Dental health issues can be just as painful for your cat as they are for us. In fact, mouth and tooth pain could even cause your feline friend to resist eating. Today, our Liberty Lake vets explain how to clean your cat's mouth and keep their teeth healthy.
Your Cat's Dental Health
Cats are very good at hiding their pain. They could be suffering from a painful oral health issue without ever expressing their discomfort. As a result, owners must be aware of their feline companion's oral health and keep their furry companion's teeth clean. By monitoring and cleaning your cat's teeth on a regular basis, you will be able to detect any oral health issues early on and help your cat avoid pain and costly treatment.
At-Home Dental Care For Your Feline Friend
Maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine for your cat may help to keep their teeth and gums healthy for the rest of their life. Begin establishing a daily oral hygiene routine for your cat while they are still a kitten to make cleaning their teeth at home as simple and stress-free as possible. Your cat will become accustomed to having their teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age this way.
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 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 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 by licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger.
Be Patient & Adaptable While Your Cat Gets Used to the Process
How successful you are at cleaning your cat's teeth will largely depend on your kitty's temperament. Make sure you are relaxed and flexible and that you adapt your approach to your cat's level of tolerance. Some cat owners have a very easy time cleaning their pet's teeth with some gauze, others find a finger brush works well and others apply a dental gel with their fingers that they allow to do 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 alarmed by the teeth-cleaning procedure, he or she may scratch or bite. If brushing your cat's teeth is too difficult for you and your cat, consider putting plaque remover additives in their drinking water, purchasing specially designed chew toys, or giving your cat tasty dental treats.
Yearly Dental Checkups For Cats
Our veterinarians recommend making annual dental care visits to your vet's office part of your cat's preventative healthcare routine to ensure that their mouth remains pain-free and healthy. Your veterinarian will assess your pet's oral health in addition to their overall physical health and notify you if professional dental cleaning or surgery is required to restore your cat's good health.
To find out more about the veterinary dental care available here at our Liberty Lake 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.