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Addressing Bad Breath in Cats: Common Causes and Solutions

Addressing Bad Breath in Cats: Common Causes and Solutions

We know that our pet's breath will commonly smell what they eat, but sometimes it can be pretty awful. This may leave you wondering what the cause is and if you should worry. Our Cumming vets talk about the reasons why your cat's breath may smell so bad and what you can do to make it better.

Why does my cat's breath smell?

While we may commonly associate bad breath in pets with dogs it is a condition that can affect cats as well. A cat's bad breath can have many causes ranging from just plain old kibble breath to dental concerns and other more serious conditions. 

This makes bringing your kitty in for a dental health checkup with their veterinarian to get to the bottom of this smelly condition.

Oral Hygiene and Your Cat's Bad Breath

While we make routine care an important part of caring for our feline friends, sometimes we can forget about daily oral hygiene and routine professional dental care.

The food that a cat eats can cause a build-up of bacteria on the teeth and gumline. This bacteria needs to be cleaned away daily 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 in 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.

Reasons Why Your Cat Has Bad Breath

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.

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

Because there can be several different potential causes of bad cat breath, you should bring your cat in for a routine exam and diagnostics to properly address and treat their condition.

How to Get Rid of Your Cat's Bad Breath at Home

The first step for any cat with bad breath will be to diagnose the condition causing the unpleasant odor. When it comes to your cat's bad breath, the treatment usually relies on diagnosing and treating the underlying cause.

How to get rid of a cat's bad breath begins with oral hygiene. You should begin with a regular brushing routine from an early age if possible 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. If your cat won't let you brush their teeth every day from the beginning, you should at least aim to brush a few times a week until your cat becomes accustomed to 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 breath may be caused by more than just their kibble? Book an oral examination appointment for your kitty today.

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Crestview Animal Hospital & Emergency is always welcoming new patients! Our Cumming vets provide veterinary services designed to promote good health and longevity. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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