Dental problems in cats can be just as painful as they are in humans. In fact, mouth and tooth pain may cause your feline companion to refuse to eat. Our Poway veterinarians explain how to keep your cat's mouth clean and healthy today.
Your Cat's Dental Health
Cats are very good at hiding their discomfort. They could be suffering from a painful oral health issue without ever expressing their dissatisfaction. Owners must be aware of their feline companion's oral health and keep their feline companion's teeth clean as a result. You can detect any oral health issues early and help your cat avoid pain and expensive treatment by monitoring and regularly cleaning your cat's teeth.
At-Home Dental Care For Your Feline Friend
Keeping your cat's teeth and gums healthy with a daily oral hygiene routine could help them live a long and healthy life. Begin establishing a daily oral hygiene routine for your cat while they are still a kitten to make cleaning their teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible. From a young age, your cat will be accustomed to having its teeth brushed and mouth touched.
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.
- At first, don't expect too much from your cat. The first few times you try this, you might only be able to reach a couple of teeth. But that's all right. This is about gaining your cat's trust and preventing 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 small dab of toothpaste from your finger.
Be Patient & Adaptable While Your Cat Gets Used to the Process
The success with which you clean your cat's teeth is largely determined by his or her temperament. Make sure you're relaxed and flexible, and that you adjust your behavior to your cat's tolerance level. Some cat owners find that cleaning their pet's teeth with gauze is very easy, while others find that a finger brush works well, and still others apply a dental gel with their fingers and let it 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 its teeth cleaned during a single session.
If your cat is stressed or alarmed by the teeth cleaning process it 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.
Yearly Dental Checkups For Cats
Our veterinarians recommend making annual dental care visits to your vet's office a part of your cat's preventative healthcare routine to ensure that their mouth remains pain-free and healthy. Your veterinarian will assess your cat's oral health in conjunction with their overall physical health and inform you if professional dental cleaning or surgery is necessary to restore your cat's health.
To find out more about the veterinary dental care available here at our Poway 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.