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Why does my cat's breath smell bad?

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 Little Rock vets talk about some of the reasons for your cat's bad breath and what you can do to help treat this smelly condition.

Reasons Why Your Cat Has Bad Breath

While dogs are commonly associated with bad breath in pets, cats can also be affected by the condition. A cat's bad breath can have a variety of causes, including simple bad breath from eating, 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. 

Each time a cat eats, it exposes its teeth to food particles and bacteria that can cause various dental conditions. You need to clean away this bacteria daily, otherwise it will harden into tartar due to the minerals present in the cat's saliva. While tartar is a big enough issue on its own, the bacteria present in the teeth and mouth can also travel throughout the body, causing heart and kidney disease. This tartar causes gum recession and can make your cat's teeth fall out. Your cat can experience pain and bad breath due to all of these things.

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 May Cause Bad Breath in Cats

While dental problems are the most common cause of bad breath in cats, they are not always the case. There is a possibility that this condition is caused by other, more serious conditions in your cat's body.

Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to those experienced by oral concerns, so it is 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. 

Treatment for Bad Breath in Cats

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.

To prevent plaque and tartar buildup, it is advisable to start brushing your teeth at a young age if possible. You can accomplish this by purchasing a special toothbrush designed to make brushing cats' teeth easier, and if it doesn't work at first, you can try brushing the teeth with your finger until your cat becomes accustomed to the process. You should brush at least twice a week and it should become easier the more 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? Want to learn more about how to get rid of bad breath in cats? Book an oral examination appointment for your cat today at Bowman Road Animal Clinic.

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Bowman Road Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Little Rock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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