Cats can suffer from painful dental health issues that can have a huge negative impact on their overall health and wellbeing. Mouth or tooth pain could even cause your cat to stop or resist eating. Here, our North Asheville vets discuss dental care for cats and how to keep your cat's teeth clean.
Cats & Their Oral Health
Cats are stoic creatures who are naturally adept at hiding pain. They may actually be suffering from a painful oral health issue without ever letting on that they are uncomfortable. Because of this, owners need to be conscious of their feline companion's oral health and keep their furry companion's teeth clean. By monitoring and regularly cleaning your cat's teeth, you will be able to detect any oral health issues early and help your cat avoid pain and expensive treatment.
Caring For Your Cat's Teeth At-Home
Establishing and maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine for your cat could help to keep their teeth and gums healthy throughout their lifetime. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, begin establishing a daily oral hygiene routine for your cat while they are still a kitten. This way, your cat will be accustomed to having their teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age.
How to Clean Your Cat's Teeth
Your overall goal when it comes to feline oral hygiene is to make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free and easy part of your kitty's daily routine. So it's a good idea to wait until your cat is calm and relaxed before trying 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.
Be Patient & Adaptable While Your Cat Gets Used to the Process
Your kitty's temperament and personality will play a large role in your overall success at brushing their teeth.
It's important to ensure that you are calm and relaxed. Be flexible, and modify your approach to your cat's level of tolerance. Some cat owners have a very easy time cleaning their feline friend's teeth with just a small square of gauze, others find a finger brush works well and others apply a dental gel to their cat's teeth using their fingers (the gel will take care of cleaning your cat's teeth).
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.
Professional Dental Care for Your Cat
To help ensure that your cat's mouth remains pain-free and healthy, our vets at Animal Hospital of North Asheville recommend annual dental examinations and cleaning vet's office as part of your cat's preventative healthcare routine. Your veterinarian will evaluate your cat's oral health on top of their overall physical health and let you know if any professional dental cleaning or surgery is required to restore your cat's optimal oral health.
To learn more about the veterinary dental care available here at our North Asheville 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.