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Why Does My Cat's Breath Smell Bad?

Why Does My Cat's Breath Smell Bad?

Some cats love to get up close and personal with their favorite people but it can be off-putting if your cat is getting in your face with bad breath. Our West Chester vets share some reasons your cat's breath smells.

Why Your Cat Has Bad Breath

While cats are not the pet we associate bad breath with, it can still be a problem for them. If your cat's breath is unbearable, it can be the result of a range of issues from eating smelly food to dental issues and other 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. 

Every time your cat eats, they will get more and more food particles and bacteria building up which can lead to a host of dental issues. This bacteria needs to be removed every day otherwise it will begin to harden into tartar. While this tartar is a huge 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: 

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

The only way that dental conditions can be accurately diagnosed is by having your vet perform an oral exam. The treatment that your cat needs will depend on the condition that they are experiencing but some of the possible treatment options may include dental cleanings, tooth extractions, antibiotics, and potential dietary accommodations.

Other Conditions That Can Cause Cats Bad Breath

Dental conditions are the main contributor to bad breath in cats but there are other causes. 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 on a regular basis.

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 will always be recommended to bring your cat in for a checkup if they are experiencing bad breath, especially if it is persistent.

Treating Bad Breath In Cats

When your cat has bad breath your number one goal is going to be to treat the cause or receive a diagnosis for an underlying condition.

You should start brushing your cat's teeth regularly, starting from an early age to help prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar. You can find special toothbrushes and toothpaste that make brushing your cat's teeth much easier. If this does not work, you can use your fingers to brush their teeth until your cat accepts this. 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 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.

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

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