. The lettuce works through your dog’s teeth as he chews, scraping off excess food particles and the carrots will help remove smelly plaque.

Make sure your dog drinks lots of water
Most of the bacteria that cause bad breath in dogs are anaerobic. By drinking lots of water, you can keep your dog’s mouth moist which will help flush out some of the odor causing bacteria.

While these tips have been proven effective, persistent bad breath could indicate other health issues so be sure to consult your local veterinarian. Make sure you head to your vet’s office to have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year. After following these simple remedies, you can enjoy long weekend naps with your dog without being woken up by his smelly breath. Here’s to more fresh-mouthed adventures with your pup!

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