Just like humans, cats can suffer from painful dental problems due to injury or poor oral hygiene. But what is good oral hygiene for cats, and what kind of dental care do cats need? Our vets in Douglasville explain how to clean your cat's mouth and keep its teeth healthy.
Your Cat's Dental Health
They're stoic creatures who know perfectly well how to hide their pain. They can suffer from a painful oral health problem without ever letting on that they're uncomfortable. That's why owners must pay close attention to their feline companion's oral health and ensure his teeth stay clean. By regularly monitoring and cleaning their teeth, owners can detect any oral health problems early and help their cats avoid pain and costly treatment.
Caring For Your Cat's Teeth At Home
Maintaining a daily dental hygiene routine for your cat can help keep your feline friend's teeth and gums healthy for life. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, start implementing a daily oral hygiene routine for your cat while he's still a kitten. This will get him used to brushing his teeth and touching his mouth from an early age.
Make brushing your cat's teeth part of her daily routine without stress or difficulty. Start by waiting until your cat is calm and relaxed, then follow these tips.
- 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 you 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 by licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger.
Be Patient While Your Cat Gets Used Teeth Cleaning
The success of your cat's teeth cleaning depends largely on its temperament. Make sure you're calm, relaxed, flexible, and ready to adapt your approach to your cat's tolerance level. Many cat owners find it very easy to clean their pet's teeth with gauze, others find that a finger brush works well, and still, others apply the dental gel with their fingers, allowing them to do the work for them.
When you finally start brushing your cat's teeth successfully, move along the gum line, working quickly but stopping before your cat becomes irritated. It can take weeks for your cat to tolerate cleaning all its teeth in a single session.
If your cat is stressed or alarmed by the teeth-cleaning process, it may react by scratching or biting. If brushing your cat's teeth is too difficult for you and your kitty, consider adding anti-plaque additives to her drinking water, offering her specially designed chew toys, or giving her tasty dental treats.
Annual Dental Exams For Cats
To keep your cat's mouth healthy and pain-free, our veterinarians recommend annual professional dental care as part of your cat's preventive care routine. Taking your cat for a dental appointment is like a visit to the cat dentist. Your veterinarian will assess your cat's oral health, take x-rays if necessary, and perform a thorough cleaning. If your cat is suffering from a mouth lesion, tooth loss, or severe decay, your dentist will give you recommendations for the care or surgery needed to treat your cat's oral health problems.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.