Frustrated with cat bad breath? Whilst a minty fresh breath is desirable in cats, the reality is stinky breath happens. However, a persistent foul-smelling breath may be a sign of an underlying health problem. In our previous blog, we have listed ways to address bad dog smell; this time, we will delve into feline oral hygiene.
What is cat bad breath?
‘A healthy cat’s breath should not be offensive,’ cited Eric Davis, director of Dental Referral Service at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.Halitosis is the medical term to describe the foetid odour that comes from your cat’s mouth. This is a medical condition that can signify an underlying disease, most likely a periodontal disease.
Halitosis is caused by the build-up of bacteria in the mouth as a result of plaque and gum disease. Be extra careful with small cat breeds and brachycephalic breeds such as Persians, exotic shorthairs, and Himalayans. They are prone to the disease due to their teeth placement which is set close together.
Causes of cat bad breath
Having your cat examined by the vet is the safest way to diagnose the cat’s condition. The veterinary surgeon will physically evaluate your cat to determine the cause. Further tests may be required if the physical exam is inconclusive. The following are the possible causes:
- Periodontal disease
- Poor diet intake
- Lack of oral hygiene
- Inflammation of the throat or tonsils
- Foreign object intake
- Metabolic disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
- Respiratory complications, which include nose or nasal (rhinitis) inflammation, sinuses inflammation (sinusitis), and gastrointestinal problems
- Infections (bacterial or fungal)
Take note of the red flags:
- If the breath smells fruity and sweet, this may be an indication of diabetes. Watch out for other symptoms such as weight loss and urination.
- If the odour is extremely foul, this may be an indication of liver disease. Other symptoms include vomiting and a yellowish tint on the corneas.
Dental hygiene tips on cats
Details below cover home remedies to treat bad breath and to prevent diseases of the mouth.
Ask recommendations from your vet on the type and brand of toothbrush and toothpaste to use for your cat. Remember not to use toothpaste for humans as it contains fluoride which may cause severe sickness when ingested. Toothbrushes should have soft bristles designed for sharp and jagged teeth.The taste of the ‘kitty toothpaste’ should be gradually introduced to your cat. Place your feline on your lap, gently cup her chin, and lift up his upper lip to start brushing her teeth.
Stimulate your cat’s gums
Occasional massage of your cat’s gums helps maintain oral health. Remember that gums should be pink in colour without any red spots that signify inflammation or irritation.
There are dental care products specially designed for cats. For instance, there are chew toys and treats that keep teeth and gums strong and healthy. Provide her with chew toys that:
- Floss the teeth
- Massage the gums
- Remove tartar build-up
These products disinfect the mouth and help improve oral hygiene. They remove bacteria, thereby reducing the chances of bacterial infection which causes stinky breath.
Schedule yearly check-up with your vet
Regular check-ups can prevent the onset of cavities and gum disease. The vet can also diagnose mouth diseases before they become serious.
Cat bad breath water additive
Give your little feline water additives that help reduce tartar, plaque, and bad breath in cats. You only need to mix the additive to the water and let the cat drink the mixture.
Dietary solutions that help get rid of cat bad breath
It is believed that dry food cleans the cat’s teeth. However, new studies have revealed that dry cat foods are high in carbohydrates which accumulate on the teeth and can cause dental disease and bad breath.
Coconut oil is not recommended to supplement a cat’s diet, but it can be used to keep the cat’s breath fresh because the oil has antibacterial properties. A dab on the toothbrush is enough as a preventive measure.
Raw meaty bones can be used as chew toys that your cat will definitely enjoy. They wipe off any food residue when your feline gnaws and shears the bones.
This video shows how beneficial bones are to your feline’s teeth:
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