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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 gets in your face with bad breath, so our Madison vets share reasons why your cat may have this issue.

Why Your Cat Has Bad Breath

Although bad breath is not typically associated with cats, it can still be a problem for them. If your cat's breath is unpleasant, it could be due to various factors, such as eating smelly food, dental issues, or other serious conditions.

Therefore, taking your feline friend to their veterinarian for a dental health check-up is crucial to identify the cause of this unpleasant smell.

Oral Hygiene & Dental Disease in Cats

While we always try to provide the best care possible for our feline friends, we 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. 

When your cat eats, tiny particles of food and bacteria build up on their teeth. This buildup can cause a range of dental issues in your cat. Therefore, it is important to remove this bacteria every day to prevent it from becoming tartar, which is a hardened form of bacteria.

Tartar can cause various problems on its own, but the bacteria present in the mouth can also travel to your cat's heart and kidneys, leading to serious diseases. Tartar buildup is also the most common cause of gum recession, which can result in teeth falling out.

All these issues can cause your cat pain and give them 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

To accurately diagnose dental conditions in cats, it is necessary to have a vet perform an oral exam. The type of treatment required will depend on the specific condition, but it may include dental cleanings, tooth extractions, antibiotics, and dietary adjustments.

Other Conditions That Can Cause Cats Bad Breath

Dental problems are the primary cause of bad breath in cats, although there may be other causes. It's possible that this issue could be caused by more severe conditions within your cat's body.

These conditions may exhibit symptoms similar to those of dental problems, which is why taking your feline friend for regular check-ups is important. Some of the conditions that may cause bad breath in your cat are:

  • 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 is always recommended to bring your cat in for a check-up if they are experiencing bad breath, especially if it is persistent.

How to Get Rid of Cat Bad Breath

If your cat has bad breath, it is important to identify and treat the underlying cause. You can start by brushing your cat's teeth regularly, starting from a young age, to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar.

You can use special toothbrushes and toothpaste made for cats, making brushing easier. If your cat is not used to brushing, you can start by using your fingers until they get used to it.

Brushing your cat's teeth at least a few times a week is recommended. It is also important to take your cat for a dental check-up once a year to clean any hard-to-reach plaque and tartar and detect any potential dental issues early on.

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 Madison vets today to book an examination.

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