Oral health issues affecting our feline friends can be just as painful as toothaches and other dental health issues are for people. In fact, pain affecting a cat's mouth or tooth may be enough to prevent them from eating. Here, our Oakland vets explain some of the best ways of keeping your cat's entire mouth clean and healthy.
Cat Dental Care
Cats can be quite adept at hiding their pain. In fact, they may be suffering from a painful oral health issue without ever letting on that they are feeling uncomfortable. Because of this, cat owners need to be aware of their feline companion's oral health status and help to keep their pet's teeth shiny and clean.
By regularly monitoring your cat's teeth, you will be able to detect oral health issues early and help your cat to avoid painful and expensive treatments.
Annual Dental Checkups For Your Feline Family Member
To ensure that your cat's mouth remains pain-free and healthy, our veterinarians advise that your incorporate annual dental care visits to your vet's office into their preventive healthcare routine.
A veterinarian will be able to evaluate your pet's oral health on top of their physical health and let you know about any professional dental cleanings or surgical treatments that may be required to restore your cat's good health.
Routine Dental Care For Cats
A daily routine for your cat's oral hygiene can help to ensure that their gums and teeth remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. In order to make cleanings your cat's teeth at home as stress-free and easy as possible, start their oral hygiene routine while your cat is still young.
This way, your cat will be accustomed to having their teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age.
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 you 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.
How frequently and thoroughly you will be able to brush your cat's teeth will largely depend on their temperament. Ensure you stay flexible and adapt your approach to how tolerant your cat is of the teeth cleaning process. Some cat owners find that they have a very easy time cleaning with a piece of gauze, while others find a finger brush works best for their kitty. Others even apply a dental gel with their fingers and allow that to 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 you notice that your cat is getting stressed or alarmed by the cleaning process, they may react by scratching or biting. If brushing your cat's teeth is too difficult for you and your cat, consider adding a plaque remover to their water or getting them chew toys and treats that are specially designed to clean their teeth.
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.