If your cat is experiencing dental disease or other oral conditions it could be quite painful and may interfere with everyday tasks such as eating. Here, our Little Elm veterinary dentists talk about cat dental care and ways that you can help prevent dental disease.
Cat Dental Care & How To Prevent Dental Disease
Because cats are pros at hiding their pain, your feline friend may be experiencing a dental care concern without you even being aware of it. Because of this, owners need to be conscious of their feline companion's oral health and keep their furry companion's teeth clean. By monitoring and regularly cleaning your cat's teeth, you will be able to detect any oral health issues early and help your cat avoid pain and expensive and unnecessary veterinary dentistry.
Routine Veterinary Dentistry
To provide your cat with ongoing and lifelong oral health, our veterinary dentists recommend making annual dental care visits to your vet's office a part of their preventative healthcare routine. Your veterinary dentist will evaluate your pet's oral health on top of their overall physical health and let you know if any professional veterinary dentistry such as a dental cleaning or surgery is required to restore your cat's good health.
How To Help Provide Dental Care For Your Cat
Your cat will greatly benefit from an ongoing daily dental health care routine. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, begin your cat's oral hygiene routine while your kitty is still young. This way, your cat will be accustomed to having their teeth brushed and mouth touched from a young age.
The goal of this routine is to help your cat adjust to having a daily dental care 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 only for a few moments.
- 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. By increasing the amount of time you spend on this task each day you will eventually build your cat up to enduring the experience without issues.
- Once your feline friend is used to you massaging their gums each day, you should be able to move on to using a cat-specific toothbrush and 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 degree to which you are able to brush your cat's teeth will largely depend on their temperament. Make sure you are flexible and adapt your approach to how tolerant your cat 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 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 process they may react by scratching or biting. If brushing your cat's teeth is too difficult, there are options to help supplement (not replace) their oral health care routine. You could consider drinking water additives that will help destroy bacteria as well as treats and toys that can help to scrub plaque away.
Along with providing thorough at-home cat dental care, your feline friend will also require routine veterinary dentistry provided by their veterinary dentist.
To find out more about the veterinary dentistry available here at Healthy Paws Veterinary Center 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.