Tips to Improving Your Cat’s Dental Health
22 October, 2013
It is really important to keep your cat’s teeth clean. While it’s probably not the first thing you might think of in your cat’s well being, your kitty’s dental health is as important as your cat’s diet. If you can start brushing your cat’s teeth at an early age, it will only help your kittens get comfortable and/or used to the process.
Cats start to have dental issues at an early age
Most cats over the age of three have some kind of dental problem. By the time they are eight years old, the majority of cats are in need of dental work at the vets. By the time they’re in their teens, pretty much all cats need dental work including extractions (or their teeth will simply fall out)! You should have your cat’s teeth checked by your vet if they haven’t been in the last year, and don’t be surprised if your cat needs dental work. It is typical in both cats and dogs.
Try to make the cleaning a fun experience
When doing the cleaning at home, you can try to make tooth brushing a game by playing with your cat first so you can get rid of some excess energy. Throw a mouse around or simply try to clean your cat’s teeth after he or she has awaked from a nap.
Try the next four steps for a successful clean:
1. Place a little bit of cat toothpaste on your finger and let your kitty lick if off. Try this several times until your cat gets used to it.
2. You don’t actually have to open up the cat’s mouth. You can pull up their lips from the side and brush from there. You can use any small toothbrush, but one that is made for cats will be easier, particularly those ones you can put on your finger.
3. Then place your finger with the toothpaste on it against his mouth. You can graduate to using a thin washcloth or gauze wrapped around your finger to use as a brush which is usually less foreign to a cat than a toothbrush.
4. Eventually, you will desensitize your cat to open up his or her mouth with one hand and using a toothbrush in the other. If your cat is highly sensitive, this may take several weeks. Otherwise, it may just be a few days especially if he really likes the toothpaste and brushing.
Make sure to purchase specific cat toothpaste
There are both cat toothbrushes and toothpaste on the market that are specifically designed to make the cleaning process easier. The cat toothpaste is flavored so your cat might open his mouth to lick the toothpaste and it will make it easier. Ask your pet store or vet what they recommend. Whatever you do, don’t use human toothpaste to brush your cat’s teeth as it is counterproductive and unhealthy for your cat.
While brushing your cat’s teeth can be difficult, if you start while your cats are young, they will be used to it and the process will be that much easier for both of you.