Have you ever noticed bad breath coming from your cat? Do you find yourself worrying about what this might mean for your pet? Bad breath isn’t always a sign of something serious, but it can be. For this reason, it’s important to try to get to the bottom of the underlying cause.
Read through the information below to find out more about what could be contributing to your cat’s bad breath. With the help of this guidance, you can figure out when your cat’s breath issues may be benign and when you might need to schedule a vet visit, too.
Watch What Your Cat Eats
If your cat is a fan of getting into the garbage can and eating old food and leftovers he finds there, there is a good possibility that this behavior is the cause of his bad breath. Additionally, if he’s been eating low-quality food or treats, these could be the culprits.
Consider your cat’s diet and think about whether the food and treats he’s eating could have an impact on the smell of his breath. If not, then there may be other issues at play.
Check Your Cat’s Mouth
Look at your cat’s gums, tongue, and teeth if he will let you. Check for signs that he might have an injury, cut, ulcer, or damaged tooth. If you spot something like this, then you may have found the cause of the bad breath.
Most of the time, bad breath in cats is caused by dental or gum damage, disease, or ulcers. If you do notice these issues in your cat, you’ll need to take him to the veterinarian for the right treatment.
Consider the Smell of the Breath
Think about the way your cat’s breath smells. Is it just foul, or is there is a sickening sweetness to it? Does it smell like urine or feces at all? Does it smell like his food, or like something he has eaten recently?
If your cat’s breath smells like food, his food is probably the cause. If it smells generally bad, the cause may be dental disease. Sweet breath may indicate diabetes, while breath that smells like urine could indicate kidney failure or liver failure. Finally, breath that smells like feces may mean your cat has an intestinal blockage.
Try Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth
If you can brush your cat’s teeth, this is a good step to take. You will probably need to slowly introduce your cat to the idea of having his teeth brushed and work your way up to brushing his whole mouth, unless you have already gone through this process with him in the past. If you brush your cat’s teeth and the smell goes away for a long while, then it was probably caused simply by something he ate.
If your cat has a visible cut, injury, or ulcer on his gums or a visibly damaged tooth, however, it’s best to take him to the vet before you brush his teeth.
Consider Dental Treats
Dental treats may work the same way brushing your cat’s teeth can work. You can give them to your cat to see if the smell of his bad breath goes away, and if so, you can rule out any long-term issues like kidney failure or diabetes.
Don’t give dental treats too often, however, as your cat doesn’t need more than a few per week in most instances. Additionally, if your cat’s bad breath doesn’t clear up after a few rounds of dental treats, know that you will need to proceed with taking him to the vet.
Go to the Vet
If all else fails, or if you can’t figure out the underlying cause of your cat’s bad breath, don’t wait to take him to the veterinarian. His bad breath could be relatively harmless, or it could be an indicator of organ failure or diabetes in the early stages.
Your vet will do bloodwork and perform other tests to find out what’s causing your cat’s bad breath. From there, the vet will recommend treatment and management options to help deal with the underlying cause as well as the symptom of bad breath.
By paying close attention to the potential underlying causes of bad breath in your cat, you can determine when this problem might be something serious and when it’s nothing to worry about. Of course, working with a trusted vet is crucial when it comes to your cat’s dental health, just as it is in all other parts of your cat’s wellness needs.
If you have any further questions or concerns, be sure to schedule a vet visit at Gray Animal Hospital by calling (224) 304-0668 or using the online form. Bad breath doesn’t warrant a trip to the emergency vet, but it may mean your cat needs to see his regular vet sooner rather than later.