Laura is an avid pet lover. An advocate for pet adoption and senior pets, she has multiple cats and a sweet old poodle mix.
Why Does My Dog Have Bad Breath?
For some people, dogs are as much a part of the family as spouses and children. They live with us, sleep with us, exercise with us, and eat with us. As part of the family, we work hard to keep them healthy. We get them their yearly checkups and immunizations, bathe them and groom them. But one area that is sometimes overlooked is oral health.
Unless your four-legged buddy is giving you kisses, you are not likely to think as much about his oral health. But the health of your dog's mouth and teeth can affect every other aspect of the dog as well. Besides needing good oral health for eating, smelly breath and tooth problems can be indicative of other issues as well.
The Importance of Oral Health in Dogs
When I adopted my senior dog a few years ago, I inherited some mouth and teeth problems that came from a lifetime of less than optimal care. She ended up having some teeth removed. I also bought a pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste.
While this did help, it's not really that easy to brush your dog's teeth every day. It takes time and effort and, honestly, gets forgotten. The dog is certainly not going to remind you. Even though she's a very patient and compliant dog, it's not her favorite activity.
My adopted dog is a small, 15-pound poodle mix. She's a lap dog that follows me around and wants to sit with me or on my lap. She also likes to give kisses. But honestly, her breath used to smell so much that I did not really want her to do that. Even when she wasn't trying to kiss me, you could still smell her breath.
She also has a habit of chewing or licking at her feet when she's bored. With her bad breath, it made her fur smell and she needed a bath much sooner than a house dog should need one. With a busy work schedule, I decided I needed to look for something that could help that would not require a huge time commitment.
Trial and Error With Different Products
Despite being a senior, she a playful dog and she also loves to chew on treats. I tried a mint flavored rope that she didn't have any interest in. I also tried some of the Greenies dental products. Although she liked them and would chew on them, they only seemed to have a marginal effect at best.
A Dental Chew That Works!
One day I noticed a chewy in the grocery store that I had not tried before. The package said Milkbone and I had ignored it before because I knew that she did not like the Milkbone biscuits. But this was a chewable "brushing chew" that claimed to be as good as brushing your teeth. So I bought a box and brought it home.
I gave her one or two a day. After a week, my husband and I both noticed a marked difference in her breath. She truly smelled better and even when she got up on your lap and tried to give you kisses, her dog breath was not too overwhelming. The treats were really working.
Why My Dog Prefers Milkbone Brushing Chews
The Milkbone Brushing Chews are little bone-shaped treats with "nubs and ridges" to help clean your dog's teeth and get rid of the tartar. The packaging indicates that as your dog chews, the product helps to reduce tartar build up, all the way to the gumline.
Most of all she likes the treats and will often come nosing around, asking me to get her one. While the treat instructions do indicate that daily teeth brushing and yearly vet visits are still considered the best way to help your dog's teeth and breath, the product is accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
Warning Signs: How Bad Breath Can Indicate Health Issues
If your dog does have bad breath, it's important to visit your vet to rule out any underlying health issues. While the cause is usually tooth decay/gum disease, bad breath can also be a sign of other health issues.
According to WebMD, dog's who have bad breath could be experiencing GI issues, respiratory illness or other internal organ issues. This is not unlike humans who can also have bad breath for reasons not directly related to the health of their teeth and gums.
I Found Something That Works for My Dog
I really didn't know if we would ever truly be able to help our senior dog's bad breath. Since she had not had a lifetime of oral care (the kind we would have given her if we had her when she was young) we weren't sure if it was just something we would have to live with.
Finding the Milkbone Brushing Chews has changed our lives for the better. While I would never not snuggle up with my dog, I can do so now knowing that her breath won't make me turn my head away.
If you've tried other breath chews and they haven't worked, I definitely recommend trying this product.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
L C David (author) from Florida on March 16, 2017:
Hmm...good to know. I have a 19 year old cat and well...I could use something for her! Will check that out.
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 16, 2017:
Apparently there are options. I just Googled "breath chews for cats". Several results came up.
L C David (author) from Florida on March 15, 2017:
I would definitely be interested if there was this kind of treat for cats! My cats could definitely use it sometimes!
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 15, 2017:
Great review, L C. I wonder if a similar product is available for cats. I'll have to look into it.