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 Seattle 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's Breath Smells 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.
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 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.
Other Conditions That May Cause Bad Breath in Cats
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
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 Treat Your Cat's Bad Breath at Home
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.
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. At the very least brushing should happen multiple times a week and should become easier the more often 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.