Dental health problems can be just as troublesome for cats as it is for humans. When cats have pain in their mouths they might even stop eating. Today our Hoquiam vets discuss how you can help keep your cat's mouth healthy and clean.
Cat Dental Health
Cats are very good at hiding their pain. They could be experiencing a painful oral health problem and you wouldn't even know it. That's why cat owners should be aware of their kitty's oral health and work to keep their cat's mouth and teeth healthy and clean. This can be done by routinely brushing your cat's teeth and monitoring your feline companion for any signs of oral health issues. Finding any problems early can help prevent your cat from being in a lot of pain and avoid needing any expensive treatments.
Annual Dental Checkups For Your Cat
To help keep your cat's mouth healthy and pain-free, our vets suggest bringing your kitty to the vet's office for annual dental care visits as 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 needed to restore your cat's good health.
Routine Cat Dental Care
A daily oral hygiene routine for your cat can help to make sure their teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, start your cat's oral hygiene routine while they are still young. This way, your cat will get used to having their mouth touched and teeth brushed from a young age.
Here is how to brush your cat's teeth:
- Wait till your cat is relaxed and calm.
- 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 daily.
- 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 get the brush and some specail cat toothpaste from your vet. 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.
The degree to which you are able to brush your cat's teeth will largely depend on their temperament. Make sure you are flexible and adapt your approach to how tolerant your cat is of the process. Some cat owners have a very easy time cleaning their teeth with some gauze, some find a finger brush works well and others apply a dental gell with their fingers that does a lot of 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 might react by scratching or biting. So if brushing your cat's teeth is too hard for you and your kitty consider adding plaque remover additives to their drinking water, getting them specially designed chew toys or providing your cat with tasty dental treats.
As well as your efforts to keep your kitty's teeth clean and healthy, they’ll also require a regular professional dental cleaning performed by a qualified vet to keep their teeth in optimal condition.
To learn more about the veterinary dental care available at our Hoquiam 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.