Oral health issues can be just as uncomfortable or painful for cats as they are for people. Mouth and tooth pain may even be uncomfortable enough to cause your cat to stop eating. Here, our Torrance vets share some of the best ways for you to keep your cat's teeth healthy and clean.
Caring For Your Kitty's Oral Health
Cats are exceedingly good at hiding their physical pain. Your cat may be suffering from oral health issues without displaying any signs of it at all. Because of this, owners need to be mindful of their cat's oral health and diligent in maintaining their feline friend's clean mouth. By regularly providing routine cleanings and monitoring your cat's oral health, you will be able to detect any oral health issues they are experiencing early, before pain and the expense of veterinary care can become more serious
Annual Dental Checkups For Your Feline Friend
To help make sure that your cat's mouth remains healthy and free of pain, our vets recommend making annual dental checkups a routine part of your cat's preventative care plan. When your cat has a dental checkup, it's like a trip to the dentist. Your vet will be able to evaluate your pet's oral health on top of their overall physical health and well-being. They will also be able to inform you about any cleanings or surgeries that may be able to help to restore your pet's health if they are experiencing issues.
Routine Dental Care For Cats
Daily dental hygiene, in cats just like in people, can help to ensure that your companion's teeth and gums remain clean and healthy. To help make the process of at-home tooth cleaning as stress-free as possible for you and your companion, it is often a good idea to establish a routine while they are young. That way, your four-legged friend will be able to get used to having their teeth brushed.
Your goal is to make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free and easy part of your kitty's daily routine. Begin by waiting until your cat is calm and relaxed, then follow these steps:
- Lift your cat's lips gently and then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for a few moments.
- Don't expect too much acceptance from your cat at first. You may only be able to reach one or two of their teeth at a time when you first start. But that's okay! The key is to not cause your cat to become agitated.
- Stay calm and make sure you're providing your cat with plenty of praise a treats after the massage. The goal here is to slowly build your cat's tolerance to the experience, gradually increasing the amount of time you spend massaging every day.
- Once your cat is used to their gum massage, you should be able to gradually introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush you can get from your vet as well as some cat-specific toothpaste. Toothpastes come in a range of flavors, including chicken or beef.
- 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.
Your cat's temperament will largely dictate the degree to which you will be able to brush their teeth. Make sure you stay flexible to your cat's tolerance and comfort level. Some cat owners find it easiest to clean their kitty's teeth with a piece of soft cloth or gauze while other find finger brushed work very well for their cat. Others may even apply a dental gel with a toothbrush or finger and let it 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.
If your cat is alarmed or stressed by the process of cleaning their teeth, they may react by either scratching or biting. So, if brushing your cat's teeth is difficult for you, it may be worthwhile to add plaque remover to their drinking water to supplement their oral health alongside dental chew toys or treats.
As well as your efforts to keep your kitty's teeth clean and healthy, they’ll also need a regular professional dental cleaning performed by a qualified vet 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.