Are Dental Sticks Effective for Treating Bad Breath in Dogs?

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Stewart.

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​​​​​​​Bad breath is a common complaint of many dog owners, who find that getting up close and cuddly with their canine companion isn’t always the pleasant experience that it should be.

Why do dogs get bad breath?

There can be a number of reasons why your furry friend has breath that turns your stomach.

The most common cause of persistent halitosis in pets is periodontal disease. Research shows that by the age of 3, around 80% of cats and dogs will exhibit some signs of periodontal disease, which can be a potentially serious condition for your pet. This is because bacteria penetrate the gums, causing infections which can spread throughout the mouth, jaw and rest of the body, leading to a number of dangerous health problems.

Other regularly reported reasons for bad breath in pets include:

  • Teething: Puppies often have periods of bad breath when they are cutting new teeth.
  • Metabolic diseases.
  • Gastrointestinal problems.
  • Other oral diseases or dental problems.

If your dog has persistently bad breath, you should make an appointment for a dental well-being check-up with Dr. Alcorn at Care Animal Hospital. We can work together to find the root cause of the problem.

What are pet dental sticks?

Pet dental sticks are treats that are designed to contribute towards your pet’s oral health and well-being. This is because they are produced in a shape and size that allows them to rub against teeth and gums to remove food debris and lingering bacteria. Dental sticks essentially try to perform the same role as tooth brushing.

This is important, because clearing away debris regularly prevents the accumulation of bacteria that eventually leads to dental problems, including periodontal disease. However, professional teeth cleaning is much more effective at preventing periodontal disease than dental sticks.

What are pet dental sticks made from?

There are a range of different brands of dental sticks on the market, with a variety of flavors on offer. You can also make your own dental treats. We strongly advise that you check the ingredients on each packet before making a purchase. Dental sticks might not be the best option for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Are dental sticks effective at treating bad breath in dogs?

Some pet owners choose to purchase mint dental sticks in the belief that they are the best choice for improving bad breath in their dog. However, the menthol smell tends to mask the bad odor, rather than treat the source.

To effectively treat your dog’s halitosis, it is necessary to understand the source. If it stems from periodontal disease or poor oral health, then dental sticks could certainly help and are a good, complementing method of improving your pet’s dental health.

However, if the root cause of your pet’s bad breath is another, more complicated condition, then it will be necessary for you to make an appointment for a dental wellness checkup. We will be happy to discuss your dog’s well-being with you and work with you to decide the best possible treatment.