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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 South Salem vets talk about some of the reasons your cat has bad breath and what you can do to help treat this smelly condition.

Reasons Why Your Cat's Breath Smells Bad

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 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. 

When a cat eats, it exposes its teeth to food particles and bacteria that can cause a variety of dental problems. This bacteria must be removed daily or it will harden into tartar due to the minerals found in the cat's saliva. While tartar is a significant problem on its own, bacteria found on teeth and in the mouth can travel throughout the body, causing heart and kidney disease. This tartar is also the leading cause of gum recession, which can lead to your cat's teeth falling out. All of these things can cause your cat to not only be in pain but also to have 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 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.

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

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 Your Cat's Bad Breath at Home

When you have a cat with bad breath, your goal is how to get rid of it, and fast.

If possible, you should begin a regular brushing routine 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 could try brushing the teeth with your finger until your cat becomes accustomed to the process. Brushing should be done at least twice a week and should become easier the more frequently 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.

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 South Salem Animal Hospital.

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South Salem Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of South Salem companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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