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Bad Breath... It's NOT Always Their Teeth

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Updated: January 23, 2020


Bad Teeth Aren't The Only Cause of Bad Breath

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, so it's the perfect time to shatter a commonly held misconception about bad breath in cats and dogs.

There are lots of potential causes of bad breath in cats and dogs other than dental issues, including:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lung disease
  • Foreign bodies stuck in the mouth (sticks are a very common culprit for dogs!)
  • Tumors within the mouth or throat (squamous cell carcinomas are both a painful and aggressive tumor type that can occur in the mouths of both cats and dogs)
  • Ulcers of the tongue or other tissues within the mouth
  • Out of control diabetes (condition called ketosis)
  • And several others

So, while bad teeth and periodontal disease do cause bad breath — and are, in fact, the most common causes of bad breath in cats and dogs — they are not the ONLY cause of bad breath.

Especially watch out for worsening bad breath – If a change occurs, have it checked out by your veterinarian right awayCat-bad-breath.jpg

Why is this important? Because there’s lots of people who likely don’t take their cat or dog to the vet to have bad breath (or worsening breath) evaluated because they assume it’s their teeth and wouldn’t have their pet put under anesthesia for a “dental” anyway (which is a whole other topic).

Hopefully, by providing the list above and debunking the misconception that “bad breath always = bad teeth” we can all help ensure that fewer pets with bad breath will “fall through the cracks” and that more pets will get the care and attention they need — regardless of the cause.


Topics: pet teeth cleaning, pet dental, Dog, Blog, Cat, Bad Breath

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

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