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Dr. Fox: Dietary changes, oral spray can help dog with halitosis

Dear Dr. Fox: I have three beautiful dogs: a 3-year-old lavender female Pomeranian, a 2-year-old male black Pom and a 9-month-old chocolate Lab. It’s a crazy house.

My situation is that the female Pomeranian weighs 12 pounds, and the vet says she should lose 2 to 3 pounds, so we feed her ¼ cup Fromm dog food in the morning and 1½ nuggets of Primal freeze-dried food in the evening.

She hasn’t lost any weight. She has a very sensitive stomach. Her breath is rancid – it smells like dead fish. The vet says that her teeth look good and that the smell is probably because of acid reflux. The vet put her on Clavamox, which has helped with her breath, but I’m worried it will return when she stops the medication.

My male Pom can be finicky. Sometimes he turns his nose up to his food. He weighs about 8 or 9 pounds, and the vet says his weight is good.

I just don’t know what to do anymore. I was told by a trainer to feed the dogs Primal raw dog food. They liked it (at times). The vet didn’t like the frozen version. He suggested the freeze-dried.

There aren’t any problems with the Lab except he’s hyper and stinky. He eats Orijen Puppy Large Breed. – D.S., Winston Salem, N.C.

Dear D.S.: Orijen is a good brand, but I would transition your Labrador onto an adult dog food, feeding him three small meals daily. What you are feeding him now is for pups, and he may soon become overweight and develop joint problems.

I am disturbed that the veterinarian would prescribe an antibiotic for your dog’s halitosis. Instead, try safe chew toys, my buckwheat dog treats (recipe on my website, and above all, PetzLife Oral Care gel or spray, which has helped thousands of dogs with a variety of oral health issues, including halitosis.

Diet and kidney and liver function can also contribute to halitosis and other health problems, especially in older dogs. I would urge you to give your little Poms digestive enzymes (½ teaspoon crushed pineapple) and probiotics (1 teaspoon plain organic kefir) with each meal and transition them onto my home-prepared recipe, which they should thrive on. This, too, is posted on my website.

If there is no significant improvement and the halitosis persists, there is a possibility of periodontal and endodontic disease, which calls for radiographic dental assessment.

Dear Dr. Fox: Please educate us feline lovers on polycystic kidney disease (PKD) in cats. I just lost my 3-year-old kitty to this horrible disease.

We had her groomed and shaved for summer, and after losing her long coat, we noticed she was thin. She vomited the next week, quit eating and drinking and hid from us. This was not like her personality.

She was the runt of a rescue litter and always small. I took her to the vet, and he thought she had a virus. Antibiotics did not help. Blood work was drawn on the third week, and she was already in the “red zone” for kidney failure and dehydration.

She would not drink and ate only a small amount of wet food. She was put on IV fluids, but they did not help. She continued to lose weight weekly and was finally diagnosed with PKD when her levels had elevated to almost the end of the red zone, renal failure.

She became very weak, and I had her euthanized. Please enlighten and educate your readers and me on this terrible disease. She was a rescue black cat, breed unknown, but had moderately long hair. Thank you for your column. – P.K., St. Louis

Dear P.K.: My sincere condolences for your loss. It was indeed a sad ordeal for both you and your young cat.

This condition is a degenerative disease of the kidneys that is a genetic defect prevalent in some breeds, such as Persians, but not uncommon in the more genetically diverse cat population.

Some genetic diseases are self-limiting, afflicting animals before they reach breeding age, which prevents transmission to offspring.

Regrettably, this is not the case with polycystic kidney disease.

Some veterinarians have done kidney transplants from healthy donor cats from shelters, and with the addition of immunosuppressant drugs to help stop rejection, some cats have had some life extension. In my opinion, aside from the costs, there are ethical considerations for both donor and recipient animals that lead me to not endorse such transplants. For humans, it is a lifesaver, but cats are not good candidates.

Dear Dr. Fox: I wanted to thank you for your continuing mentions of Feline Nutrition and our website,, in your column. We have recently started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to be able to expand our outreach and education efforts. You can take a look at it here:

The campaign runs through July 26. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Fairfax, Virginia, 22038. Checks should be made out to Feline Nutrition Education Society. If supporters donate through Indiegogo, they can get some great perks! – Margaret Gates, director

Send all mail to or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Visit Dr. Fox’s website at