Bad breath is fairly common in cats, but that doesn't mean it is normal or healthy. It can be an indication of dental or oral disease. Here, our Hattiesburg and Petal vets explain the causes, symptoms, and treatments of bad breath in cats.
Why Does Your Cat's Breath Smell So Bad?
While we may commonly associate bad breath in pets with dogs it is a condition that can affect cats as well. There are many reasons why a cat's breath may smell bad ranging from just plain old bad breath from eating to dental concerns 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.
How Oral Hygiene Has an Effect on Your Cat's Breath
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.
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.
Conditions That Can Cause Your Cat's Breath To Smell
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
- Liver disease
What You Can Do To Improve Your Cat's Breath
Once you notice consistent bad breath in your cat, it is time to move to solutions!
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.
It is also recommended that your cat get a dental checkup and routine cleaning at least once a year. This, combined with at-home dental care, should keep your cat's oral health in tip-top shape.
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.