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Why Does My Cat's Breath Smell Bad?

Many cat owners have experienced the unpleasant surprise of their feline friend having bad breath. Understanding why your cat has bad breath can help you address the issue and keep your pet healthy and happy. In this blog post, we'll discuss the common causes of bad breath in cats, discuss cat bad breath treatments, and provide tips on how to get rid of cat bad breath.

Why Your Cat Has Bad Breath

While cats are not typically associated with bad breath, it can still be a problem. If your cat's breath is unbearable, it could be due to various issues, such as eating smelly food, dental problems, or other serious health conditions. That's why taking your cat for a dental health checkup with the veterinarian is crucial to address this smelly condition.

Oral Hygiene & Dental Disease in Cats

While we always try to provide the best care possible for our feline friends, we 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 three years old. 

Every time your cat eats, food particles and bacteria build up, leading to dental issues. This bacteria needs to be removed every day. Otherwise, it will begin to harden into tartar. While tartar is a huge issue on its own, the bacteria present in the teeth and mouth can also travel throughout the body, causing heart and kidney disease.

Tartar is also the most common cause of gum recession and can cause your cat's teeth to fall out. All of these things can result in your cat being in pain and experiencing very bad breath.

Some common symptoms of these conditions might include: 

  • Inability to eat or lack of appetite
  • Behavioral changes
  • Redness of the mouth and gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums

Dental conditions can only be accurately diagnosed by having your vet perform an oral exam. Your cat's treatment will depend on its condition, but some possible treatment options may include dental cleanings, tooth extractions, antibiotics, and potential dietary accommodations.

Other Conditions That Can Cause Cats Bad Breath

Dental conditions mainly contribute to bad breath in cats, but other causes exist. This condition can also be caused by other more serious conditions within your cat's body.

These other conditions cause symptoms very similar to those experienced by oral concerns, which is why it is important to ensure that you bring your feline friend in for an examination regularly.

These other conditions that may cause bad breath in your cat include:

  • Diet 
  • Teething
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Ulcers and sores
  • Infections
  • Abscess

Due to the wide range of conditions that can cause bad breath, it is always recommended that you bring your cat in for a checkup if it is persistent.

Treating Bad Breath In Cats

It is important to address the cause of bad breath in your cat. Begin by regularly brushing your cat's teeth, starting at a young age, to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar. Special toothbrushes and toothpaste are available for cats to make the process easier.

If your cat doesn't like the toothbrush, you can use your fingers until they become comfortable with it. Aim to brush your cat's teeth several times weekly for best results.

Additionally, taking your cat for a dental checkup at least once a year is recommended to remove hard-to-reach plaque and tartar and identify any potential dental issues early on.

If your cat continues to have bad breath despite your efforts, it's best to consult a veterinarian to rule out any serious health problems. With proper care, you can help your cat maintain good oral health and enjoy sweet-smelling kitty kisses once again.

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.

If your cat has smelly breath, contact our Echo Park vets today to book an examination.

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