Your cat’s mouth needs looking after as a lot of bacteria will get into it from daily grooming, eating and hunting. To help keep their teeth and gums as healthy as possible we have compiled a list of tips and tricks for you and your furry friend to follow.
Brushing your cat’s teeth may sound like an impossible task but if you allow them to get used to it from a very young age by using the right method then there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be possible.
- Always use a cat-safe toothpaste and a small finger cat-friendly toothbrush. Start off by allowing your cat to sniff and have a lick of the toothpaste and give them lots of fuss and some treats. This will help them to associate tooth brushing with a positive activity as they receive treats, fuss and should also enjoy the taste of the special cat toothpaste.
- Once your cat is comfortable having the toothbrush and paste near their mouth start to gently clean the front teeth using small circular motions very lightly touching the teeth.
- If your cat is happy for you to do this then you can start to brush the rest of the teeth and gums ensuring you stop and offer treats and praise throughout so that they don’t get overwhelmed.
Teeth brushing is only suitable for cats that have a healthy mouth as sensitive or sore teeth and gums will hurt even more if any pressure is applied to them. If you suspect your cat already has dental problems, take them to the vet for a checkup first.
If your cat really won’t tolerate having their teeth brushed then there are a variety of supplements and products that you can try. Dental gel is similar to toothpaste but doesn’t need to be brushed onto your cat’s teeth, just applied into their mouth. This may be accepted by some cat’s more than actual brushing but it won’t be as effective at removing plaque.
Special products that can be added to your cat’s water is another option and can help slow down the build-up of plaque, working in a similar way to the gel.
Feeding your cat the right diet is a great way to help keep your cat’s mouth healthy. You can purchase specially designed dental biscuits for cats that are slightly bigger than your average kibble and work at helping to remove plaque from the teeth in a similar way to teeth brushing. Feeding other non-dental types of kibble can also help as the crunching helps clean the teeth too. Feeding a mix of wet and dry food is usually the best option for most cats as the high moisture content in wet food helps keep them hydrated and the crunchiness of the dry will promote good dental hygiene.
There are also many dental cat treats available that are shaped in ways that can help with teeth cleaning but should be fed in moderation to prevent too much weight gain.
If you are not sure whether your cat’s mouth is as healthy as it should be then always arrange for a check-up with your vet to remain on the safe side. Some common symptoms to look out for are:
- Bad breath
- Sore/red gums
- Excessive drooling
- Loose teeth
- Blood coming from the mouth
- Lack of interest in eating
If your cat shows any of these signs then get them seen by your vet as soon as possible as a cat with bad teeth and gums may refuse to eat because it’s too painful and can also lead to dental disease which is extremely uncomfortable.
Depending on the severity of your cat’s issues, they may need a pretty straightforward scale and polish or they may need to have teeth removed and a course of antibiotics to prevent infection. This is why it is best to seek medical advice as early as possible to get on top of the problem before it gets any worse.
Prevention is better than cure
Remember, prevention is better than cure so following the points we’ve suggested above should help keep your cat’s mouth healthy and will hopefully prevent the need for any extensive veterinary surgery in the future.