Q. Our 2-year-old Labrador Retriever suddenly developed foul-smelling breath. Could this be a tooth issue? He was also acting a little fussy about what he was eating. Normally, he loves cauliflower but now he puts it in his mouth and then drops it.
Does this sound like anything we should be worried about?
A. Foul-smelling breath certainly suggests some type of dental problem, such as an abscess – a pocket of infection around a tooth’s root. This is somewhat confirmed by your dog’s reluctance to chew cauliflower.
You might try something simple such as giving your dog a Greenie or chewable rawhide strip that can help with halitosis (bad breath). If the foul breath persists, your veterinarian should examine your Lab carefully for dental disease.
Other problems that can cause a change in breath are metabolic problems such as diabetes or kidney failure. These would be unusual in such a young dog, and you would see other signs such as weight loss, vomiting, or increased water intake.
All dogs need regular dental checkups, then cleanings starting at about age 5. But some dogs can definitely have problems sooner. I suggest you get his teeth checked out.