Believe it or not, dental care is incredibly important for your cat.
Cats are extremely independent animals, especially when compared to other pets. Not only are cats great at entertaining themselves, but they also know how to expertly groom themselves. But, while your cat may be able to keep most of their body reasonably hygenic on their own, their teeth are a whole other matter. Many cat parents don’t realize that it’s even necessary to take care of their cat’s teeth in the first place, which is probably why periodontal disease (a fancy way of saying gum disease) is the most common disease found in cats today. However, there are a number of things you can do to keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy, including:
#1. Brush your cat’s teeth.
The best thing you can do to keep your cat’s teeth clean is to make it a point to brush them on a regular basis. However, most cats aren’t huge fans of being poked and prodded, and if you’ve ever tried and failed to brush your cat’s teeth in the past, you’re not alone. Here’s a step-by-step guide to make brushing your cat’s teeth a little easier on both you and your cat.
- Get your cat used to the idea – Your cat isn’t likely going to be too thrilled about the idea of you unceremoniously sticking a toothbrush in their mouth. It’s best to let your cat ease into getting their teeth brushed. Dip your finger in wet cat food or tuna, then let them sniff and lick your finger. The dip your finger again, and rub it gently on your cat’s teeth and gums. After you’ve done this a few times, your cat will get more comfortable with the idea of getting their teeth brushed.
- Find the right toothbrush – There are many different toothbrush options available to you; you just have to find one that works well for you and your cat. One great option is to simply wrap gauze around your finger and gently rub your cat’s teeth with it. But, there are also sponges, finger toothbrushes and other pet toothbrushes made specifically for cats.
- Find the right toothpaste – It’s important to note that you should never use toothpaste designed for humans on your cat. Human toothpastes contain chemicals that are toxic to cats and dangerous when swallowed. Plus, cats actually tend to like the taste of toothpaste made specifically for them, because it’s typically flavored to taste like fish, chicken, bacon or something else they enjoy. No matter which toothpaste you choose, let your cat taste a small amount before you brush their teeth with it.
- Be gentle when brushing your cat’s teeth – You could easily irritate your cat’s gums if you brush too vigorously, so always make it a point to be gentle when brushing. Your cat is not going to allow you to brush the inward facing surfaces of their teeth, but brushing the surfaces that face the cheeks will make a huge difference. When brushing, pay special attention to the canines and upper molars, as plaque tends to build up quickly on these teeth.
- Reward your cat – Your cat’s first instinct is probably not to sit there and allow you to brush their teeth, so make sure you reward them with a kiss and plenty of love. And, rewarding your cat will hopefully make it easier to brush their teeth next time!
#2. Be choosy about what you feed your cat.
The kind and quality of the food you feed your cat can have a huge impact on their oral health. Cats who are fed mostly sticky, wet food will more than likely have more trouble with oral health problems than cats who eat a mix of wet and dry food, or just dry food.
While there are many things you can do at home to keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy, sometimes, you need the help of a professional veterinary clinic on your side, and that’s where we come in. We’re The Vet Set, and we’re proud to provide you with the compassionate care your cat needs in Carroll Gardens. Contact us today to schedule your cat’s dental appointment!
Want to learn more helpful tips for keeping your cat’s teeth clean and healthy? If so, stay tuned for our next blog.