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Avatar universal

Old Dog bad breath

I have a very old dog, she is 16.5 years old. She still eats every day, comes around for treats with the rest of the dogs.
She goes outside to do her business and only has an accident when she isn't let out. She is pretty bright and alert.
Problem is she pants a lot, especially at night but eventually she stops and goes to sleep. Her breath smells horrible.
She is too old to have her teeth cleaned. Her weight is good so I don't think it is her organs. If it is her teeth, she would not be able to eat. She is still chewing treats and dry food (she gets a lamb and sweet potato). Any suggestion would be helpful. I think it is from the panting.
21 Responses
675347 tn?1365464245
It probably is the teeth....or gum disease. It doesn't always figure that they won't eat if their teeth are bad. Dogs are notoriously stoic. A flaming abscess might stop them munching, but a chronic sore gums situation they could get used to, and eat anyway.
It sounds like she's holding her own, keeping going in her own way, and not doing so bad. It's great that she's got to 16 1/2 years and still not doing so bad in life.
But I can't really suggest anything helpful. A tooth cleaning would be the answer probably -but I totally understand she might not be up to it. It's the anesthetic which might stress her too much, I guess.
You could try brushing her teeth gently with a proper dog toothpaste. You can most likely buy one at the vet's. It won't get to the root of the problem, but might help a bit. You could do this every day if her breath is terrible. Or 4 times a week.

1832268 tn?1326819610
16.5 years young...!  She is a lucky dog....Especially if the only thing wrong with her is bad breath...!
Chances are, it could just be her teeth, but....My Yorkie..( 15 years ) had very bad breath...and was acting normal. Eating normal. She would have an occassional accident in the house and needed to get out more often at night....it turned out to be Kidney Failure.  
Now don't panic...I'm not saying your dog has kidney failure just because she has bad breath...But the panting and the smell of her breath, could be due to toxins building up in her system.
I had another dog...who panted alot...especially at night...and we found out she had heart and lung problems...She would pant and try to get comfortable...she would finally fall asleep, but before long, she would sit up very quickly... and start panting again... she could not lay on her side, and could only lay on her stomach. It was due to the fluids building up in her lungs and heart.
Excessive panting can also be a sign of Cushings Disease.
Since your dog is 16 plus years....I would suggest you bring her in to get bloodwork done...and get a good physical exam...check heart and lung sounds...and of course...an oral exam.  
It is amazing what they can find out by a simple blood draw.
I hope the bloodwork turns out fine, and they will just find bad breath...!
Hats off to the wonderful job you have done with your dog...Part of the reason she is 16 plus, is because of the care you have given her.
God Bless you both....Connie
1868280 tn?1320169073
I wish Jack would had you in his corner. To have a Yorkie live 15 years is just amazing. Jack had health problems starting with Liver Shunt and died suddenly 10-27-11. He was only 4 and I know tried to tell me, even though he was taking medication, but I became complacent when he needed me most to get him to the Vet, but I was too late.
1832268 tn?1326819610
Mark....I sent you a message....Look for it in your Profile page.
Avatar universal
I discussed Lilly with my vet and he suggested putting her on an antibiotic. She is almost done with it and her breath no longer smells. He said she may have to take a round every so often, but it worked. Yesterday she walked down the hill to the horse barn . I about freaked because I didn't know how I was going to get her back up. I turned around and she somehow climbed back up the stairs and was sitting in the kitchen. We have renamed her Benjimina Button! I only have to use the "Lilly Lifter" (pillow case) every so often to help her get up. We have concrete floors and they are hard to get footing. Thank you for your suggestions everyone. Lilly is a blue Healer. She weighs about 60+ pounds.
1832268 tn?1326819610
Hooray for Lily....( I mean Benjamin Button )....!  So happy all that is wrong with her was the bad breath...!  Happy Thanksgiving...!
Avatar universal
Not been on here before but so good to hear of your 15yr Yorkie still going relatively strong!  I've got two of that age and believe me I have the same...very active, bright eyed and cold wet noses..etc   But!!  Very bad breath!!  Quite a recent thing... they are too old to undergo dental treatment so if anyone has other alternative remedies I would seriously appreciate it!    

Many thanks

462827 tn?1333172552
Hello Drst & welcome to the forum.......Good for you to have 2-15 year olds....You've obviously done a great job!!!

A very sudden change in Breath warrants a Vet visit W/bloodwork if you haven't already done this recently.....Kidney Disease comes to mind and produces a terrible mouth odor.

Also at this age, would/could clearly be periodontal Disease....It produces quite an odor if an infection is going on......ANtibiotics help tremendously even if they cannot undergo a dental...

Next- Brush their teeth! Either with a doggie toothpaste (NO human paste) or my favorite product: "PetzLife Oral Gel"....I love this stuff & have used it for years....It kills bacteria in the mouth amazingly...Can be purchased online....AT least go read about it!

Last- Digestive problems (Like stomach Acids or sour stomach) also produce a bad mouth odor...In this case, a high quality Probiotic works great and kills the bad bacteria in the tummy......

Good luck and again: "Great Job!"      Karla

7378022 tn?1390755081
Another alternative that I used on my senior dog in addition to what Karla has suggested was non-anesthesia cleaning... Done at some pet supply places, in your home, or vets office. Find a name and research them online.

1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi. Many vets are reluctant to undertake dental work on elderly dogs, not because it can't be done, but usually because they are a little scared of undertaking something that may have complications. Some vets are very inexperienced in dental work, while others are inexperienced in anesthetizing an elderly dog - in some cases, there are vets inexperienced in both.

I would look for a specialist canine dental surgery/vet. Providing your dog's bloodwork is okay and their general health (given their age) is good, there is no reason your Yorkie can't have a good check-up, teeth clean and general mouth hygiene work undertaken. I was reading another forum recently where a 19yr old dog had been suffering bad breath and other associated dental issues - after the dental specialist had done their work, the dog developed a new lease of life and was full of happy energy again.

It's certainly something I would encourage you to look into a little more, but with a specialized dental vet. No dog is too old to undergo dental work, if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Avatar universal
what is the name of the antibiotic? thanks
Avatar universal
I am so sorry you lost Jack at such a young age. I raised and showed Yorkies for a number of years and was well informed about liver shunts. It's the number one health issue good breeders work within their breeding program to eliminate. Sorry to say there are lots of "backyard breeders" who don"t have a clue. I only bred one puppy who had it. I discontinued breeding that line as it is a very complicated inherited trait. Not that it helped the owners but I replaced the puppy for free. If ever you or anyone you know wants a Yorkie find the best long time breeder you can. They should stipulate in there contract with you something covering you in the event you have heredity health issues within 5 years. A good breeder will belong to the National Yorkshire Terrier Assoc and a local club where they teach the breeders about health issues. My heart breaks when I hear these stories. Our dogs are often like children to us there death regardless of their age is a devastation most of us will go through. God bless you. Someday you will be reunited with him at the rainbow bridge.
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