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Why does my cat's breath smell bad?

The smell of bad cat breath can become unbearable. In this article, our Rabun County vets talk about some of the reasons for cat bad breath and what you can do to help improve your cat's breath.

Reasons Why Your Cat's Breath Smells Bad

There are a variety of reasons why your cat's breath may smell bad. If your cat's breath smells bad, it could be a sign or symptom of dental concerns or other more serious conditions. 

To prevent serious oral health conditions from developing in your cat, it's important to bring your feline friend in for regular dental health checkups. Your pet's veterinarian can help you 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 three years old. 

Each time a cat consumes food, its teeth come into contact with food particles and bacteria, potentially leading to various dental problems. Regular daily cleaning is essential to remove this bacteria, preventing it from solidifying into tartar due to the minerals present in the cat's saliva.

Apart from being a significant issue in itself, the bacteria on the teeth and in the mouth can spread throughout the body, contributing to heart and kidney diseases. Additionally, tartar is a common cause of gum recession, which may eventually lead to the loss of your cat's teeth. These dental issues can not only cause discomfort but also result in unpleasant breath for your cat.

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 best way to 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 they are experiencing, but some potential treatment options may include dental cleanings, tooth extractions, antibiotics, and dietary changes.

Other Conditions That May Cause Bad Breath in Cats

While bad breath in cats is most frequently caused by dental problems, these will not be the cause every time. There is a chance that this condition can be caused by other, more serious health issues within your cat's body.

These other conditions will cause symptoms that are very similar to those experienced due to oral concerns, which makes it important to ensure that you bring your feline friend in for an examination as soon as possible.

The 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

Our vets recommend bringing your cat in for a checkup if they are experiencing bad breath, especially if it is ongoing. 

How to Get Rid of  Your Cat's Bad Breath

When a cat has bad breath, the main goal will be to treat the cause or have the potential cause diagnosed.

Treatment of a cat’s bad breath begins with regular brushing. Start this routine from an early age if possible to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar. This can be done by purchasing a special toothbrush that makes brushing cats' teeth easier. 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 remove all of the hard-to-reach plaque and tartar and to help spot potential dental concerns 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 about your cat's oral health? Contact our Rabun County vets to schedule a dental appointment.

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Rabun Animal Hospital is currently accepting new patients! Our wonderful veterinarians are dedicated to the health and happiness of Rabun County dogs, cats, and exotic pets. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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