As cat owners, we want what is best for our pets, and that includes health issues which includes dental care for cats. Oral care for cats can often get overlooked, and some do not even know how important dental care for cats really is. Here we will discuss why we should be concerned about dental care, and what we need to do to take care of our cats teeth and mouth. This will be beneficial for both owner and cat, as well as giving your pet a much healthier lifestyle that they will feel better for.
Why is dental care for cats so important?
One of the first things worth discussing is why it is, so important to keep up with good oral hygiene for cats. Just like humans, cats can develop gum disease, like Gingivitus, which is gum inflammation. This is actually quite common, especially among older cats, and is usually the main problem Veterinarians find when examining cats. If left untreated, this can lead to other problems like, plaque and tartar buildup, which in turn leads to discolored teeth, or abscesses, and even bad breath.
Another major problem cats can develop with tartar, and plaque buildup is that, if left too long those toxins can be released, and the teeth can separate from the gums. This in turn, leads to inflammation and can cause infection, leading to teeth eventually coming lose and even falling out. Gum disease has also been linked to other more major things, like liver failure and heart disease, so dental care for cats is very important in the context of their overall health.
Recommended oral hygiene for your cat
Many of these oral health issues can be prevented simply by brushing, like humans do. However, being able to brush your cats teeth may be a different matter entirely, depending on your cat. That being said, there are steps you can take in order to be able to get to the point where you can easily brush your cats teeth daily. For instance, you can use a cat toothbrush, not a human toothbrush, as they can be too harsh and big, or you can use a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger.
The best way to get used to brushing your cats teeth would be to start while they are a kitten, gently putting your fingers in their mouth to get used to the feeling. In older cats it may take a little persuasion, maybe putting some tuna oil on your fingers first to allow your fingers to be put into the mouth. Moreover, once they get used to your fingers in their mouth you can then gradually work up to the toothbrush or gauze technique.
For the first few times you may only get away with brushing one of two of the teeth until the cat is happy with you doing this. You should use a feline toothpaste, which is specially formulated for cats. Never use human toothpaste on cats as this can make them extremely ill due to the ingredients, many of which are harmful to felines. Most pet stores, or even your local Vet, can sell you feline toothpaste as well as toothbrushes.
Once your cat is comfortable with this process, you should be able to work up to brushing all teeth, and massaging the gums as you go. Keeping in mind, that it is especially important to clean the back teeth, as these are more likely to hold some buildup of old food. If, your cat is the type that just will not let you inside the mouth, for instance, he may become agitated or even aggressive, then there are alternatives that you can try out.
What alternative oral care treatment can your vet suggest?
One should speak with their Veterinarian about alternative oral care treatments, because there are such a wide variety of products out on the market today, and therefore, he will be able to recommend the best ones. In addition, there are treats that are specifically formulated to help remove tartar buildup, and plaque due to their abrasive texture. They even have treats that have special ingredients that can fight off bacteria such as Vitamin E, and antiseptics, which will help with the oral care for your cat.
The Vet may even recommend a change in diet, using foods that have larger than usual lumps to encourage chewing, to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. There are also additives that may be recommended that you can put into the cats drinking water that can deter bacteria, and help dissolve plaque buildup. If, you decide to use a water additive, be sure to keep an eye on your cat to make sure he drinks, as some cats may sense something different in the water and ignore it altogether.
One should always take their cat to the Vet annually, and ask specifically about the dental care for cats. Your Vet will be able to tell you if your cat is suffering from any mouth, or gum disease and can quickly recommend the correct treatment. If, your cat does not allow you to clean his teeth, or use any of the above methods for oral care, then you should make more frequent visits to your Vet, so that your cat does not succumb to any unnecessary disease.
Warning signs for dental problems
As cat owners, we can look for warning signs regarding dental care for cats. Teeth should be white, not yellowish or brownish in color, and gums should be pink, not red. Furthermore you may ask yourself ‘Why does my cat have bad breath?’ A foul smelling breath is an early indication that your cat may have some distress regarding a dental issue. Difficulty in chewing, or excessive licking, or drooling can also be signs of discomfort in the mouth. If, you do notice discolored teeth, bleeding from the gums, or any of the above issues you should make an appointment to see your Vet as soon as possible.
Our feline friends are part of our family, and are treated as such, but when it comes to health matters, we may overlook oral care. Cats are extremely clean animals, and will thoroughly clean themselves from head to tail without much care from us. However, when it comes to dental care for cats though, they need to rely on us. We hope this article has helped you stay informed about some possible health issues that you can keep your eye on that you may not have been aware of, and allow your cat to lead a healthier life, a healthy cat is a happy cat. Please feel free to leave your comments on this topic in the comments section below
12 thoughts on “Dental Care For Cats. Best Ways to Keep their Teeth Clean”
Yeah this is so true.
Cats are incredibly clean.
Not once though did I ever think a Cat would be happy to brush its teeth until played the video.
Cats also are incredible creatures which in itself is good but also a double edged sword. You mention various oral issues which I fear, cats will take the pain.
After coming to site, I look back and cringe especially after the vets bill!!
Thanks for this feedback John. Yes we have had some monstrous vet bills in the past ourselves mainly as a result of fights with other cats.
James, I know it was not your intention to leave me feeling guilty, but when I look at my past with my cats, I just wish I knew this then. I don’t have cats now, but I already sent your link to someone I know with cats. Yes, cats are clean and do a good job cleaning themselves.
I certainly learnt a lot today. James, thanks for taking the patience to give us a step by step guide on such an important topic.
Pleased you liked the article Josephine and many thanks for sharing the link.
I already use dental treats on my cat (which she’ll eat a million of) but I’m wondering if its enough. I may have to try getting her used to teeth brushing (ha! Wish me luck on that one!)
Thanks for those comments Ameera. You might try introducing some dried kibble food into your cat’s diet. This will help clean her teeth.
You make a really good point here, oral health is often overlooked in both humans and cats. There are so many health problems that start with bad oral health. I worry about the time I would have to brush my cat’s teeth. I think I might try abrasive food instead and see how well that works.
Thanks for the advice.
Thank you for your feedback Saraa. Part of our cat’s diet is comprised of good quality dried kibble food which he enjoys eating and at the same time his teeth are cleaned. So far his routine health checks at the vet have not revealed any dental problems.
Interesting! I had no idea that we should brush teeth of cats. Does the same apply for dogs?
There are similar considerations with dogs David as pet care specialists have reported that dental problems are common with dogs over the age of three.
I’m really glad I found this. I just got a cat and I have no idea how to take care of it! I just looked at its teeth after reading this and it is a little bit yellow. I don’t think its any infection or anything but I have to find a way to clean his teeth or it will get worse. Thanks a lot for sharing this vital information!
It was really insightful.
Thanks for the info.
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