The pain caused by oral health issues can make your cat's life miserable, and make it difficult for them to eat. Today our West Chester vets share some of the best ways to keep your cat's teeth clean and healthy.
Ways to Keep Kitty's Teeth Clean
Cats are stoic creatures that are very good at hiding physical pain. Your cat may be suffering from painful oral health issues without showing any outward signs or symptoms. That’s why pet parents need to be diligent about caring for their pet's oral health and keeping their furry companion’s teeth clean. By cleaning and monitoring the health of your cat's teeth regularly any oral health issues that develop can be caught early, helping to avoid pain and expensive treatments.
Annual Dental Checkups For Your Feline Friend
Our vets recommend that you make regular dental checkups part of your kitty's annual wellness exam. When your cat has a dental checkup, your vet will evaluate your pet’s oral health in addition to their overall physical health and let you know if your feline friend needs a professional veterinary dental cleaning or surgery to help restore your cat's good health.
A Daily Dental Care Routine For Cats
A daily dental care routine can help to ensure that your cat's teeth stay as clean and healthy as possible. To help make at-home dental cleaning as easy and low-stress as possible for your cat, it's a good idea to establish a routine while they are young. That way your kitty will be used to having their teeth brushed.
The goal is to make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free and easy part of your daily routine, and kitty's. Begin by waiting until your cat is calm and relaxed, then follow these steps:
- Gently lift her lips, then simply use your finger to massage her teeth and gums for a few seconds.
- Keep your expectations minimal at first - you might only reach one or two teeth the first few times you try this, that's ok. Stop before Kitty gets too agitated.
- Remain calm and be sure to give lots of praise and a yummy treat after your teeth-and-gum massage. You're trying to build your cat’s tolerance to the experience, gradually increasing the length of time you spend on the task each day.
- Once your cat is used to having you massage her teeth and gums each day, you can gradually begin introducing a soft-bristled toothbrush from the vet and cat-specific toothpaste. Cat toothpaste comes in a range of feline-friendly flavors, such as beef or chicken.
- Begin using the toothbrush as gradually as you did the teeth-and-gum massage; your cat may begin with licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger.
Every cat is different and how well you will be able to brush your cat's teeth will depend on your kitty's temperament. It's important to be flexible and adapt the method of brushing you use to your cat's level of tolerance. Some pet parents find it easiest to clean their cat's teeth with a small piece of soft gauze, others find a finger brush works for their kitty. Still others apply dental gel with the toothbrush or a finger and have the gel do the work for them.
When you do start brushing your cat's teeth, move along the gum line, working quickly but stopping before your cat becomes irritated. It could be weeks before your kitty tolerates having all of their teeth cleaned during a single session.
If your cat finds the teeth cleaning process stressful or alarming they may react by scratching or biting. If brushing your cat's teeth is too difficult for you and your kitty you might want to consider adding plaque remover additives into their drinking water, getting them specially designed chew toys or providing your kitty with tasty dental treats.
Beyond your efforts to keep your cat's teeth clean and healthy, they’ll also need a regular professional dental cleaning performed by a qualified veterinarian to keep their teeth in optimal condition.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.