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Do you love spending time and playing with your bichon frise, but you often notice its bad breath? This may affect your playtime with your pup since getting close to it can be quite unpleasant.
To find out why your bichon has a bad breath and what you can do to get rid of it, check the sections below.
Is Your Bichon Frise’s Bad Breath a Sign of Illness?
If you play with your bichon frise and you notice its bad breath, your dog suffers from halitosis – the medical term for “bad breath.” This may be a sign of illness but may have different other causes, too. Below, we will explore each of them in detail to help you find out the most likely cause why your bichon has a bad breath.
In general, small breeds like bichon frise are more likely to develop dental problems that lead to halitosis. This is because they have smaller heads and their teeth are closer together compared to large breeds. The closer teeth are the perfect environment for growing plaque and tartar, which can lead to bad breath.
5 Potential Reasons Behind Your Bichon Frise’s Bad Breath
To solve your bichon frise’s bad breath, you need to know its cause. Let’s find out what leads to halitosis.
1. Periodontal Disease
As briefly mentioned above, small breeds are more likely to develop dental issues because their teeth are closer together. Periodontal disease is easy to prevent, but more than 85% of dogs over three years of age develop this disease. Unfortunately, while the disease can be easily prevented, it often remains undiagnosed and untreated – and it is not only extremely painful for your pooch, but also deadly.
Periodontal disease is not only about bad breath. Apart from this, it leads to inflammation and tooth loss. Bacteria growth in your bichon’s gums finds its way into the bloodstream, spreading to vital organs like the kidneys, heart, and lungs. If unsure whether your pup suffers from dental disease, always stay on the safe side and schedule an appointment with a vet who can examine them and help you treat or prevent dental diseases.
2. Habits That Make Your Skin Crawl
Many dog owners know that the fluffy balls of happiness can be sometimes quite gross, too. Some dogs may develop a passion for rummaging through garbage. Others, especially dogs that co-exist with cats in the same household, seem to love cat poop, too.
And as if this wouldn’t be enough to make your skin crawl, some dogs develop coprophagia, a condition that means your dog eats its own poop or other dogs’ poop. It’s not surprising anymore that their breath smells, right? And, apart from the obvious hygienic and smell-related issues, this can also lead to serious health issues due to bacteria and viruses.
If your bichon’s bad breath also has a fruity (or sweet) smell to it, it is a sign of diabetes. Make sure you take your pup to a veterinarian as soon as possible. In many cases, this bad breath is associated with other symptoms that indicate diabetes, such as frequent urination and drinking.
4. Kidney Disease
Earlier, we mentioned that your dog’s bad breath may be due to its eating habits – particularly poop. Well, if your bichon’s breath smells like pee, it is not because your pup drank pee. A urine odor is a symptom of kidney disease – which is very serious and your pup needs to be taken to the veterinarian immediately.
5. Liver Disease
If your bichon’s bad breath is accompanied by a lack of appetite, vomiting, and a yellow hue to its gums, it may be because of liver disease. It is of utmost importance to take your bichon frise to an emergency clinic as soon as possible.
6 Ways to Improve Your Bichon Frise’s Breath Smell
To rule out the cause of a health issue, it’s always a good idea to take your bichon to a veterinarian if it has a bad breath. Most diseases above can be prevented and/or treated with ease, so it’s important to make sure your pooch is healthy. Next, the following tips will help you improve and prevent your bichon’s bad breath after you rule out the chance of disease, a case in which you need to follow your vet’s instructions.
1. Daily Brushing
Humans are always encouraged to brush their teeth at least twice per day – and this advice stands true in the case of dogs, too. Daily brushing helps your dog’s teeth remain clean, which prevents the growth of foul-smelling bacteria. However, keep in mind that you need to invest in dog toothpaste, because the toothpaste we use contains toxic compounds (like xylitol, for instance).
2. Better Quality Products
You may already be doing your best to clean your bichon’s teeth daily despite the fact that your pup most likely abhors this activity. If this is not enough and there is still an unpleasant odor, it may be because of the quality of your chosen products.
If your dog doesn’t like brushing, it may also be due to the taste of the toothpaste. Try to change the product with another one that contains safe ingredients. You may not be able to reach all the bacteria-growing regions if your pup is continuously squirming, which means that the foul breath smell is due to remaining particles between the teeth.
A new toothbrush with a different design might be helpful, too. It’s important for you to have a firm grasp on it, so you can reach all the gaps and cover all the teeth.
3. Supervising All the Snacking
If your bichon loves rummaging around in garbage, check the cat’s litter box, or have any other disgust-provoking habits, you need to exercise better control over unsupervised access to these areas. For instance, keep the garbage out of its reach and relocate the litter box to somewhere your dog has no access.
To prevent coprophagia, the best thing you can do is clean immediately after your pup goes potty.
4. Fresh Water
We do not leave the glass full of water uncovered for one day then drink it – and we shouldn’t do this with our dogs either. The water in the bowl fills up with contaminants, bugs, insects, and other unwanted things that contribute to the bad breath. Make sure you replace the water as often as possible to avoid unwanted ingredients.
5. Dental Chews
Most responsible dog owners feed their bichons with kibbles, which are great because they encourage chewing. However, as they tend to be high in carbs, this may not be enough to keep their teeth clean.
Dental chews remove the particles and debris in the mouth but make sure you check the ingredient list thoroughly – and keep your bichon away from questionable or unnecessary ingredients (like gluten).
6. Chewing Toys
A better alternative to dental chews is investing in a high-quality chewing toy. This avoids the chance of feeding your pup unsafe ingredients and is also a budget-friendly alternative for you.
All in all, your bichon frise’s bad breath may or may not be caused by a health issue. Although it’s best to schedule an appointment to rule out this possibility, prevention is also key. These tips on how to improve dental health and keep your dog happy and healthy will help you find the cause of the foul-smelling odor.