Just like us, our feline companions can also encounter oral health problems. Pet owners must take action in maintaining their cat's dental hygiene. Our vets from Burlington and Bellingham provide some helpful insights on how to establish an effective oral healthcare routine for your beloved furry friend.
Keeping Your Cat's Teeth Clean
As a cat parent, it's crucial to be mindful of your furry friend's oral health. Cats are known for concealing any physical pain or discomfort, which can lead to advanced health issues. Even though cats may hide their pain, they can still develop oral health problems that could negatively impact their overall well-being.
It's essential to take a proactive approach to your cat's dental health by keeping their teeth clean and monitoring any potential issues. By being proactive, you can prevent your cat from experiencing painful oral health problems, or detect and treat minor concerns before they worsen. This approach can also help you avoid costly procedures to address preventable issues.
Annual Dental Checkups to Maintain Feline Dental Health
The next time you schedule your cat's annual veterinary examination, be sure to request that a dental checkup be part of that appointment. This will allow your vet to evaluate your cat's oral health in addition to their overall physical health, and let you know if your kitty requires professional dental cleaning or surgery.
A Daily Dental Care Routine for Your Kitty
It is estimated that more than 70% of cats develop tooth and gum disease by the age of 3 years old. By establishing a daily oral care routine early on, you could help your cat avoid dental issues.
While your cat is still young is the best time to begin establishing a regular tooth brushing routine however, it's a good idea to get the okay from your vet first. Even a sweet young kitten could have oral health issues that need correcting before brushing its teeth.
Brushing Your Cat's Teeth
To ensure that your cat remains calm and relaxed during the toothbrushing process, it is essential to introduce them to a new toothbrushing routine gradually. The following guidelines outline the proper technique for brushing your cat's teeth.
- Gently lift their lips, then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for a few seconds.
- Adjust your expectations - you may only reach one or two teeth the first few times you try this. Stop before your cat gets too annoyed.
- Give lots of praise and a yummy treat after your teeth-and-gum massage. The goal is to build your cat's tolerance to the experience, gradually increasing the length of time you spend on the task.
- Once your kitty has become used to having you massage their teeth and gums regularly, you can gradually introduce a toothbrush and toothpaste designed especially for cats (never use your personal toothpaste, as it contains ingredients that are toxic to animals). Look for pet toothpaste flavors that appeal to cats, such as beef or chicken.
- Start with the brushing 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 (you may even have the opportunity to try a few different flavors to see what your cat likes). Find a brush that has soft bristles made for cats' delicate gums.
While some pet parents successfully clean their cat's teeth using a small piece of soft gauze, others find a finger brush works for their felines. Still, another approach is to apply dental gel to their cat's teeth using a toothbrush or a finger, which allows the gel to do the work for them.
When you do begin brushing your cat's teeth, simply move along the gum line, working quickly but calmly, then stopping before your cat becomes irritated. It's important to note that it may take weeks before your kitty will tolerate having all of their teeth cleaned within a single session.
Alternatives to Brushing
If your cat gets stressed during the brushing process, they might react by scratching, biting, or struggling. If this happens, you can try adding a plaque remover to their drinking water, providing them with specially designed chew toys, or giving them dental treats and food that fights plaque.
Just remember that no matter which method you choose, your cat should still get professional dental cleaning once a year from a qualified veterinarian to maintain their teeth in good health.
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.