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Bad breath in dogs and cats – how to treat and prevent it naturally!

Bad breath in dogs and cats – how to treat and prevent it naturally!

What causes your pet's bad breath (halitosis), when to worry and how to treat it!

Your pet is one of the best cuddle buddies you can have! They're super affectionate and will never turn down an opportunity to 'get all up in your grill'. With a lack of personal space awareness and an overzealous appetite for loves, sometimes they can get carried away! For many people, nothing ruins a cuddle session as much as slobber all over them and hot, bad breath being panted directly into their face. Perhaps the love attacks from your pup or kitty would be a bit more pleasant if their breath wasn't so overwhelming?

In all fairness, it's not their fault that they have bad breath! In fact, bad breath in dogs and cats can often be avoided with a bit of understanding as to why they get bad breath and learning ways to treat it. It's also important to realise that in certain cases, bad breath can mean something a bit more serious!

So for the sake of your pet's health (and of course, happy and bad-breath-free cuddle sessions), we're going to look at the various reasons why your furry friend may have bad breath, ways to treat it, and when to worry!

Why dogs and cats get halitosis

1. You haven't brushed their teeth regularly enough

Many people think that dogs and cats don't need to have their teeth brushed regularly. But what happens when you don't brush YOUR teeth regularly? Oral hygiene works pretty much the same! Plaque build up + pieces of stuck food between teeth + further bacteria growth = halitosis! In fact, a lack of oral care can also lead to more serious conditions like gingivitis, infection in their heart valves, liver abscesses and tooth decay. 

Solution: You can start brushing your pet's teeth as early as 2 months of age, using this Finger Toothbrush for Pets. The younger you start, the better, however it's never too late to start! It's recommended that you brush their teeth at least twice a week, but for best results we recommend you brush once a day! 

2. You're feeding your pet the wrong kind of food

For some pets, the cause of their bad breath is as simple as you feeding them the wrong kinds of food. Foods that contain sugar and additives play a big role in plaque build up and tooth decay. When it comes to snacks, always make sure that you give them healthy treats, with no added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Sometimes it even boils down to whether you're giving them pellets (kibbles) that are too small or too big for what their anatomy needs.

Solution: If you're unsure what kind of food is right for your fur baby, consult your local vet who should be able to advise what is right for them! Also consider a raw diet, which is closer to their natural food. For those of you in Cape Town, visit the Feelgood Health shop in Westlake (ph: 021 797 0193) for Doggobone raw frozen food and Vondi’s home-cooked natural food. Giving your dog raw bones to chew on will also help to clean their teeth naturally. Once you've found the right diet for your fur baby, use this natural Dog Breath Freshener for sweet smelling breath after meals - it makes those sloppy kisses so much better AND prevents gum infections! 

3. Periodontal Disease

In simple terms, periodontal disease is a gum disease that causes pathological inflammation of the gums and surrounding bone. The two most common periodontal diseases are gingivitis and periodontitis. There are 4 stages of periodontal disease, progressing from plaque build-up and mildly inflamed gums to gingivitis (gum disease), and then on to mild and ultimately severe periodontitis, which can eventually involve bone and/or tooth loss. Symptoms to look out for include lethargy, drooling, facial swelling, bad breath, loose teeth, pawing the face and loss of appetite.

Solution: If you suspect your dog or cat may be suffering from periodontal disease, take them to the vet! Preventing periodontal disease is the easiest method of caring for your dog's oral hygiene. Establish a daily routine that includes brushing their teeth (view our Finger Toothbrush for Pets) in the morning, using this natural Dog Breath Freshener for sweet smelling breath after meals and giving them AllisOne Osteo Synergy for strong bones and teeth.


One of the symptoms of diabetes in cats and dogs is bad breath, with an added sweet or fruity smell to it. Look out for other symptoms like frequent urination and drinking a lot of water.

Solution: If your pet suffers from diabetes, it's important to let your vet examine them and advise you on how to properly care for them. Feelgood Pet's Diabetonic remedy supports healthy insulin & blood sugar levels in pets. It can be used as a stand-alone treatment or as part of a veterinary treatment plan.

Kidney Disease

If your pet's breath smells like urine, they may be suffering from a kidney disease. Take a note of whether they have perhaps been licking up urine and once you've ruled that out, you can start investigating as to whether it is a kidney disease or not. 

Solution: Kidney disease in dogs and cats is a serious matter! Take your pet to the vet to be examined by a professional. Kidney problems respond well to complementary medicine and a holistic approach (including diet) and these will improve kidney functioning and ultimately decrease the need for prescription drugs or surgery. Try Kidney Dr, a natural herbal remedy and kidney tonic for pets!

Liver Disease

Symptoms of a liver disease in your pet include bad breath, vomiting, loss of appetite and yellowing gums. In fact, with a liver disease, your pet's breath won't just be 'bad' but extremely potent.

Solution: Like a kidney disease, a liver disease is also a serious condition and needs to be attended to by a professional. Herbal and homeopathic remedies have been successfully utilised for many years in the treatment of liver conditions and the promotion of liver, gallbladder and pancreatic function. Liver Aid is a natural homeopathic remedy for pet liver, gallbladder & pancreatic health.

Feelgood Health urges you, as a dog owner, to take your pet's dental health seriously. You wouldn't neglect your children's health, so why would you neglect your fur baby's health?

If you have any questions, please contact our team or leave a comment below for FREE health advice. We always love hearing from you!

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