Why does my cat's breath smell?
We all know that stinky breath is common in dogs but it might surprise you to learn that it is also common in our feline family members. In fact, 'Why does my cat's breath smell?" is a question our vets often hear from concerned pet parents.
Of course, as with dogs and people, cats can have bad breath for a number of reasons ranging from eating smelly food to dental concerns and other more serious conditions. Which is why it's important to bring your cat 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 most pet parents do all they can to provide their feline family members with the very best care, some aspects of feline care are sometimes forgotten such as the need for regular dental care. Neglected oral healthcare means that the majority of cats experience some form of dental disease by the time they are 3 years old.
Each time a cat eats they are exposing their teeth to food particles and bacteria that can cause various dental conditions. This bacteria needs to be cleaned away on a daily basis otherwise it will harden into tartar due to the minerals that are present in the cat's saliva. While this tartar is a big enough issue on its own, the bacteria that are present on the teeth and in the mouth can also travel throughout the body causing heart and kidney disease. This tartar is also the most common cause of gum recession and can result in your cat's teeth falling out. All of these things can result in your cat not only being in pain but also experiencing some very 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 that your cat requires 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 Can Lead to Bad Breath in Cats
While bad breath in cats may most frequently be caused by dental conditions, these will not be the cause every time. There is a chance that this condition can be caused by other more serious conditions within 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.
Some of the other conditions that can lead to bad breath in cats include:
- Ulcers and sores
- Kidney disease
- Abscess or infection
- Poor oral hygiene
- Liver disease
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.
Cat Bad Breath Treatment
Before you can treat your cat's bad breath the underlying cause first needs to be determined. Once your vet has pinpointed the cause of your kitty's bad breath they will be able to explain how to get rid of your cat's bad breath, and provide treatment if necessary.
Caring For Your Cat's Oral Health At Home
We understand that for many people this may sound silly, but you can help to preserve your cat's oral health and fresh breath by establishing some effective oral healthcare habits while they are young. This includes brushing your cat's teeth regularly, providing high quality dental treats and taking your cat to the vet for annual dental exams and cleanings.
How To Brush Your Cat's Teeth
You should begin with a regular brushing routine from an early age if possible in order to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar.
This can be done by purchasing a special toothbrush that makes brushing cats' teeth easier and if that doesn't work at first you could try using your finger to brush the teeth until your cat becomes accustomed to the process. At the very least brushing should happen multiple times a week and should become easier the more often you do it.
Dental Checkups For Cats
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.
Our Huntersville vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating bad breath in cats. Contact LakeCross Veterinary Hospital to book an examination for your kitty.
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