Since cats can’t let us know when they have a toothache or are experiencing discomfort when they chew on their favorite snacks, it’s up to you to be on the lookout for such signs. Cat dental care is one of the most efficient ways to help keep your cat’s teeth healthy. Being ardent about your kitty’s dental health can go a long way and prevent some serious health issues and expensive surgeries. Today, we’re going to look at some of the best ways that you can be proactive in promoting your cat’s dental care.
Does Your Cat Have Bad Breath?
That fishy odor is known as “kitty breath” and may seem natural, but if you notice your cat has bad breath, this is a clear indicator that she is experiencing dental issues.
If left unaddressed, your cat’s breath is only going to worsen. When a cat has bad breath and drools, it is usually linked to gum disease or tooth decay. Occasional bleeding gums are nothing to become alarmed about; however, if you see a combination of bleeding gums, bad breath, and drooling, your cat likely needs an extensive cleaning or in the worst of cases, a tooth extraction.
Annual Checkups Are for Cats Too
Regrettably, dental checkups are something most cat owners don’t think about as part of the annual visit to the vet. So don’t skip your cat’s annual checkups. Cat dental care should be an essential part of the yearly visit, and your vet should use that time to assess not only your cat’s overall well-being but also their oral health. Annual checkups let you know when your cat is due for a professional dental cleaning to help better your cat’s dental health.
Stick to a Daily Dental Care Routine
It’s not too difficult to get your cat used to getting their teeth brushed. Adult cats are usually more rebellious, so it’s a good idea to get them started at a young age. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) suggests getting cats used to the process while they’re kittens by utilizing gauze along with toothpaste made uniquely for cats.
We’ve seen owners try lots of tricks to help their cats get used to it, but this one seems to work the best. Try dipping your finger in canned chicken or tuna before massaging your kitty’s gums to make the session more enjoyable. Once your cat begins to understand the process, gradually switch to a bristled finger brush.
Like humans, daily brushing is the best way to prevent dental infection. Toothpaste uniquely designed for cats can be found anywhere in flavors they’ll savor.
DO NOT try to clean your cat’s teeth with “human” toothpaste; if fluoride toothpaste is swallowed, it can cause your cat to become seriously sick.
Stimulate Your Cat’s Gums While Brushing
Tooth decay often begins with irritated gums, so don’t forget to massage their gums at each brushing session. Healthy gums should be pinkish, not red in appearance. If your cat’s gums are red, then it may be an indication of early dental infection. By massaging the gums, you’re not only accelerating the healing but also strengthening the gums so that your cat is less likely to experience gum problems later on.
Cat Dental Treats Can Help Decrease Tartar
Not all cat treats are created equal. If you are planning on including these treats into your cat’s diet, make sure that you choose products that are certified by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) as these have met a standard of effectiveness. Some examples of VOHC-approved dental treats for cats include Greenies, Dentalife by Purina, and Dentabites from Whiskas. While tartar-control treats alone are not enough to effectively clean your cat’s teeth, they can be used alongside a regular tooth brushing routine and a healthy regimen.
Toys Can Help Too
Cats eat a lot of unhealthy stuff. Their natural diet consists of hard bones and raw meat. Chewing on bones can knock off tartar and help keep their teeth as well as their gums strong. Since indoor cats aren’t used to eating mice and other critters, some veterinarians suggest giving them hard toys to munch on. Make sure you get a toy for your cat that’s not too hard as it may cause tooth fractures. Consider looking for toys that are made specifically for cats.
Fresh Water Helps
Drinking fresh water helps rinse away any food debris stuck in your cat’s mouth after a meal, so make sure your cat always has access to clean water. Food debris nourishes the bacteria, which in turn causes gingivitis.
Never neglect your cat’s dental health! If ignored, tooth decay and gum disease can lead to heart, kidney disease, and other severe illnesses. Don’t wait until your cat shows symptoms of extreme distress to have her checked out. Most cats do not exhibit visible signs of distress until they’re in significant pain. A thorough daily dental care routine, annual checkups, and a healthy diet can ensure that your cat stays happy and strong.