Oral health issues are as painful for cats as they are for people. Teeth and mouth pain could even prevent your feline friend from eating. Here, our vets at Blue Mountain Veterinary Services share some of the best ways to keep your kitty's teeth clean and healthy.
Caring For Your Kitty's Oral Health
Cats are extremely good at hiding physical pain. Your cat may be suffering from painful oral health issues without displaying any outward signs. That’s why owners need to be conscientious when it comes to their kitty's oral health and keeping their furry companion’s teeth clean. By regularly cleaning and monitoring the health of your cat's teeth, any oral health issues that develop can be detected early, helping to avoid pain and expensive treatments.
Annual Dental Checkups for Your Feline Friend
To ensure that your cat's mouth stays healthy and pain-free, our vets recommend making annual dental checkups part of your kitty's preventive care routine. When your cat has a dental checkup, it's like a trip to the dentist. Your vet will evaluate your pet’s oral health in addition to their overall physical health and let you know if your kitty needs a professional veterinary dental cleaning or surgery to help restore your cat's good health.
Routine Dental Care for Cats
Just like brushing and flossing your own teeth, a daily dental hygiene routine can help to ensure that your cat's teeth stay as clean and healthy as possible. To help make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and low-stress as possible, it's a good idea to establish a routine while they are young. That way your furry friend will be used to having their teeth brushed.
Your goal is to make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free and easy part of their 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 kitty's teeth and gums for just a few seconds.
- Don't expect too much at first. You might only reach one or two teeth the first few times you try this, that's ok. Be sure to stop before your cat gets too 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 kitty is used to having you massage her teeth and gums each day, you can gradually begin introducing a soft-bristled toothbrush from the vet and maybe even some cat-specific toothpaste! Cat toothpaste comes in a range of feline-friendly flavours, such as 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.
How well you will be able to brush your cat's teeth will depend largely on your cat's temperament. Be flexible and adapt the method of brushing you use to your cat's level of tolerance. Some cat owners find it easiest to clean their cat's teeth with a small piece of soft gauze, some find a finger brush works really well for their cat, and others apply dental gel with the toothbrush or a finger and have the gel do 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.
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.
In addition to 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.
To find out more about the veterinary dental care available here at our Blue Mountain 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.