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Why does my cat's breath smell so 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 San Gabriel vets talk about some of the reasons your cat may have bad breath and what you can do to help treat this smelly condition.

Reasons Why Your Cat Has Bad Breath

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 strive to give our feline friends the best care possible, it is easy to overlook the importance of oral hygiene. Unfortunately, we don't always do this well enough, and the majority of cats have some form of dental disease by the age of three.

When a cat eats, it exposes its teeth to food particles and bacteria, which can lead to a number of dental issues. Because of the minerals found in the cat's saliva, this bacteria must be removed daily or it will harden into tartar. While tartar is a major issue on its own, bacteria found on teeth and in the mouth can spread throughout the body, causing heart and kidney disease. Tartar is also a major cause of gum recession, which can result in 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 of a 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 Your Cat's Bad Breath

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.

These other conditions will cause symptoms that are very similar to those seen with oral issues, so it is critical 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 a 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 possible, start brushing your teeth at a young age to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. This can be accomplished by purchasing a special toothbrush designed to make brushing cats' teeth easier, and if that doesn't work at first, you can brush your cat's teeth with your finger until he or she becomes accustomed to the process. Brushing should be done at least twice a week and should become easier as you do it more frequently.

It is also recommended that your cat have a dental checkup and routine cleaning at least once a year to remove any hard-to-reach plaque and tartar and to help detect potential dental problems 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 Temple City Animal Hospital.

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