If your cat is experiencing issues with their oral health then they could be dealing with pain that could prevent them from easily performing basic functions such as eating. Today, our Benton vets discuss cat dental care and how you can help clean your cat's teeth.
Cat Dental Health
Cats are masters of hiding any illness or injuries so it makes monitoring their health very important. They may actually be suffering from a painful oral health issue without ever letting on that they are uncomfortable. Because of this, owners need to be conscious of their feline companion's oral health and keep their furry companion's teeth clean. Routine oral health care for your cat is important to help ensure that they have a lower risk of developing a variety of dental health conditions that could negatively affect their overall health.
Caring For Your Cats Dental Health At-Home
Daily oral health care for your cat will ensure that they have healthy teeth and gums for life and lower the risk of complications from dental conditions and diseases. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, begin establishing a daily oral hygiene routine for your cat while they are still a kitten. This will help your cat adjust to routine health care allowing you to easily touch and clean your cat's mouth without a fuss.
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:
- 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 tiny dab of toothpaste from your finger.
At-Home Dental Care For Your Cat Will Require Patience
How successful you are at cleaning your cat's teeth will largely depend on your kitty's temperament. Make sure you are relaxed, flexible and that you adapt your approach to your cat's level of tolerance. Your cat may not be comfortable with the use of a toothbrush and you could try using a piece of gauze or a finger brush with a tiny dab of toothpaste and work your way up to a toothbrush from there.
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 stressed or alarmed by the teeth cleaning process they may react by scratching or biting. So if brushing your cat's teeth is too difficult for you and your kitty consider adding plaque remover additives into their drinking water, getting them specially designed chew toys or providing your cat with tasty dental treats.
Ensure That You Cat Has Routine Veterinary Dental Health Care
To ensure that your cat's mouth remains pain-free and healthy, our veterinarians recommend making annual dental care visits to your vet's office a part of their preventative healthcare routine. Your veterinarian will evaluate your pet's oral health on top of their overall physical health and let you know if any professional dental cleaning or surgery is required to restore your cat's good health.
To find out more about the veterinary dental care available here at our Benton animal hospital check out our dentistry page.
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.