Quick Tips: Bad Breath

Does your cat have bad breath? Examining your cat's mouth can reveal the cause.

CatGingivitis and calculus are likely causes of bad breath in cats. Look at your cat’s upper teeth by gently pulling back its lips, but avoid forcing its jaws open. Examine the upper canines (the sharp, pointed teeth in the front corners) and the upper-back molars (the large teeth toward the back of the mouth). If the gums above the teeth are red and the teeth are covered with brownish plaque, your cat may have gingivitis and calculus.

If your cat will let you, brush its upper teeth with a moistened gauze pad and baking soda, or purchase a cat toothbrush and commercial cat toothpaste. Brush at least twice weekly. Ask your veterinarian if your cat needs professional dental prophylaxis (ultrasonic scaling and polishing). This procedure is performed in a veterinary hospital while under general anesthesia. Afterward, you can maintain your cat’s health by brushing its teeth regularly.

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