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Why Does My Cat's Breath Smell Bad?

There's nothing quite like waking up to bad cat breath. Cat parents know that feline friends enjoy getting up close and personal in the morning. A cat's bad breath can be linked to dental concerns, but that is not always the case. Our Astoria vets talk about some of the reasons your cat has bad breath and what you can do to help improve the smell.

Reasons Your Cat's Breath Smells Bad

While we may often associate bad breath with dogs, it is a condition that can affect cats as well. If a cat has bad breath that is left untreated the smell can get worse over time. Cat owners often ask vets, 'Why does my cats' breath smell?'. There are many reasons why a cat's breath may smell bad. It could be due to food being stuck in the teeth after eating, dental concerns or other, more serious conditions. 

It is important to bring your feline friend in for a dental health checkup so their veterinarian can identify the cause of the smell.

Cat Bad Breath is Linked to Oral Hygiene 

Taking care of a cat's oral hygiene is part of providing the best care possible for our feline friends. We can sometimes forget that maintaining good oral hygiene in our cats is important for their health and quality of life. Unfortunately, the majority of cats experience some form of dental disease by the time they are three years old.

When a cat eats, their teeth come in contact with food particles and bacteria that can cause dental conditions. If this bacteria is not cleaned away daily, it will harden into tartar due to the minerals that are present in the cat's saliva.

Tartar is a big enough issue on its own, but the bacteria present in the mouth can also travel throughout the body, causing heart or kidney disease. 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 cause your cat to not only be in pain but also cause bad breath.

Some common symptoms of dental concerns might include: 

  • Bleeding gums
  • Redness of the mouth and gums
  • Behavioral changes
  • Dropping food from the mouth when eating
  • Inability to eat
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bad breath

The only way to accurately diagnose and treat dental concerns is by bringing your cat to your veterinarian for an oral examination. The treatment that your cat requires will be dependent on the condition that they are experiencing, but potential treatment options may include dental cleanings, tooth extractions, antibiotics, and dietary changes.

Other Conditions That May Cause Bad Breath in Cats

Although a cat's bad breath is often caused by dental conditions, these are not always the cause. 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. This is why it's important to ensure that you bring your feline friend in for an examination as soon as you notice anything off about your cat.

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

  • Oral infections
  • Kidney disease
  • Tooth abscess
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Teething
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Diet 
  • Cancer
  • Ulcers and sores

A wide range of conditions can potentially cause bad breath. Due to this, we always recommend bringing your cat in for a dental checkup if they are experiencing bad breath, especially if it is ongoing. 

How to Get Rid of Your Cat's Bad Breath

If your cat has bad breath, the main goal is to treat the cause or try to diagnose the potential cause.

Cat bad breath treatment begins with regular teeth brushing. Start from an early age to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar. Purchase a special toothbrush that makes brushing cats' teeth easier. If that doesn't work, you can try using your finger to brush the teeth until your cat becomes familiar with the process. If you brush your cats' teeth multiple times a week, it should become easier for them the more often you do it.

Your cat is recommended to get a dental checkup and routine cleaning at least once a year. This will help 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.

Your cat's bad breath may be linked to oral health conditions Book an oral examination appointment for your cat today at Steinway Court Veterinarian.

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At Steinway Court Veterinarian, we are always accepting new patients. Our vets are dedicated to keeping pets healthy and happy in our Astoria clinic. Contact us today to book your first appointment.

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