If your cat likes to get in your personal space, you might have noticed that their breath is getting really bad. Bad breath in cats can stem from a number of reasons and our Santa Barbara vets are here to explain.
Why Your Cat Has Bad Breath
While it is far more commonly seen in dogs, cats can also have bad breath. There are actually quite a lot of things that can contribute to bad breath in cats such as old age, food-related bad breath, and even major dental concerns.
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
As pet owners, we strive to provide our pets with the best care possible, but sadly the oral hygiene of our cats sometimes isn't taken care of well enough. The majority of cats experience some form of dental disease by the time they are 3 years old.
Every time your cat eats food, particles will get stuck to their teeth resulting in bacteria that can lead to various dental conditions. This buildup needs to be removed every day 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. Tartar is also commonly seen to cause gum recession and if this develops, your cat's teeth can actually fall 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:
- Redness of the mouth and gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Behavioral changes
- Inability to eat or lack of appetite
You can't accurately diagnose these issues yourself, they will require a veterinary diagnosis following a comprehensive 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
Obviously, the most common cause of bad breath in cats is going to relate to dental conditions but this is not the case in every situation. There is a possibility that the conditions can be caused by 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:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Kidney disease
- Abscess or infection
- Liver disease
- Ulcers and sores
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 first thing you'll do is get the cause treated or at least diagnosed.
Start with a trip to the vet to have your cat's teeth checked out along with a routine examination of their entire body. After this, you'll want to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar which is good no matter what the underlying issue is. 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.
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.