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Why do dogs have bad breath?

5 steps to healthy breath and a longer life for your dog

Living with dogs is fun! Their presence usually makes us feel happy and alive. In fact, dogs are considered one of the most powerful remedies for low mood and depression.

However, living with dogs has some drawbacks and one of them may be bad breath. Over the years I have witnessed many dogs with a breath so powerful that it fell over a lumberjack. I can still remember the acrid smell of rotten teeth and gums from many unhappy dogs because their loving, but unaware, humans let their dental hygiene go too far.

Most people assume that bad breath is mainly related to tartar buildup and gum disease, but that’s not quite the whole picture. It’s true that dental problems are often the cause of bad breath or halitosis, but your dog’s less fresh breath can also be a sign of a metabolic disorder, toxicity, poor digestion, an oral tumor or a general illness.

The purpose of this article is to give you effective and practical tips to make your dog’s breath fresh again and prevent serious problems that can reduce your dog’s quality of life and life expectancy.

1. Oral health is key

The main cause of dental disease is kibble. Carbohydrates, starches, and even just the finely processed food itself easily adheres to the tooth surface, feeding harmful bacteria that form a thick layer of tartar. The gums initially become inflamed and infected and eventually recede, exposing and further eroding and damaging the bone and ligaments that hold your dog’s teeth in place.

A conventional vet would normally recommend an annual dental cleaning under anesthesia, but I don’t think such a regular procedure is necessary if you follow these steps:

  1. Feed your dog an unprocessed, raw or cooked diet, free of grains and starches
  2. Add the right RAW bones to your dog’s diet, which I call “nature’s dental hygienist.” For more information on which bones to feed, click here.
  3. Ask your vet to hand scale your dog’s teeth or find a skilled dental hygienist who can do the same.

Some of my colleagues argue that this approach to dental care is not sufficient, but I have seen dogs with perfect dental health following this protocol. In addition, your dog does not need to be anesthetized annually.

2. Dietary recommendations

I’m sure you’ve been in situations where someone starts talking to you and you immediately hope that the conversation won’t last long. Bad breath, in cases where dogs or humans do not have dental problems, is usually a sign of toxicity and digestive disorders, and diet has a lot to do with that.

Processed and chemically preserved foods are again the leading cause of such problems, but an inappropriate natural diet can also play a role. Poor quality chemicals, preservatives and ingredients produced on contaminated and depleted lands with heavy pesticide use are complex, making it difficult for us to fully decipher their impact. There are simply too many factors at play and the only way to deal with food is to do our best

Based on my real-life observations, the safest and fastest way to solve your dog’s bad breath is to follow these 4 steps.

1. Again, feeding non-processed foods is key.

2. Support non-medicinal and organic agriculture where possible. It’s good for you, your dog and also for our planet.

3. Feed a raw or cooked diet, depending on what you feel more comfortable with. If you’re not familiar with healthy whole diet foods, you can enroll in the course here or use our Recipe Builder.

4. Feed a combination of meat, vegetables and raw bones. Dogs who include green leafy vegetables in their diet seem to have better breath, mainly because leafy vegetables have a cleansing and digestive balancing effect.

3. Toxicity

I mentioned in the section above that toxins such as preservatives, antibiotics, and chemical pollutants play a major role in your dog’s health and the occurrence of bad breath. I must emphasize again that due to the high toxin levels in the environment, our goal should be to minimize the use and consumption of chemicals. The simple rule you can apply is: “If you don’t know it, don’t feed it.”

Here are some other foods to avoid for toxicity reasons:

1. Rice due to the high presence of arsenic. More information here.

2. Large fish due to the presence of mercury. More information here.

3. Small fish, such as herring, sardines and similar fish due to the higher presence of strontium. More information here.

4. Beware of foods that come from countries with a reputation for poor quality control, such as China. Please note that some foods may be produced but not made and packaged in China, and may be labeled as ‘Made in USA or Canada’, for example.

5. Learn how to choose safe treats. More information here.

6. Only use dog toys made from child-safe materials and never buy Chinese dog toys.

In summary, your goal should be to minimize toxins, not try to accomplish the impossible task of eliminating all toxins. If you want to know what level of toxicity your dog has, you can use the inexpensive and highly accurate HairQ test. More information here.

4. Nutritional deficiencies

Not many people expect a carpenter to build a house without bricks and clear away other essential building blocks. Not many drivers would expect a car manufacturer to build a car without brakes, doors, turn signals or even wheels.

However, there are still many people who do not fully understand that good health cannot be built without the essential building blocks the body needs. I’ve written a lot about it soil depletion and deficiencies. I have seen this part of healthcare largely forgotten, despite causing premature aging and losses.

My general feeling is that most people understand the need for vitamins, probiotics and omega oils, but often they forget the most important part of the nutrients, which are minerals and essential amino acids. These are the ‘stones’ of the body and unfortunately the body cannot make them itself.

Intensive agriculture has largely depleted the presence of minerals in the soil. Based on the dramatic changes many people see after supplementation minerals and essential amino acidstheir deficiency can be one of the most common causes of disease.

5. Stomach disorders

This cause of halitosis is often forgotten, but it is also important. The dog’s stomach is closely associated with the spinal segment of the last thoracic and first lumbar vertebrae. When your dog is injured in this area or is naturally weak, the muscle spasm leads to reduced blood, nerve and energy flow to the stomach, which can lead to digestive disorders.

I have seen this repeatedly and such “energy stagnation” can be detected by simply pressing on both sides of the spine. If your dog reacts by moving, looking at you with discomfort or skin twitching, the stomach may also be at risk.

Some dogs are also genetically predisposed to a lack of stomach acid production, which can also cause bad breath.

Stomach function can also be seriously affected by the use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), leading to stomach ulcers in some cases. For more information click here.

As you can see, dental problems are not the only cause of bad breath. I have purposely not mentioned any dog ​​habits that have been encoded in dogs’ DNA for thousands of years. Dogs are scavengers and love to eat spoiled and strongly smelling food. If your dog eats feces from other dogs or other species, this may be a habit, but it can also be a sign of digestive imbalances and deficiencies.

In summary, bad breath in dogs should be taken seriously. Dental disease can damage your dog’s teeth and cause bacterial spread to the heart and kidneys, which can be very serious.

All cases of bad breath should be viewed as a systemic problem and addressed accordingly.

5 steps to healthy breath and a longer life for your dog

  1. Take care of your dog’s teeth
  2. Detox your dog
  3. Feed a raw or cooked natural diet, including raw bones
  4. Provide the essential nutrients
  5. Make sure your dog’s back is checked by an experienced chiropractor, physical therapist or acupuncturist with good knowledge of the connections described above.

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

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