Almost all feline guardians focus on providing quality food, suitable litter, variety of toys and making their house cat friendly by installing different accessories (like perches, cat trees, etc.). However, most of them ignore an important aspect of feline care. Dental health & care is crucial to ensure a cat’s health (especially after two years of age).
Oral hygiene and Dental care in cats are as important as in humans. You may be surprised, but it’s a fact that up to 90% of cats suffer (especially three years of age or older) from dental issues that negatively impact their overall health.
So in this post, we will focus on cat dental care and try to explain in easy to understand way “How to Keep Your Cat’s Teeth and Gums Healthy.”
1. Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
It is recommended to brush your teeth first when it comes to dental health or oral hygiene. The same is true if you want to ensure your kitty’s dental health. However, brushing a cat’s teeth is not straightforward because most cats prefer to avoid messing with their mouths and resist strongly.
So the critical part of cat dental care is to get them used to it from kittenhood. Though kittens don’t need teeth brushing, bringing them into the habit will make it easier for you as they age. A step-by-step guide is below to help you understand how to brush a cat’s teeth.
- Select an optimum quality cat-specific toothbrush and toothpaste and prefer a toothpaste having chicken or fish flavor. Cats accept flavored toothpaste happily. Never use a human toothbrush or toothpaste.
- Be patient and let the cat play with the toothbrush and toothpaste to make it a fun activity for him.
- Sit in a comfortable place and hold the cat in your lap.
- Apply a small amount of toothpaste on your finger to the cat’s teeth & gums, softly.
- Then slowly open his mouth, enter brush under the teeth, and move it back and forth in an oval pattern.
- Initially, the cat may try to chew the bristles of the toothbrush. Let him chew to feel comfortable with the texture of the strands.
- The actual brushing time should be a maximum of a minute.
- Rewarding your cat with play or treat is an excellent way to end the process. The reward also makes the cat more cooperative the next time.
2. Teeth-Friendly Nutrition & Diet
Generally, it is believed that feeding your cat dry kibble helps clean the cat’s teeth due to its abrasive effects. Though most cats do not chew their food and swallow it whole, dry food is better than moist food as it doesn’t stick with gums or teeth. VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) has published cat teeth-friendly products.
3. Dental treats and supplements
Different kinds of treats and chews are available at pet stores to improve cats’ dental health. Such treats or chews not only prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar; they also help remove the already built plaque and tartar and fight germs. These treats and chews are also available in chicken and fish flavors.
4. Feline Oral Rinses
Oral rinses are also available to fight bacteria, prevent gingivitis and reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar. You can rub your cat’s teeth and gums with clean gauze soaked in the rinse, spray inside the mouth or add in the drinking water.
5. Sea Kelp
Sea kelp is a seaweed known for preventing different dental issues; cats eat it without any problems. So, sea kelp can also be added to cat food (in small quantities only) as a preventive measure.
6. Visit The Vet Regularly
Since cats are good at masking pain, it’s crucial to visit your vet to detect any dental issue before it gets complicated. Do this at least once in six months for a general dental checkup.
However, you need to get an appointment with your vet immediately if you notice your cat exhibits signs like bad breath, pawing at the mouth, teeth discoloration, drooling, loss of appetite or difficulty in eating, weight loss, red, swollen or bleeding gums, etc.
The Last Lines
We hope the above text helps you understand the importance of cat dental care and how to keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy.
Remember, cats are very good at hiding any signs of pain so take dental care seriously. After all, they are our friends.