Posted on: 16 February 2016Share
Practicing good dental hygiene isn't just for people. All sorts of animals suffer from dental problems and benefit from good dental maintenance. It can be much harder to get them to participate in the process, though. Here are 5 tips for keeping your cat's teeth in good condition.
- Get a yearly checkup. Your veterinarian is your best ally in keeping your cat's teeth and gums healthy. For this reason, be sure to keep to a regular schedule of annual checkups that include a thorough dental cleaning. This process is generally more expensive than cleaning a human's teeth because the cat is anesthetized for the cleaning. Even with this cost, though, it will be less expensive to keep the teeth in good shape than it will be to repair or pull them.
- Start young. If you can, it's best to try to establish a dental routine while the cat is young so it can acclimate to the idea. You can use a finger and some gauze or cat toothpaste to rub on the gums. Add a little oily tuna liquid on the finger to help encourage the cat to allow you to touch their mouth. Be sure to only use cat toothpaste since the fluoride in human toothpaste can make your cat seriously ill.
- Try brushing. It may seem crazy, but brushing a cat's teeth is possible. Start by using your finger as mentioned above, then graduate to cleaning with a kitty toothbrush and a little feline toothpaste. Hold the cat from behind, support the chin and lift his lips to reach the teeth.
- Maintain a healthy diet. As with humans, diet can make a big difference in how healthy the mouth is. For a cat, this includes a good variety of dry and wet cat foods. You can also include healthy alternatives like de-boned raw meat and even bones. Chewing on bones helps remove tartar and plaque from the teeth. Look for specially-selected raw bones but avoid pork, chicken or fish bones (these could splinter and cause injury).
- Don't forget the gums. Irritated or inflamed gums cause a great deal of tooth decay problems, so don't ignore the cat's gums. You can stimulate the healing process in gums by gently massaging them. Be aware of how the cat's gums are supposed to look -- pink and healthy -- so you can be alert for any signs of gum disease.
By following these 5 steps, you can help ensure a long, healthy and active life for your four-legged friend. Speak with a veterinarian from a company like Chester Valley Veterinary Hospital if you have additional questions about your cat's oral health.