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Dental Hygiene for Cats 101

Dental Hygiene for Cats 101

When people think about cat care, they rarely think about brushing any cat’s teeth. Feline chompers aren’t exactly friendly, and putting your finger anywhere near them doesn’t seem like a good idea. However, cats need their teeth to be taken care of. If care doesn’t happen, dental issues can lead to other problems and considerable pain for your furry friend. At Antelope Valley, we do everything we can to empower cat owners to give their pets the best care. In today’s blog, we want to talk about dental hygiene!

Dental Hygiene for Cats 101

Stay aware.

It is normal for cats to have mildly fishy breath. However, if your cat’s breath could knock you over, that is a clear indicator that something is up with his oral health. Don’t ignore it an hope it goes away; oral problems generally don’t get better without treatment. Keep an eye out for drooling as well, which is also an indicator of tooth decay and/or gum disease.

Normalize cleaning.

Cat teeth need to be cleaned just like ours. The more comfortable your cat is with cleaning, the better. As you can imagine, adult cats are the most resistant to learning teeth cleaning, so if you can, start cleaning early. If you have a kitten, you can use gauze or a finger cot with cat toothpaste. You can also make the experience more pleasant by dipping your finger in tuna water and rubbing it over your cat’s gums.

Stimulate your cat’s gums.

Most tooth decay beings with irritated gums. Try to massage your cat’s gums whenever possible. It will make the gums stronger and accelerate any healing that is happening. Like we said in the previous point, you can dip your fingers in tuna water to make it easier on everyone.

Manage the treats.

There are plenty of tartar control chews and treats for cats, but they won’t do a complete job. If you clean your cat’s teeth regularly, add the tartar cleaning treats and use them as rewards when your cat cooperates with teeth cleaning.

Maintain a good diet.

Your cat’s mouth will do better when you give it both wet and dry foods. Vary the meats as well; you don’t have to stick to fish. Branch out to rabbit and beef as well.

Learn proper teeth brushing technique.

We’ve all seen our cats yawn, and all that’s in there is a pink tongue and a bunch of pointy, unfriendly teeth. The last thing anyone wants to do is stick a finger in there. However, contrary to popular belief, you can brush your cat’s teeth. Cradle the cat from behind, cup his chin, and gently pull up his lip to clean his teeth using either a kitty toothbrush or a gauze-covered finger. Never use toothpaste made for people. It usually contains fluoride, which can make your cat very sick.

Veterinarian CTA Final

Have a yearly checkup.

When you head to the veterinarian for that yearly checkup, add in a dental checkup. Many people don’t think about the dental aspect when headed to the vet, but cats are just like people in that dental issues can cause them a lot of suffering.

Be deliberate during the checkup.

When you see your veterinarian, make sure you share whether or not your cat is bleeding from the mouth or has bad breath. Keep in mind that the occasional bleeding gum isn’t a problem, but if you’re seeing blood and smelling bad breath, something is probably up. If the vet fails to check your cat’s teeth on his or her own, ask for the checkup. The vet should be able to tell if your cat’s gums are prone to irritation and bleeding.

Provide chewing bones.

Most people think dogs when they think of chewing bones, but cats can benefit from them, too. After all, cats are predators, and part of their diet should consist of hard bones. Bones keep the teeth and gums healthy and also knock off tartar. Just make sure you never give your cat chicken, fish, or pork bones, which can splinter and cause terrible internal injuries. Raw bones are the best, because they are less likely to splinter.

Don’t put treatment off.

As we said in the beginning of this blog, dental problems generally don’t improve with time. They have been linked with other health problems, including chronic heart and kidney disease. Do not wait until your cat is in trouble to have his teeth inspected. Cats are tough, and they won’t show signs of pain until it’s pretty advanced. Preventative care is key!

Turn to Antelope Valley Animal Hospital

At Antelope Valley, we are passionate about keeping all kinds of pets healthy, including cats. When you bring your cat to us, we will always check his gums and ensure everything is going well. Contact us for preventative care or treatment for your furry friend today!

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