Like humans, cats need consistent dental care in order to keep their gums healthy and avoid oral discomfort. Here, our Arlington vets explain some of the best ways you can help keep your cat's mouth clean and healthy.
Cat Dental Care
Cats tend to hide their pain, including tooth and oral pain. This is why preventive care is key to keeping your cat in tip-top shape and their mouth healthy.
By keeping an eye on your cat's teeth and oral health, you may be able to detect health issues early and get your cat treated before emerging issues become more serious (and expensive).
Annual Dental Checkups For Your Feline Family Member
Annual or bi-annual dental visits are key for maintaining your cat's oral health and ensuring that they keep the integrity of their teeth.
Your veterinarian will be able to evaluate your pet's oral health on top of their general physical health and will be able to let you know if any professional cleanings or surgeries will be required in order to restore your cat's good health.
How To Clean Your Cat's Teeth
Your goal should be to make brushing your cat's teeth as stress-less as possible by incorporating it into your cat's daily routines. Start by waiting until your cat is relaxed and calm and then take the following steps:
- Gently lift your cat's lips, then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for just a few seconds.
- Don't expect too much from your cat at first. You may only be able to reach a couple of teeth the first few times your try this process. That's okay though. This is about building trust in your cat to help prevent them from becoming 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 feline friend is used to you massaging their gums each day, you will be able to gradually introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush you can acquire from your vet and some special cat toothpaste. Toothpaste can come in a range of excellent flavors for cats like 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.
The length of time and thoroughness of your cat's brushing will depend on their temperament for the most part. Make sure you remain flexible and adapt your approach to accommodate how tolerant your cat is.
Some cat owners have a very easy time cleaning their feline friend's teeth with gauze, while others find that a finger brush works well. Others may even apply a dental gel with their fingers that can do some of the work for them.
When you finally begin brushing your cat's teeth successfully, 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.
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.