So, you’re having a nice cuddle with your fur baby—purrs and all—when she opens her mouth up wide for a long, deep yawn. If this happens and you get a whiff of a fetid odor that makes you want to run for the hills, then it’s possible that your cat suffers from halitosis instead of just plain old kitty breath.
Halitosis (more commonly known as bad breath) can be caused by a variety of health problems that should be investigated by your veterinarian, especially if the bad cat breath persists. “There are many reasons why a cat may have bad breath, including dental disease or diseases of the mouth and other organs,” says Jennifer Maniet, DVM, staff veterinarian at Petplan pet insurance.
According to Dr. Jess Trimble, DVM, veterinarian at Fuzzy Pet Health in San Francisco, CA, “The easiest to fix—and most common reason[s] behind bad breath—are bacteria on the teeth and dental disease.” If your cat suffers from simple bacterial buildup on the teeth, this can be fixed with at-home treatments. “Use of dental chews, toothbrushes and water additives on a daily basis can help decrease the amount of bacteria in the mouth,” Dr. Trimble says. She advises providing dental care at least three times weekly.
Dental Treats. Dental cat treats are a great way to freshen your kitty’s breath while keeping her happy. Feline Greenies Dental Cat Treats offer complete nutrition in an all-natural, low-calorie formula. Feline Greenies are designed to clean your cat’s teeth with mechanical abrasion from the unique, crunchy texture, so your pet will be reducing tartar buildup with every bite. Your cat can snack happily on Purina Pro Plan Dental Snacks that come in mouthwatering scallop and lobster flavors and help maintain clean cat teeth and fresh breath. The highly palatable recipe is also high in protein and omega-6 fatty acids for maximum health benefits.
Powder Supplements. Maintain your pet’s periodontal health in between scheduled cleanings with VertiScience Perio Support Powder. This unique formula helps control plaque formation, supports gum health, and helps restore microbial balance in the mouth. Just sprinkle in your pet’s normal meals regularly to maintain clean cat teeth and fresh breath.
Water Additives. Preserve your pet’s dental health easily and conveniently with the “world’s first toothbrush in a bottle”: Dental Fresh Original Formula Water Additive. This effective formula eliminates germs in the mouth and activates anytime bacteria is present. It provides six oral health benefits when added to the water dish, plus it’s tasteless, colorless and odorless, so it won’t disrupt your pet’s normal drinking habits.
Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Liquid Breath Freshener is made with Denta-C that is scientifically proven to reduce plaque, and peppermint oil to help keep breath minty fresh. This recipe is also specifically formulated to alter the pH levels in both dog and cat saliva to curtail offensive odors. You only need 1 tablespoon of breath freshener for every 8 ounces of drinking water to make your kitty’s mouth smell nice and fresh.
It is essential to maintain your pet’s dental health in between scheduled cleanings so you can successfully prevent disease. “When bacteria build up too long, they cause decay of the tooth and serious gum disease,” says Dr. Trimble. “This requires a dental cleaning and sometimes extractions of teeth to cure.” She explains that this is a common issue with pets, and that many will undergo this in their lifetime. Post-procedure, it is imperative that steps are taken to maintain proper dental care to prevent tooth decay or disease from happening as frequently.
Other causes of bad breath include oral cancers, kidney disease, liver disease, infections, diabetes and intestinal parasites, which your veterinarian can test for. “A little bad breath isn’t a bad thing—your cat will have bad breath after eating fish, and that’s ok! Just have your vet check your kitty out to make sure it’s tuna breath and not something more serious,” says Dr. Trimble.