Although you may love your kitty companion, you probably don’t love its breath. While there is scientific evidence that links pet ownership to potential health benefits, it’s still difficult to love your cat unconditionally when it is breathing terrible breath in your face.
Luckily, freshening your cat’s breath naturally is easy with a few simple tricks. Read on to find out more!
What Causes Cat Bad Breath?
Bad breath, also known as Halitosis, can be caused by a variety of factors, but is most commonly the result of a build-up of odor-producing bacteria in your cat’s mouth. Some cat breeds may be naturally prone to plaque and tartar, and it is also common in older cats. Diet and/or dermatological issues may also affect your cat’s breath.
However, persistent bad breath can also indicate more serious medical issues such as respiratory issues, gastrointestinal or liver issues, or abnormalities in the mouth. If your cat displays any of the following symptoms, he or she likely needs to see the vet.
- Excessive brownish tartar on the teeth, accompanied by drooling, difficulty eating, and inflamed (red) gums.
- Unusually sweet or “fruity” breath (may indicate blood sugar issues, especially if it your cat has been urinating and drinking more than normal).
- Breath that smells like urine (may indicate kidney issues).
- Unusually bad breath along with vomiting, lack of appetite, and yellow-tinged corneas/gums (may indicate liver issues).
- Pawing at the mouth.
If your pet seems to just have normal cat bad breath, here are a few easy ways to freshen your cat’s breath naturally. Remember, cat preferences and personalities are all unique, so all these ideas may not work for your pet.
Brush Their Teeth
Like humans, cats can potentially benefit from regular teeth cleaning. When cleaning your cat’s teeth, make sure you don’t use a toothpaste made for humans; instead, choose a formula made especially for pets. Avoid meat-flavored toothpastes, as these can make your cat’s breath worse! While you can use a child’s toothbrush to brush your cat’s teeth, there are also special brushes designed for use on cat’s teeth. If your cat truly hates having its teeth brushed, you can also use a spray or gel to support dental health.
Lemon juice contains citric acid, which may work to combat mouth odors and protect cat teeth from plaque build up. Simply add 2-3 drops of lemon juice (not lemon essential oil) to ½ cup water and allow your cat to drink the solution once a week to offer support for cat bad breath. Note that this may not work on all cats, as some cats dislike the taste of lemon.
High Quality Food
The food your cat eats may have a direct effect on the way his or her breath smells. If you feed your feline friend a low-quality pet food, it may contain a number of ingredients that cause bad breath. While there are a number of debates over whether dry or wet food causes more bad breath, you should always look for a food made with real ingredients that is high in protein and free of additives.
Carrots and Brown Rice
As odd as it sounds, both carrots and brown rice may support fresher breath for your cat. When chewed, carrots work to remove plaque from between the teeth and supports healthy saliva production. Brown rice may work to support a healthy digestion and support fresh breath. However, you should only feed your cat very small amounts of these foods, and they should not be a regular part of your cat’s diet.
Regular Vet Visits
Although this may seem like a no-brainer, taking your pet to get regular checkups is critical for its overall health. You vet will also be able to tell you whether your cat’s bad breath is normal, or if it requires extra attention.
Does your cat have bad breath? What tricks have you tried for cat bad breath? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, or you can tag us a picture of your cat on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!