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Why does my cat's breath smell?

Why does my cat's breath smell?

As most cat parents know, our feline friends enjoy getting up close and personal. This is especially true first thing in the morning, and there's nothing quite like waking up to stinky cat breath. Most of the time this condition can be linked to dental concerns but that is not always the case. Our Southgate vets talk about some of the reasons your cat has bad breath and what you can do to help treat this smelly condition.

Reasons Why Your Cat's Breath Smells Bad

While we commonly associate bad breath in pets with dogs, the condition can also affect cats. There are a variety of causes for a cat's bad breath, ranging from simple bad breath from eating to dental issues and other more serious conditions.

This makes it all the more important to bring your feline friend in for a dental health checkup with their veterinarian to get to the bottom of this smelly condition.

Oral Hygiene & Dental Disease in Cats

While we always try to provide the best care possible for our feline friends we can sometimes forget that this includes taking care of their oral hygiene. Unfortunately, this isn't always something we do well enough and the majority of cats experience some form of dental disease by the time they are 3 years old. 

Every time a cat eats, they expose their teeth to food particles and bacteria that can cause a variety of dental problems. This bacteria must be cleaned away on a daily basis or it will harden into tartar due to the minerals in the cat's saliva. While tartar is a significant issue on its own, bacteria found on teeth and in the mouth can travel throughout the body, causing heart and kidney disease. This tartar is also the most common cause of gum recession, which can lead to your cat's teeth falling out. All of these things can cause your cat to be in pain as well as have bad breath.

Some common symptoms of these conditions might include: 

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Redness of the mouth and gums
  • Behavioral changes
  • Inability to eat or lack of appetite

The only way to accurately diagnose and treat these conditions is by bringing your cat to your veterinarian for an oral examination. The treatment for your cat's bad breath will be dependent on the condition that they are experiencing but some of the possible treatment options may include dental cleanings, tooth extractions, antibiotics, and potential dietary changes.

Other Conditions That May Cause Bad Breath in Cats

While dental problems are the most common cause of bad breath in cats, they are not always the cause. This condition could be caused by other, more serious problems in your cat's body.

These other conditions will cause symptoms that are very similar to those experienced by oral concerns, which makes it important to ensure that you bring your feline friend in for an examination as soon as possible.

These other conditions that may cause bad breath in your cat include:

  • Ulcers and sores
  • Kidney disease
  • Abscess or infection
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Teething
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Diet 
  • Infections
  • Cancer

Due to the wide range of potential conditions that can cause bad breath, it will always be recommended to bring your cat in for a checkup if they are experiencing bad breath, especially if it is ongoing. 

How to Get Rid of Your Cat's Bad Breath

When you have a cat that is experiencing bad breath the main goal will be to treat the cause or have the potential cause diagnosed.

If at all possible, start brushing your teeth on a regular basis as soon as you can to avoid plaque and tartar buildup. This can be accomplished by investing in a toothbrush designed specifically for cats, and if that doesn't work right away, you can try using your finger to brush the cat's teeth until it becomes accustomed to the procedure. Brushing should, at the very least, be done several times each week, and it should get easier the more frequently you do it.

It is also recommended that your cat get a dental checkup and routine cleaning at least once a year to get all of the hard-to-reach plaque and tartar and to help spot potential dental concerns early.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned that your cat's bad breath may be linked to oral health or systemic conditions? Book an oral examination appointment for your cat today at Southgate Animal Hospital.

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