Like humans, cats require regular dental care to maintain optimal health and to keep their teeth in good condition. Cat’s teeth require particular attention on the part of cat owners, as felines tend to be quite passive when it comes to dental pain and may never exhibit apparent signs of distress. Because of this, dental pain left untreated distress can affect various parts of your kitty’s life, which is why it’s important to keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy!
Signs Your Cat Could Have Dental Problems
Under a close eye, and you should be able to identify the signs of potential dental issues.
Some of the signs your cat is having dental problems may include:
- Pawing at the mouth
- Problems eating
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Loose, broken or missing teeth
- Blood in saliva
- Lesions in the mouth
- Bad breath
You can do many things to help maintain your cat’s dental health, beginning with regular check-ups by your veterinarian. Annual or semi-annual visits to the vet clinic will help identify dental issues early-on, making them easier to treat. If your cat is showing signs of dental problems, your vet may want to put them under general anesthesia to take x-rays and formulate the best possible treatment plan.
Dental Care at Home
It’s important to have a plan for home dental care that will keep your cat’s teeth clean and gums healthy. Although many pet owners assume that their cats won’t tolerate having their teeth brushed, a surprising number of kitties are okay with it! If possible, it’s best to start this practice when your cat is young, however, it’s worth a try with older pets as well.
Today, you can easily find specially-designed toothbrushes and flavoured toothpaste that will make the teeth-brushing process easier for everyone involved.
Avoid using toothbrushes and toothpaste made for humans. The shape and size of the brush may be enough to make your cat decide they want nothing to do with the idea. Additionally, human products can contain ingredients that may be harmful to your cat. Another idea is to use toothbrushes that will fit over your finger, or a bit of gauze with pet toothpaste added on, which will allow you to move your finger around in your cat’s mouth quickly.
If you’re planning to brush your cat’s teeth, it’s a good idea to have your veterinarian show you how to do it correctly.
Keeping Your Cat’s Teeth Clean with Proper Nutrition is Key
A healthy diet for your cat is important when it comes to basic dental care. Many people assume that feeding dry kibble will automatically help scrape plaque and bits of food off the cat’s teeth, but this isn’t necessarily the case. A bowl of clean water will also help with removal of residues. Therefore, ensure that your cat always has access to freshwater! Additionally, many cats who have had teeth extracted can find dry food difficult to handle, whereas wet food will be much easier for them to eat and digest.
Other Tools to Keep Your Cat's Teeth Clean
As we have become increasingly aware of the importance of dental health in cats, the retail market has come out with many new specialty products. These products can be helpful in your cat’s dental care plan, especially if your kitty is resisting having its teeth cleaned.
Some products available for keeping your cat’s teeth clean include:
- Additives that you can put in your cat’s water that are designed to prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar
- Sprays that you can apply directly to your cat’s oral cavity and teeth
- Wipes and pads that are made with products designed to keep your pet’s teeth in good condition
- Oral rinses
- Teeth-cleaning chew sticks, toys and balls that also contain catnip to entice your kitty
If you’re unsure which products are best suited for your cat, ask for the advice of your veterinarian or a trusted and experienced pet supply retailer.
Is Professional Teeth Cleaning Required?
Much of the answer to this question depends on the age, genetics, diet, lifestyle, and other health conditions in your cat. And, of course, your at-home dental care will factor into this as well. It’s a good idea to have your vet check your cats teeth regularly.
Being proactive can help your cat live a long, healthy and happy life – something we want for all of our furry felines.