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Blog - cat dental care

Home Dental Care for Cats

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Dental care for cats is something most cat owners haven't been keen to look into. However, the reality is that dental care and hygiene is more important than you might realize. Like human teeth, cat's teeth are sensitive and require the same care and attention as ours.

This article looks at dental care for cats and why you should take your cat's oral health seriously.

Why is Dental Care Important for Cats?

Dental diseases are prevalent in cats and can be costly. Studies show that roughly 70% of cats are affected by a dental disease before they're three years old, with the infection likelihood increasing as they age.

Naturally, cats clean their teeth by chewing grass or bones. However, in domestic settings, they rarely tend to their teeth. Therefore, we need to help them observe good oral hygiene.

Signs of Dental Discomfort in Cats

Since cats can't communicate to show dental discomfort, some of the signs to look out for include;

  • Bad breath
  • Feeding and chewing discomfort
  • Behavioral changes like sensitivity to being touched and hiding
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Infrequent grooming
  • Red, bleeding, and inflamed gums
  • Drooling

Some of the symptoms listed above may be similar to those of other feline medical conditions. Have your kitty examined by a veterinarian should you notice any of these symptoms.

Effects of Poor Dental Hygiene in Cats

Good oral hygiene is significant in your cat's health status and well-being. If not correctly handled, it can cause dental diseases including;

  • Bad breath
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Dental abscesses
  • Infections and mouth sores
  • Tooth loss and resorption

Ultimately, if poor or no dental care persists, long-term consequences such as kidney, liver, and heart diseases may appear. Luckily, with constant dental care, you can significantly reduce or even entirely avoid these health issues.

Essentials for Caring for Your Cat's Teeth

Before you begin a home-care routine, you must schedule a dental health assessment. Your vet will check your cat's oral health status, give advice, show you how to brush your cat's teeth, and recommend the best cat dental care products.

Your kitty may also need professional cleaning before you start home dental care. Once you're on the clear, these are the products that will get you started on your cat's dental care journey;

Cat tooth-brush—Buy one with small spaces, soft bristles, and an angled head. You can also opt for finger tooth-brushes that are set directly into the finger. (If you’re really brave!!!)

Cat toothpaste— Only use toothpaste precisely formulated for cats. Don't attempt to use human toothpaste as some have ingredients that can be toxic to cats. Cat toothpaste is 100% safe to swallow and contains cat-friendly flavors.

Dental treats and chews —Dental treats can help clean your cat's teeth through natural chewing action to reduce tartar and plaque buildup. It's especially helpful for cats who dislike brushing. This may be the only way you can help provide daily dental care for feral cats.

Tips to Brush your Cat's Teeth

1. Get your cat accustomed to having your fingers near and eventually touching her mouth.

2. Familiarize your cat with the smell of the toothpaste. Leave the tooth-brush and toothpaste out where your cat can inspect them.

3. Familiarize your cat with the taste of the toothpaste. Using your finger, apply a tiny bit of toothpaste to one of their teeth, followed by a reward.

4. Get your cat used to the tooth-brush. Put a pea-size bit of toothpaste on the brush and let them lick it off. If uncooperative, apply it near the mouth and follow with a reward.

5. Gently and soothingly position your cat on your laps, stretch their lips far enough and gently insert the brush along with the gum line 45-degrees to the teeth. Brush the upper and lower front teeth gently. As your cat gets comfortable, gradually work towards reaching the back teeth.

6. Set a routine and follow every tooth-brushing session with a treat, praise, or playtime.

Along with good nutrition, brushing your cat's teeth is a great way to avoid dental diseases. Introduce dental care to your cat at a young age while regularly scheduling for vet visits. Your vet can diagnose and treat dental problems early enough before they escalate into serious health problems.

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