Like us, our feline companions can suffer from painful oral health issues. In this blog, our Kinston vets discuss the importance of dental health for cats and ways you can keep your kitty's mouth healthy.
Dental Care for Cats
Cats are good at masking their pain. They could be suffering from a painful issue in their mouth without you even knowing they are uncomfortable. This is why cat parents have to be aware of their kitty's oral health and make sure their teeth stay clean. By keeping an eye on and routinely brushing your cat's teeth, you should be able to detect any oral health problems early and prevent your cat from experiencing pain and avoid expensive treatment.
Some signs of dental health problems in cats you can look for include bad breath, red swollen gums, bleeding from the mouth, discoloured teeth, and lack of appetite.
Routine Dental Checkups For Your Kitty
To ensure your cat's mouth stays healthy and pain-free, our veterinarians suggest bringing them in for a dental appointment once a year, making it a part of your feline friend's preventive healthcare routine. Your vet will assess your companion's oral health in addition to their overall physical health and inform you if they require any professional dental cleaning or surgery to restore their good health.
Caring for Your Cat's Teeth at Home
You can help make sure your kitty's teeth and gums stay healthy long-term by implementing a daily oral hygiene routine. To help make brushing your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, start their oral hygiene routine when they are still young. This way, your kitty will get used to having their teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age.
Your primary goal should be to make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free and easy part of your feline friend's daily routine. Wait until your cat is calm and relaxed to start the process, 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 with licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger.
The level to which you are able to brush your cat's teeth will greatly depend on their temperament. You need to be flexible and adapt your approach to how tolerant your kitty 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 apply a dental gell with their fingers that they let do the work for them.
When you finally start being successful at brushing your cat's teeth, move along the gum line, working fast but stopping before your kitty gets irritated. It could be weeks before your kitty tolerates having all of its teeth brushed in a single session.
If your cat is stressed or alarmed by the teeth cleaning process it may react by scratching or biting. So if brushing your cat's teeth is too difficult for you and your kitty consider adding plaque remover additives into their drinking water, getting them specially designed chew toys, or providing your cat with tasty dental treats.
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.
To learn more about the veterinary dentistry we offer at Five Oaks Animal Hospital visit the dentistry page on our website.
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.