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Why Does My Cat Breath Smell Bad?

Why Does My Cat Breath Smell Bad?

Bad breath in cats is often seen, but it might indicate a hidden health problem. Today, the North Providence vets talk about some of the reasons your cat may have bad breath and what you can do to help treat bad breath in cats.

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

We want the best for your cats, but sometimes we forget about their teeth. Sadly, most cats develop dental problems by age 3. When cats eat, food particles and bacteria can harm their teeth.  

If not cleaned daily, this can turn into tartar. Tartar is bad on its own, and the bacteria can spread to the heart and kidneys. While this 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 is also the most common cause of gum recession and can result in your cat's teeth falling out. All these things can result in your cat being in pain and experiencing 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. Still, 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

Bad breath in cats often comes from dental issues, but not always. Sometimes, it might be a sign of a more serious health problem 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.

Some other conditions that could lead to 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 Treat Your Cat's Bad Breath at Home

If your cat has bad breath, the main goal is to treat the cause or find out what's causing it. To prevent plaque and tartar buildup, start brushing your cat's teeth regularly from a young age. 

You can use a special cat toothbrush or even your finger if needed. Aim for brushing several times a week, and it should get easier over time. 

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.

Additionally, it's a good idea to schedule a dental checkup and cleaning for your cat at least once a year to address hard-to-reach plaque and catch any dental issues 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 Ferguson Animal Hospital.

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

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