We love cuddling with our pets — until we catch a whiff of their stinky breath. Our furry friends won’t always have minty-fresh breath, but if it’s unusually smelly, it could be a sign of a serious issue. Find out what causes bad pet breath and how to freshen it up. Causes Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease If you aren’t regularly brushing your pet’s teeth or having them professionally cleaned, plaque and tartar can build up. When this happens, bacteria develops between the gums and teeth. This is the most common cause of bad breath in pets. The buildup of bacteria and tartar can cause inflammation in your pet’s mouth. Periodontal disease, the most common dental condition in pets, arises when gingivitis is left untreated. Luckily, your veterinarian can help your pet combat these unpleasant diseases. Unpleasant Eating Habits Most of the time, our pets are the cutest animals. But when they eat unsavory snacks like trash or poop? Not so cute. If your pet has a habit of raiding the trash can or finding animal remains, this could be the source of their bad breath. Dogs also have a habit of eating feces from cats, other dogs, or even themselves. Securing your trash can and immediately cleaning up after your pets can help your furry companions break this unpleasant habit. Kidney or Liver Diseases If your pet’s breath smells like urine, it could be a symptom of kidney disease. When the kidneys are unable to function, toxins can build up in the body, resulting in kidney failure. Liver disease symptoms can include extremely awful breath and gums with a yellow tinge. Both kidney and liver diseases can signal more serious medical issues. You should contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet may have one of these conditions. Prevention and Treatment The best way to prevent bad breath in your pet is by regularly brushing your pet’s teeth and scheduling annual dental checkups with your veterinarian. Routine dental exams will help your veterinarian detect any dental problems early on. If you aren’t sure how to brush your pet’s teeth, your vet can help you out with some tips. With care, patience, and your veterinarian, you can keep your pet and their teeth healthy for years to come.