How to Keep Your Cat's Teeth Clean Part 2

Keeping your cat’s teeth clean and healthy is an essential part of their overall health.

Not many people realize that their cat’s teeth need regular attention and care. Part of this stems from the fact that cats are incredibly independent animals who are generally perfectly content to do the vast majority of their own grooming. Another common reason is that cats aren’t super tolerant of being groomed. However, cat dental care is crucial if you want your cat to live a long, healthy life, and the good news is that there are lots of things you can do at home to maintain good oral health in your cat. In our last blog, we went over a couple of tips to help you keep your cat’s teeth clean, including a step-by-step guide on how to brush your cat’s teeth. Keep reading to learn more helpful cat dental care tips:

#3. Exchange fattening, store-bought treats for fresh veggies.

Many of the cat treats that you find at the pet store are full of not-so-great ingredients for your cat’s teeth, or for their health as a whole for that matter. But, luckily, there are a number of fresh vegetables that you can treat your cat with instead that are chock-full of nutrients. Some of them, like celery and carrots, could even help to clean your cat’s teeth as they’re chomping on them. Please keep in mind that, before you decide to give your cat any people food, always check to make sure that it’s safe for cats to eat, and if you ever have questions or concerns about any foods, talk to your veterinarian before giving it to your cat.  

#4. Stimulate your cat’s gums.

If your cat will let you, massaging your cat’s gums on a regular basis is a great way to keep their teeth and mouth healthy. How? Because in the vast majority of cases, tooth decay stems from gums that are inflamed, irritated or infected, and when you massage your cat’s gums, it stimulates healing and builds strength in the gums. Plus, stimulating your cat’s gums regularly will help you to keep an eye on them. Your cat’s gums should look pink, but if they look red or irritated, it could be a sign of a problem, and the sooner you can catch the first sign of trouble, the more treatable the problem will be.

#5. Give your cat a bone to chew.

Most people know that dogs like to chew bones, but did you know that cats do, too? Because cats are predatory animals, in the wild, hard bones is a natural part of their diet. Chewing on bones will help to keep your cat’s teeth clean, and it’s part of the reason why wild cats can get by without having their teeth brushed. But, make sure you give your cat the right kind of bones. Avoid fish, chicken or pork bones, as they are prone to splintering. Additionally, raw bones are generally a better option for cats, as they aren’t as likely to splinter.

#6. Spoil your cat with dental treats.

There are many different kinds of cat treats specifically made to help maintain healthy teeth and gums. Some of these treats can even help to improve your cat’s breath. How do cat dental treats help to clean their teeth? Many of them are made with an enzymes that actually help to eat away at the plaque on your cat’s teeth. But, keep in mind that, with any treats, it’s important to read the ingredients and not to overdo it. The last thing that you want is to help your cat have healthy teeth, only to have to deal with obesity and the many other health concerns surrounding it. Did you know that >50% of all dental disease takes place underneath the gumline in cats? The only way to properly diagnose dental disease in cats is with both a full oral exam and dental radiographs taken under anesthesia. Dental lesions in cats can be the silent but painful lurkers in your cat’s mouth.

Turn to The Vet Set for professional pet dental care in Carroll Gardens!

Although there are lots of things you can do at home to keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy, regardless of what you’re doing at home, it’s important to have your veterinarian examine your pet’s teeth every time they stop in for their annual wellness visit. Additionally, if your cat won’t allow you to brush their teeth at home, it never hurts to have your cat’s teeth professionally cleaned. And, luckily, at our new veterinary clinic, we have everything we need to provide your cat with high-quality dental care. Schedule your appointment today!

How to Keep Your Cat's Teeth Clean

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Your Guide to Apartment Living With a Pet Part 3

Living in an apartment with a pet can be challenging

With neighbors all around you looking for some peace and quiet, a landlord to contend with and the inconvenience of not having a yard to let your pet out into, owning a pet when you live in an apartment can seem like more hassle than it’s worth. But, if you ask almost any pet owner, they’ll you that they wouldn’t trade their fur baby for anything. The truth is that that the love of a pet is worth any struggle or inconvenience raising them may cause, and there are lots of things that you can do as a pet owner to make living in an apartment with a pet easier on you both. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series to learn about the steps we’ve already covered for apartment living with a pet, and keep reading to learn about the last few steps.

Step 6. Devise a plan for smells and waste.

A kitty litter box in a small space can quickly make your entire apartment stink to high heaven, so it’s important to have a plan in place for keeping those odors at bay. One of the most important things you can do to reduce odors is to make it a point to scoop out your cat’s litter box on a daily basis and replace the litter every week. The box itself should replaced on an annual basis — or sooner if it starts to smell. You could also consider investing in an air purifier or plants that help to purify the air (just make sure they aren’t toxic to cats in case your cat tries to chew them). If you are raising a puppy who can’t quite hold it until you get home, section off a small area of your home so that they don’t have accidents all over. Consider investing in absorbent puppy pads to prevent your new puppy from ruining the flooring in your apartment, and change them after every accident. And, when accidents do occur, make sure that you clean them up completely.

Step 7. Develop a routine.

Regardless of where you live, developing a routine for your pet is important, but it’s especially important for people living in apartments. Make sure that you feed your pet, take them outside for bathroom breaks and exercise them at the same time every day. But what makes developing a routine for your pet so important? For starters, both cats and dogs are creatures of habit, and it will be easier and less stressful for your pet to get through the day when they know what to expect. To put it simply, when your pet has a set routine, they will more secure in the world around them, which is important with all of the noises in a typical apartment.

Step 8. Socialize your pet.

Socializing your pet is important no matter where you live, but when you live in an apartment with other people close by, the need to socialize your pet becomes even greater. Chances are, many of your neighbors have pets too, or there are other pets being walked and played with in your neighborhood. Having an anti-social or aggressive pet will make every single trip outside difficult and nerve-wracking for both you and your pet, so socializing your pet is of the utmost importance. Scheduling play dates with friends who have pets, enrolling your pet into daycare with other pets and taking your dog to the dog park are all great ways to encourage your pet to be more social. We hope that this guide will help to quell some of your concerns about living in an apartment with a pet, and make it easier on both you and your pet. If you have any questions or concerns, contact our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens today! We’re always happy to help!

Your Guide to Apartment Living With a Pet Part 2

Are you considering bringing in a pet to live with you in your apartment in Carroll Gardens?

When it comes to owning a pet, people who live in homes with fenced-in yards definitely have it the easiest. When you have a backyard, exercising your pet can be as simple as throwing the ball around, and you don’t have to stand outside in the cold to let them relieve themselves. However, just because you live in an apartment, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the happiness that pet ownership brings to your life. In fact, there are lots of things you can do to make the entire experience easier on both you and your pet. In Part 1 of this step-by-step guide to living in an apartment with a pet, we went over the importance of talking with your landlord, finding the right breed and pet-proofing your apartment. Keep reading to learn about the next couple steps:

Step 4. Make sure that there is plenty of room in your schedule.

When you have a backyard with a doggy door that allows your pet to come and go as they please, it’s less important that you are able to make it home every few hours to let them out, but it’s still essential that you give them plenty of love and attention. However, when you live in an apartment, it’s much more important that there is room in your schedule to come home and take care of your pet at regular intervals during the day, especially if you have a dog. And, while older, properly trained dogs may be able to hold it for long periods of time, that doesn’t mean that they should have to. Just like in people, dogs can develop health issues, including urinary stones and urinary tract infections, when they are made to hold it too long too often. Although cats are known for being independent, solidarity animals, they are more social than you might realize. Your cat’s litter box may eliminate any physical need for you to make special trips home in the middle of the day, but on an emotional level, cats still need plenty of cuddles and affection.

Step 5. Keep your pet properly entertained.

Typically, dogs sleep anywhere from 12 to 14 hours per day; cats sleep anywhere from 12 to 16 hours per day, and for puppies and kittens, it’s more like 20 hours. However, all of that time spent sleeping does not mean that your pet is immune to boredom. And, a bored pet is often a mischievous pet, and it could lead to the development of bad habits, like chewing up your shoes, destroying your furniture, constant barking, whining, getting into the trash can and a whole host of other, not-so-nice behaviors. Preventing your pet from getting lonely and bored is one of the reasons why it’s so important that you make sure there is enough room in your schedule to actually take care of a pet before you get one. In addition, you can also make it a point to provide your pet with plenty of toys to keep them entertained while you are gone. And, a stringent exercise routine every day will help to drain a lot of that excess energy. We just have a couple more steps to go over to help you master apartment living with your new furry friend, and as always, if you have questions or concerns about the information provided, or about how to care for your new pet, please don’t hesitate to contact us. As your neighborhood veterinary clinic in Carroll Gardens, your pet’s health is our number one priority!

Your Guide to Apartment Living With a Pet

Living in an apartment with a pet can be tricky, but there are many things that you can do to make it easier.

For people with the luxury of fenced-in backyards, taking care of a pet is easier than it is for people who live in the close quarters of an apartment, with neighbors close by and landlords to contend with. However, just because you live in an apartment, it doesn’t mean that you can’t experience the many joys of adopting a cat or dog into your family. In fact, there are many different things you can do to make apartment living with a pet easy and painless, and your go-to veterinary clinic in Carroll Gardens — The Vet Set — has come up with this step-by-step guide to help:

Step 1: Talk to your landlord.

You should never just assume that your landlord is okay with you adopting a pet. The last thing that you want is to violate your lease agreement somehow and end up getting evicted for the sole reason that you did not discuss adopting a pet with your landlord. You should also avoid sneaking a pet into an apartment that isn’t pet friendly. Eventually, your secret will be found out no matter how sneaky you are, and then you’ll be faced with an eviction or the reality that you’ll have to give up your pet. But, there are additional things to consider, even if your landlord allows pets. Some landlords will have certain requirements about the size or breed of the pet in question, and others might require an additional deposit or monthly pet rent.

Step 2. Do your research on the type of pet to get.

While most animals can do well in an apartment if you are willing to put in the time and energy necessary, there are some breeds that just aren’t the best fit for apartment living — and that can be true of both dogs and cats. Here are some things to consider when determining if a certain breed will do well in an apartment:
  • How much do they bark or yowl?
  • How much exercise do they require?
  • Will they tear up your home if they miss a walk?
  • Are they friendly/social enough to be around the other people and animals in your building?
Check out our previous blog series to learn about the best dog breeds for apartment living.

Step 3. Pet-proof your home.

Pet-proofing your home is important no matter where you live, but when getting your deposit back at the end of your lease is riding on how well you take care of the home, it’s especially important. Here are some helpful tips for pet-proofing your apartment:
  • Be choosy about furniture fabric - When you’re looking at furniture, it’s important to note that some furniture fabrics are better equipped to stand up to shedding and sharp nails and teeth than others. A few fabrics that hold up well to the abuses of pets include leather or pleather, denim, microfiber and canvas.
  • Keep cords and wires out of reach - Curious kittens and puppies test out the world around them in a few different ways, but most often, they do so by putting things in their mouths. It’s all too common for puppies and especially kittens to get electrocuted by chewing on power cords, so keep them well away.
  • Install safety locks on cabinets - As we’ve mentioned, pets are curious about their surrounding, and, naturally, they’ll do some exploring. There are many things that cats and dogs shouldn’t be exposed to, including many types of cleaning products, medications and foods. To ensure that your pet can’t get access to these things in your cabinets, consider installing safety locks.
  • Invest in pet gates - There are some areas of your home where you just don’t want your pets to go, like the bathroom, your closet (with your shoe collection!) or maybe the kitchen. One great way to keep your pet out of these area is to use a pet gate.
  • Buy a trash can that can’t be knocked over - Both cats and dogs have been known to knock over trash cans when they smell something interesting inside. So, invest in a trash can that they can’t knock over, or place the trash can under the sink or in the pantry if possible.
  • Be careful with household plants - There are some plants that are best avoided in homes with pets because they are toxic to them. For example, aloe vera, jade and rosemary are all toxic to dogs, and carnations, lilies, roses and daisies are toxic to cats.
These are just three of the many steps you’ll need to take for giving your pet a happy, healthy life in your apartment, and in our next blog, we’ll be going over a few more, so make sure you stay tuned. If you have questions or concerns about living in an apartment with a pet, or your pet is in need of veterinary care, please contact us! We are always happy to help!

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