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How to get rid of a cat's bad breath

Updated November 21, 2016

Aside from tuna breath right after a meal, halitosis is not normal for cats. While bad breath can be a sign of a serious health problem, including diabetes, stomatitis, kidney disease, a tumour in the mouth or lung disease, its most common cause is periodontal disease. Treating the underlying condition will get rid of the cat's halitosis. If the cause is gum disease, home remedies can also cure your cat's bad breath.

Make a vet appointment. It's important to know the cause of your cat's bad breath and begin treatment.

Brush your cat's teeth. Regular brushing will get rid of the tartar and plaque that are a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause bad breath. If your cat won't accept a toothbrush, use a finger toothbrush or a dental pad or sponge.

Feed your cat a meat-based diet. Meat "helps maintain a healthy mouth environment" that discourages infection and bad breath, according to veterinarian Jean Hofve. Check the ingredients in your cat's food. Most brands of dry food contain more grain-based protein than meat.

Offer raw chicken necks or wings to your cat. Chewing the bones massages the cat's teeth and gums and removes food residue and tartar, says veterinarian Bruce Syme on the website Vetsallnatural.com.au. Unlike cooked bones, raw bones do not splinter and are not a choking hazard. Chewing large chunks of raw beef can also clean the cat's teeth.

Add an oral hygiene product to the cat's water to help reduce the formation of tartar and plaque. Most veterinarians and pet supply stores sell oral hygiene products.

Give your cat breath mints. Available at pet supply stores, these "mints" taste like liver, chicken or fish but contain chlorophyll to freshen the breath.

Plant wheat grass. Most cats love to nibble wheat grass, and the chlorophyll will freshen your cat's breath. If your cat's not used to eating grass, break some into small pieces and sprinkle them on the cat's food.

Tip

Use a toothbrush designed for cats. Its soft bristles and special shape will make brushing the cat's teeth easier and more pleasant for both of you.

Warning

Never brush your cat's teeth with human toothpaste. The ingredients could cause stomach upset.

Things You'll Need

  • Toothbrush for cats or a dental pad or sponge
  • Toothpaste for cats
  • Meat-based cat food
  • Raw chicken necks or wings or large chunks of raw beef
  • Oral hygiene product for cats
  • Kitty breath mints
  • Cat grass
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