Pet experts often hear pet owners complaining about bad breath or halitosis in their cats and dogs. Because of this, cuddling with your furry companion often becomes less engaging than before. Experts at the American Veterinary Medical Association urge pet parents to bring their affected pets to the veterinarian. The problem may lie beyond the premises of dental health. If you have the same issue with your cat or dog, here’s what you need to know about treating bad breath in pets.

Dental Cleaning

Your veterinarian will check your pet’s mouth first. If there are signs of periodontal disease, plaque, or tartar (calculus), your pet should have a dental cleaning. Before the cleaning begins, the vet will run some basic bloodwork. This will inform the vet if your pet can take the anesthesia. The blood tests will also give more information about the possible cause of your pet’s halitosis. The vet will evaluate the extent of periodontal disease through visual inspection and dental X-rays. Your pet must have a tooth extraction procedure if there are damaged or loose teeth. Your pet should have an annual dental cleaning. That way, your vet can detect issues early and clean the areas that you cannot reach with your pet toothbrush.


Veterinarians often recommend keeping an eye on your pets more, especially when it comes to snacking and exploring. Supervising your pet’s snacking and curiosities can prevent unwanted ingestion of spoiled food or roadkill.

Order and Cleanliness

If you have cats and dogs in your home, make sure that the litter box is inaccessible to your dogs. This will prevent your dogs from ingesting feces (coprophagia). You should also see to it that your trash bins are pet-proof as well. Trash can also make your pet’s breath foul.

Regular Oral Hygiene

To prevent plaque or tartar buildup, brush your pet’s teeth. Use toothpaste that is formulated for cats or dogs. You should also get the right size toothbrush for your cat or dog. During training, expect the brushing to be a bit of a struggle. Form the habit of brushing your pet’s teeth several times each week or even daily. It may take some time, especially with cats. Yet, with patience and consistency, your pet will get used to it.

Complete Health Check

Finding out if there is an underlying health condition that is causing your pet’s halitosis is also important. Liver disease, diabetes, and kidney ailments are the usual culprits. Once your vet resolves the health issue, your pet’s breath issue should stop as well.

Diet Change

Restoring your pet’s nutrition is also a way to fight off your pet’s halitosis. You should feed your pet some dental care food that is formulated to reduce tartar. Also, look into kibble that has special additives and shapes to scrape off plaque and tartar as your pet chews.

Halitosis in pets can be an indication of either a simple or complicated condition. Here at Montana Veterinary Hospital & Boarding, we encourage pet owners to always care for their pet’s dental health. Please visit our clinic in Bozeman, Montana, for an in-person consultation. You can also call us at 406-586-2019 if you want to schedule an appointment or make inquiries about our dental cleaning packages.