Cuddling with your cat is one great way to relax and bond with your feline friend, but if your cat yawns, you may be in for quite a surprise. If your cat's breath stinks more than normal, it may be time to do something to remedy the situation. Not only is bad breath unpleasant, it could also signify that your cat has a medical condition that needs treatment.
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Start with your veterinarian
If you notice a sudden difference in your cat's bad breath, then it's important to start with a trip to your veterinarian. According to PetMD, while a little odor in your cat's mouth is normal, stronger smells can signal trouble.
Periodontal disease, which results from the buildup of plaque on your cat's teeth, is a common cause of bad breath. If ignored, it will get worse and can lead to tooth loss, bleeding gums, and more. Your vet will schedule a dental appointment, remove the plaque, and identify any teeth that may need to be removed in order to improve your cat's health.
Other potential medical issues that can cause bad breath include diabetes, kidney disease, and some types of cancer. The sooner you know about these issues, the better, so schedule an appointment with your vet to get to the root of your cat's bad breath. Once you know nothing is amiss medically, then you can safely try a cat bad breath home remedy.
Change your cat’s diet
Royal Canin advises that changing your cat's diet can improve her bad breath. Foods containing ingredients like fish or liver can make your cat's breath worse, so if you're feeding her these types of foods, try offering your cat a new flavor to see if there's any improvement.
Whenever you make any change in your cat's diet, do it gradually to avoid causing an upset stomach. If you're changing the brand or formula of food that you're feeding your cat, mix a little bit of the new food with the old. Then, gradually increase the amount of new food while reducing the old food. This ensures your cat's stomach has time to adjust to the new ingredients.
Focus on dental health
Improving your cat's dental health can significantly improve his breath, too. According to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, brushing your cat's teeth daily can improve both his breath and his dental health. Never use toothpaste for humans, but instead use a tooth gel designed specifically for cats.
It will take some time to train your cat to allow you to brush his teeth. Start by putting just a bit of the gel on a front tooth and immediately rewarding your cat with something he likes. Repeat this until your cat tolerates the process, and then start putting the gel on a back tooth. With time and plenty of repetition, your cat should learn to tolerate you gently brushing his teeth.
In addition to brushing your cat's teeth, feed him treats or food formulated for dental health. These products usually have a rough, crunchy surface designed to scrape your cat's teeth clean as he chews.
Use cat breath freshener
You can even use cat breath freshener products to further address cat bad breath. Chewy recommends that you use breath freshener in between your cat's dental appointments to help keep her teeth healthy. Breath fresheners for cats are available commercially and are designed to be added to your cat's drinking water so they're easy to use.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.