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Why Does My Cat Breath Smell Bad?

Have you noticed that your cat's breath smells bad? While occasional bad breath in cats can be normal, persistent or severe bad breath might indicate an underlying health issue. Understanding the common reasons for bad cat breath and how to address them can help keep your feline friend healthy and happy.

Reasons Why Your Cat's Breath Smells Bad

While we commonly associate bad breath in pets with dogs, it can also occur in cats. A cat's breath can smell bad for various reasons, including poor oral hygiene, dental issues, or serious health conditions. Taking your cat to the vet for a dental checkup is crucial to determine the cause of this unpleasant odor.

Oral Hygiene & Dental Disease in Cats

Inattentive oral hygiene can lead to tartar and plaque buildup on the teeth, eventually leading to dental disease. A common symptom of dental disease is bad breath, which is caused by bacteria buildup in the cat's mouth.

If any of these symptoms accompanies your cat's bad breath, there is a chance they are suffering from a dental disease:

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

A dental disease can only be diagnosed by bringing your cat in to have your vet perform an oral exam. If you notice any of the above symptoms in your feline friend, contact your vet for an appointment right away.

Common Reasons for Bad Cat Breath

Other bodily conditions can cause bad breath and also symptoms of oral disease.  These different conditions include:

  • Dental disease is the most common cause of bad breath in cats. Plaque and tartar buildup can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease, making your cat's breath smell bad. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are essential for preventing dental issues.
  • Sometimes, what your cat eats can cause its breath to smell. Certain foods, especially those with strong odors, can contribute to bad breath. Cats with access to garbage or spoiled food may also develop foul-smelling breath.
  • Oral infections in the mouth, such as abscesses or stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth lining), can cause a cat's breath to smell bad. These infections often result from untreated dental issues or injuries.
  • Kidney disease can cause a buildup of toxins in the blood, leading to a condition called uremia, which can make your cat's breath smell like ammonia or urine. If you suspect your cat has kidney disease, it's crucial to seek veterinary care immediately.
  • Diabetes can develop a sweet or fruity-smelling breath due to ketoacidosis, a severe condition resulting from uncontrolled blood sugar levels. If your cat has bad breath, increased thirst, urination, or weight loss, consult your vet.
  • Liver disease can lead to a buildup of toxins in the blood, causing a foul odor in your cat's breath. Symptoms can include yellowing of the eyes and gums, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

How to Get Rid of Cat Bad Breath

Addressing the cause of your cat's bad breath is key to eliminating it. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Brush your cat's teeth regularly with a cat-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup. It's also crucial to schedule regular dental check-ups with your vet.
  • A balanced diet and avoiding giving pets human food can contribute to bad breath. Consider a diet that promotes dental health, which can help reduce plaque and tartar.
  • Ensure your cat drinks plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which can cause dry mouth and bad breath. Offer fresh water daily, and consider using a pet fountain to encourage drinking.
  • Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for monitoring your cat's overall health. Your veterinarian can identify and address any underlying health issues causing bad breath.
  • Various products, such as dental chews, water additives, and oral sprays, help maintain your cat's oral hygiene and freshen its breath.

Cat Bad Breath Treatment

If your cat has bad breath, it's important to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Depending on the underlying cause, treatment may include professional dental cleaning, antibiotics for infections, or specific treatments for conditions like kidney or liver disease.

By understanding why your cat's breath smells bad and taking appropriate measures to address it, you can ensure your feline friend remains healthy and happy. Regular dental care, a healthy diet, and routine vet check-ups are vital to maintaining your cat's overall well-being and fresh breath.

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.

Have you noticed exceptionally bad breath in your cat? Contact our Tracy vets today!

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