Definition of Halitosis
Bad breath, medically called “halitosis,” refers to an unpleasant and offensive odor coming from the mouth and is one of the most common complaints of dog owners. Interestingly, bad breath rarely is caused by a foul smell coming from a dog’s stomach through its esophagus or from air exhaled through the trachea. The main reason for canine bad breath is a build-up of gram-negative, anaerobic bacteria which are not part of the normal oral bacterial population. Retained food particles, dental disease, oral tumors and ulcers, kidney failure, liver failure, lung disease, diabetis and anal licking can contribute to bad breath. Routine annual check-ups and dental care (including regular in-home brushing of a dog’s teeth) go a long way to managing bad breath. Veterinarians can instruct owners how to care for their dogs’ teeth. Specialized canine toothbrushes, toothpastes, rinses, gels and chews are widely available to help owners maintain their dog’s good oral health.