Have you noticed that your cat has some seriously bad breath lately? While this may seem like a minor issue the truth is that it can actually be a sign of something quite serious. In this article, we’ll be talking about why your cat’s breath stinks and what this means for their health.
Why does my cat’s breath stink?
Q: Why does my cat’s breath stink? Much like humans, severe cases of bad breath in cats are often due to excessive amounts of bacteria in the mouth. While the sticky cat breath is the first symptom, there’s a lot more going on here than death breath.
Severe cases of bad breath are often a warning sign of a much more serious issue like gum disease. Advanced gum diseases can result in the loss of teeth, and that means that your kitty’s bad breath could soon become a very serious problem.
Have you checked out your kitty’s chompers? It’s possible that they may already be losing some teeth. However, in many cases the damage caused by dental disease is below the gum line and you may not even be able to see it until things start getting bad for your furry friend.
How do you get rid of your cat’s bad breath?
While most cat parents are not thrilled with the idea, the only way to combat this issue is to adopt a better oral hygiene routine for your cat. This means brushing their teeth on the regular and possibly also taking them to the vet for an annual teeth cleaning procedure.
Brushing your cat’s teeth is not as bad as it sounds, and in many cases your cat will get used to the idea, eventually. Especially since most oral hygiene products for cats are actually flavored with things they like. Just remember that baby steps are key and the experience can be pleasant for everyone.
However, you should first try to do a visual inspection of your cat’s mouth. If you see lots of yellowing on their teeth, then this is likely plaque deposits. You can easily get rid of this with regular brushing yourself at home in just a few quick sessions every week.
If you see harder deposits on your cat’s teeth then this tartar. This is what plaque eventually turns into once it has been in their mouth for too long. Just like how it happens to humans.
You won’t be able to get rid of this yourself, and you’ll need to schedule a vet appointment to have them look at your cat’s teeth. They’ll know how best to handle it and can remove it by putting your cat under for the procedure and then scraping off these deposits using special dental tools.
The cost for this is generally somewhere in the $200-$300 range, but prices vary greatly for different vets and for the different areas around the country. However, if you have pet insurance, some of them do actual cover dental cleanings. A pet insurance policy can also be a great thing to have if your pet needs a costly tooth extraction down the line.
What if my cat is already losing teeth?
If your cat has already started to lose their teeth, then it’s possible that they have advanced periodontal disease. While you should, of course, establish an at home routine to take care of their teeth, you should also go to the vet sooner rather than later.
Your cat could need expert help that you simply can’t provide at this advanced stage. Talk to your veterinarian about your cat’s dental health to help save their remaining teeth and keep their quality of life.
Cat’s with tooth issues may refuse to eat due to the pain of having bad teeth. If that’s the case then you may want to consider finding a food for them that’s easier to eat, particularly if they already have a low appetite. Even small amounts of weight loss can be dangerous for cats.
How to brush your cat’s teeth
Step 1: Get your cat used to you touching his or her mouth
If your cat has never had his or her teeth brushed before then you might want to start with getting them used to having you touch their mouth. You can do this while you’re petting them and rubbing their face.
Gently use your fingers to lift their lips a bit and see how they react. You can also try rubbing your fingers on their teeth. The idea is to make it so they don’t freak out when they see the tooth brush coming.
If all goes well then proceed to step two. If things don’t go so well then slow down and wait for them to be comfortable with this phase before you proceed any further and spook them.
Step 2: Try rubbing some cat toothpaste on their teeth
Make sure that you purchase a cat specific tooth paste. These products are safe for your cat to swallow. Humans toothpaste is not and you should not use it on them. The cat tooth paste also has the benefit of coming in feline friendly flavors which will make the experience more pleasant for them. Just try rubbing it on their teeth to get them used to the sensation.
Step 3: It’s time to start brushing
There are many different cat tooth brushes available for this purchase. They’re smaller and fit into your cat’s mouth easily. Some are actual brushes, but others go on the end of your finger. It’s up to you to decide which is best.
Use a little tooth paste and then gently rub your cat’s teeth. Make sure that you’re not being too rough on their gums or they will come to fear this activity, making it a greater chore.
Cat tooth paste is edible, unlike human tooth paste, so you don’t have to worry about trying to rinse their mouth. All you’re trying to do is scrub off the deposits before they turn into tartar.
Step 4: Consider a water additive to help them between brushings
Using a dental additive in your pet’s water can help to control their bad breath and fight off bacteria between brushing. Some pet parents choose to only use this, but brushing will get the most plaque off and be the best for your cat’s teeth. We’d recommend this as an addition to their total oral care plan.
How often should I brush my cat’s teeth?
For best results you should brush your cat’s teeth a few times per week. Any less and you’ll be allowing too much time for the plaque build up to occur. Remember to praise your cat, pet them and possibly offer them a treat afterwards to make the experience less like a punishment.