Q: Hansel is our 5-year-old cocker spaniel, and she has developed very bad breath. I have looked at her teeth and they seem to be fairly clean. We haven't changed her food, and she doesn't seem to be sick. We have tried flavored dog treats and breath fresheners, but they only help for a short time. Could there be something caught in her throat that is causing this to happen?
Mrs. Arlene Hansen, Anaheim
A: Halitosis can result from a variety of causes. The most common cause is dental disease or tooth infection.
Because your dog's teeth seem to be all right and she is eating, we need to look for another cause. And because she isn't coughing or choking, it doesn't seem likely that she has something caught in her throat.
Cockers as well as other dogs with large lip folds tend to develop infections around the lips in between the folds of the mouth. I would recommend that you have Hansel examined by your veterinarian to have the skin around the mouth checked. If she does have such an infection, it will be necessary to trim the hair from the muzzle and folds and use a gentle antibacterial cleaning solution to help dry up the moisture that generally starts this condition. In most cases, treatment with antibiotics and topical solutions will take care of the problem.