Cat Bad Breath

Cat Bad Breath

Cat bad breath is commonly due to problems involving the teeth and gums. Cats develop plaque (the mucous film that appears if you don’t brush your teeth), just as humans do. Since very few owners brush their pets’ teeth, the plaque hardens into a brownish material called tartar or calculus. The tartar that you don’t see (under the gum) loosens the delicate membranes that hold the teeth in their sockets, and infections develop around the receding gums and teeth. This is called periodontal disease, and it is not easily missed by the owner: the odor is quite powerful, the tartar is prominent on the canine teeth and molars, and the gums are red and swollen. In addition, your cat may drool or have trouble chewing.

Tumors and overgrowth of gum tissue will also cause a foul mouth odor. The cat needs veterinary care. A very sweet mouth odor combined with lethargy and increased water intake, urination, and appetite may indicate diabetes. See your doctor and take a urine sample to be checked for sugar. Kidney disease may also produce bad breath.

Cats rarely need to have a cavity filled, because they don’t get cavities very often.

Cats with chronic mouth infections and gum inflammation should be tested for leukemia and FTLV (AIDS-like) viruses.

Cat Bad Breath Home Remedies

Don’t worry if your kitten is only a few months old and has garlic breath; this is normal. It is caused by certain good bacteria that live in the mouth. In a few months, this odor will disappear.

Prevention of periodontal disease is important since chronic mouth infections constantly spread bacteria and toxins to the kidneys and other organs. In time, this takes its stool on your pet. If the tartar is just forming, scrape it off with your fingernail, but keep in mind that the culprit is the tartar that you don’t see, under the gum.

Cat Bad Breath Treatment

If the mouth odor is caused by dental tartar and gun inflammation, a teeth cleaning (and possibly an extraction) is necessary. Very few cats will tolerate their teeth being scraped by the special instrument called a tartar scraper – and no cats will tolerate the ultrasonic teeth cleaners while they are awake, so sedatives or anesthesia are necessary. If your cat is middle-aged or older, your doctor may perform a blood test to check the health of the kidneys before using a sedative or anesthesia.

The heart will be monitored before, during, and after the teeth cleaning.

If teeth need to be extracted or if the teeth and gums are very unhealthy, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Since the bacteria can spread through the bloodstream, antibiotics will prevent an infection from developing in the mouth or some distant organ (the liver or kidneys, for instance). They may be started a few days before the teeth cleaning.


The time to prevent future dental problems is before tartar forms, or after your doctor cleans the teeth. Cleaning your cat’s teeth at least twice weekly with a children’s toothbrush or a gauze pad is the ideal way of increasing the interval between professional teeth cleanings. Most cats don’t like the foaming and fizzing of human toothpaste, so use salt water or bicarbonate of soda solution to clean the outer surface of the gums and teeth. The inner surface collects tartar much more slowly, and since most pets resist having this area cleaned, don’t bother trying. It is best to start this routine when your pet is a kitten. Handle your cat firmly but gently. You can clean the outside of the teeth rapidly, in about thirty seconds.

Set up a regular teeth cleaning schedule with your veterinarian and have him or her send you a reminder card. Some cats need teeth cleaning every six months; others can go a year or two between cleanings.

See more: Cat Diarrhoea

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