Oral health issues can be uncomfortable for our feline friends, just like they are in people. Tooth and general mouth pain may even be severe enough to stop your cat from eating properly! Here, our Apple Valley veterinarians share some ways for you to help keep your cat's mouth clean, healthy and happy throughout their life.
Caring For Your Kitty's Oral Health
Cats can be quite skilled at hiding the pain they are experiencing. It may be that your cat is suffering from oral health issues without showing any signs of pain that you can detect. Since this is the case, cat owners should be mindful of their pet's oral health and diligent in cleaning their kitty's mouth and teeth.
By providing your cat with regular cleanings on top of monitoring their oral health, you will be able to detect any oral health issues they are experiencing early, before having to deal with the pain of the conditions and cost of veterinary care for more advanced oral health issues.
Annual Dental Checkups For Your Feline Friend
To help ensure your cat's mouth remains healthy, our veterinary team advises our clients to incorporate oral health checkups into their cat's routine preventative care plan. When your feline friend has their dental checkup, it works much like a trip to the dentist.
Our vets will be able to evaluate your cat's oral health as well as their physical health and general well-being. We will also be able to let you know if your cat may need any cleanings or other procedures to help to restore your pet's health if they are experiencing oral health issues.
Routine Dental Care For Cats
A daily oral hygiene routine can be just as helpful in preventing oral health issues in cats as they can be in people. To help make the process of caring for your pet's health at home as easy as possible for both you and your cat, it is generally a good idea to establish this routine while your cat is still young. That way, they will be able to slowly get used to having their teeth cleaned throughout their life.
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:
- Lift your cat's lips gently and then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for a few moments.
- Don't expect too much acceptance from your cat at first. You may only be able to reach one or two of their teeth at a time when you first start. But that's okay! The key is to not cause your cat to become agitated.
- Stay calm and make sure you're providing your cat with plenty of praise a treats after the massage. The goal here is to slowly build your cat's tolerance to the experience, gradually increasing the amount of time you spend massaging every day.
- Once your cat is used to their gum massage, you should be able to gradually introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush you can get from your vet as well as some cat-specific toothpaste. Toothpastes come in a range of flavors, including chicken or beef.
- 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 of success you will find in cleaning or brushing your cat's teeth will largely depend on your individual cat's temperament and tolerance. It's very important that you stay mindful of your feline friend's comfort level with the oral hygiene process. Some cat owners find it easiest to clean their kitty's teeth with a piece of soft cloth or gauze while other find finger brushed work very well for their cat. Others may even apply a dental gel with a toothbrush or finger and let it work for them.
When you begin brushing your cat's teeth after easing them into it, move along their gum line, making sure you work quickly. You will want to stop before your cat become irritated. It may even be weeks for your cat starts tolerating having all of their teeth cleaned in a sitting.
If you find that your cat is getting alarmed or stressed out by the oral hygiene process, they may react by struggling, scratching and biting. If, because of this, cleaning your cat's teeth is difficult for you, it may be worth it to provide them with dental toy or chews and to add plaque remover to their drinking water.
As well as 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.