It is not very unusual for cats to have a bad breath. As a matter of fact, 8 out of 10 cats at the age of 3 develop some gum or tooth problem which can be a factor in having a bad breath. Although gum problems are very common, bad breath is not acceptable. The formation of plaque, tartar and periodontal disease are the first sign of bad breath and it is not healthy for your feline friend.
If you think your cat has a bad breath, talk to your vet about it.
Your cat’s breath stink because of the plaque bacteria developed in their teeth. It is usually called as halitosis, a medical term to describe the stinky smell that comes from their mouth. There are different factors why this condition happened. Bacteria that are present in the mouth is also combined with cavities and plaque.
Some small cat breed like the Himalayans and Persians which has a short-nosed feature are commonly prone to halitosis and other periodontal diseases because the teeth are arranged very close to each other.
Causes of Halitosis in Cats
The foul smelly bacteria that developed in your cat’s mouth are likely the cause of halitosis or bad breath. The bacteria and saliva create a plaque the can be mineralized and turn into tartar if not treated earlier. Thus, leading to periodontal disease or infection especially in the surrounding areas in the teeth.
The signs that your feline has a dental problem that should be treated immediately are an enormous amount of tartar in a brownish color, drooling, difficulty eating, chewing in one-sided of the mouth and inflamed gums.
There are foods that can contribute to halitosis such as fish or liver type ingredients causing the mouth to have an odor. The cat may also accidental ingested something which is made or rubber bands resulting to a blockage in the mouth due to these particles. The dietary issue is easily manageable. All you need to do is change the diet.
Stomatitis and Gingivitis
The inflammation of the gums is called the gingivitis while the inflammation of the mucous linings in the mouth is known as the stomatitis. Cats are at risk of developing both conditions usually because of the dental problems. Although there are times that it is due to viruses, bacteria and allergens. Your vet may suggest some further testing to see for any possible infections like the Calicivirus or the FIV.
Bad breath is sometimes caused by a poor oral hygiene. It can be a red flag if the bad breath is due to a more serious health problem like kidney disease especially in older cats. A formed toxin in the blood can also be a contributing factor, as the kidney may be unable to remove toxins in the body properly anymore. Other factors which cause halitosis include liver problem and diabetes. If you have these kind concerns, it is best to have a visit on your vet to check their overall wellness.
Signs and Symptoms to Watch for?
- Swollen or reddish gums
- Citrus or sweet-smelling breath
- Excessive thirst
- Weight loss
- Breath with an ammonia-like smell
- Difficulty eating
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen in the abdomen
- Yellowish discolor of the sclera or the gums
- Frequent pawing in the mouth area
- Difficulty opening or closing of the mouth
If your cat shows any these signs and symptoms, talk to your vet for the proper diagnoses.
How to Treat Halitosis
The very first thing you need to do if you notice that your cat has a possible bad breath is to schedule an appointment with your vet. There are many factors that cause the symptoms, you will save a lot of effort, time and money by allowing your vet to give the right diagnosis and follow the suggested treatment plan. If your feline friend has a serious health problem, you’ll be able to help improve their health.
How to Prevent Bad Breath in Cats
The best way to deal with this problem is to treat the condition before it gets worst. Oral hygiene can be treated by keeping your cat’s teeth clean all the time and just like what we do, the best way to prevent halitosis is by brushing their teeth. It helps to remove the plaque easily before it builds up on the teeth. By brushing their teeth, inflammation of the gum may be prevented.
There are cats that will allow you to brush their teeth especially if they are used to this process. Ask your vet about the right toothbrush and toothpaste to use. It is important not to use any human product for them. If you do so, they will response badly in the effect of the ingredients and may have digestion problem.
Start training while they are young, let them taste the toothpaste using your finger. Once they are happy with it, start holding their lip as they lick the product. If they seem to be comfortable, begin touching their teeth and brush it. After the process, give them a treat as a reward.
Do this repeatedly for the meantime, it is important that they get used to it until they are completely comfortable with the process.
However, if you can’t brush your feline’s teeth, you can still keep their oral hygiene healthy by using products like oral gels. Dental chews are also good to keeping their teeth clean as it can remove the plaque away during the chewing process while enjoying the treat at the same time. Ask your vet about it.