There are certain times when you can expect your cat's breath to smell, like right after they were chewing on that fish skin. But what is happening when you notice that your cat's breath is starting to be stinky all the time? Our Gillette vets talk about why your cat's breath smells bad and what you can do about it.
What is behind your cat's smelly breath?
There are some animals that we just naturally associate with bad breath, like dogs, but when we think of cats we don't usually jump to thoughts about smelly breath. While their bad breath may sometimes be caused by something they were eating there are other cases where they are actually suffering from a health or dental concern.
This makes dental health checkups for your cat a crucial part of their overall health care with their veterinarian in order to understand what causes this smell.
Dental Concerns Affecting Cats
We know that you care about the health of your cat but sometimes pet parents can forget to keep up with oral care for their feline friend. Unfortunately, this can lead to many cats experiencing some form of dental disease or oral condition by the time they reach three years old.
Just like people, each time a cat eats their food there are bacteria and debris making their teeth home. Unless you clear away this debris with teeth brushing it can harden into tartar which will need the help of the veterinary dentist to clean.. While this tartar is a big enough issue on its own, the bacteria that are present in 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 of the symptoms that are commonly seen with dental conditions are:
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Redness of the mouth and gums
- Behavioral changes
- Inability to eat or lack of appetite
If your cat is experiencing any of the above conditions then they will need to visit the vet to have a thorough examination and diagnosis. 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 Possible Reasons For Your Cat's Bad Breath
Dental conditions are typically the cause of smelly breath in cats but it is not the only possible cause. This symptom can also be caused by a number of other conditions not related to your cat's dental health.
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:
- Ulcers and sores
- Kidney disease
- Abscess or infection
- Poor oral hygiene
- Liver disease
Because there are a number of different possible causes for smelly breath in cats it is recommended that you bring them in to see your vet is they have ongoing bad breath.
How To Treat Your Cat's Bad Breath at Home
Your vet will make determining the cause of the smelly breath the focus for your cat.
One way you can help prevent dental issues causing smelly breath is by beginning a rigorous oral hygiene routine with your cat when they are still young. 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.