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 Harrisburg vets explain how to clean your cat's mouth and keep its 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. If daily brushing is unreasonable for you, three times a week is a good alternative. Your cat will become accustomed to having its teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age this way. If daily.
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 with licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger.
Be Patient & Adaptable While Your Cat Gets Used to the Process
Your success in cleaning your cat's teeth will be largely determined by your cat's temperament. Make sure you're relaxed and adaptable, and that your approach is tailored to your cat's tolerance level. Some cat owners find that cleaning their pet's teeth with gauze is very easy, while others find that a finger brush works well, and still others apply a dental gel with their fingers and let it 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 its teeth cleaned during 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.
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 its 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 Harrisburg 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.