Our feline friends can experience just as much pain from oral health issues as we can, and it could even be preventing them from eating. Here, our Fort Pierce vets explain some of the best ways to keep your cat's whole mouth clean and healthy.
Cat Dental Care
As many a worried cat owner has found, cats are quite good at hiding their pain. This can make it difficult to know if they are suffering from painful oral health issues, which means that it can be helpful to know how to care for their feline friend's teeth. 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.
Annual Dental Checkups For Your Cat
To make sure that your cat's mouth remains pain-free and healthy, we recommend making annual dental care visits to your vet's office a 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 required to restore your cat's good health.
Routine Dental Care For Cats
A daily oral hygiene routine for your cat can help to preserve your cat's oral health between professional dental cleanings, for as long as possible. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, begin your cat's oral hygiene routine while your kitty 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 favored 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.
The degree to which you are able to brush your cat's teeth will largely depend on their individual temperament. Make sure you are patient and 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 use their fingers to apply a dental gel that does most 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 frightened by the teeth-cleaning process they may react by scratching or biting, which is far from the desired result! Consider adding plaque remover additives into their drinking water, getting them specially designed chew toys or providing your cat with tasty dental treats instead of brushing.
In addition to 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.