Bad breath (otherwise known as halitosis) in your cat can be caused by a variety of health problems. If the odour of your cat’s breath is very strong or unpleasant you should talk to your vet about the possible cause and how to treat it.
What causes’s the smell?
The most common cause of halitosis is the presence of malodorous bacteria in the cat’s mouth. This is usually due to build up of plaque and tartar on teeth leading to infection and inflammation of the gums known as periodontal disease. Thisallows bacteria to naturally build up causing the unpleasant smell to develop.
All cat breeds are susceptible to periodontal disease but some purebreds do appear to be particularly predisposed. Brachycephalic breeds such as Persians, Chinchillas and British and Exotic Shorthairs (characterised by short noses and flat faces) often have overcrowded and misaligned teeth due to their small jaws. This predisposes them to periodontal disease and subsequent halitosis.
Persistent bad breath can also indicate other underlying medical problems such as kidney disease, respiratory conditions or gastrointestinal and liver complaints. Ask your vet for advice if you are concerned.
Managing your cat’s bad breath
If your cat has bad breath your first port of call should be your vet who will make sure there are no underlying medical conditions responsible for the halitosis. If your cat’s mouth is the cause, your vet will probably recommend that her teeth are scaled and polished professionally. This will be done under general anaesthesia. Once the teeth are fully clean and any gum disease is treated you can help prevent the problem recurring by caring for her teeth at home. Without a daily homecare routine, the benefits of dental treatment will only last a few weeks. The good news is that looking after your cat’s teeth at home can be simple and involves just two elements:
- 1. A teeth cleaning routine: The most important way of keeping your cat’s teeth and gums healthy and her breath more pleasant is to brush her teeth on a daily basis using a special cat toothbrush and toothpaste. Meat- flavoured toothpaste is available which your cat will love! Never use human toothpaste as this can be toxic to cats. Your vet or veterinary nurse will show you how to do this.
- 2. A change of diet: Whilst daily tooth brushing is the best way to help prevent plaque and tartar build- up, there are other ways of helping maintain your cat’s oral health. Talk to your vet about feeding a diet that is designed to help keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy.PRO PLAN® Dental Plus is not only scientifically proven to help reduce tartar build- up but also helps reduce bad breath in cats.
Many people assume that bad breath in cats, especially those over a certain age, is inevitable- but that’s not true. By supporting your cat’s oral health you can not only make your life together more pleasurable but you can also help prevent potentially serious medical disease- and that can only be a good thing for you both!