Do Cats Teeth Need To Be Cleaned?
Cats, just like humans (and dogs!), need to have their teeth cleaned. Often times, this process can be a little intimidating given that cats are pretty opinionated about when and where they want to be touched - if at all. However, with some practice and a little bit of patience, cleaning your cat's teeth can and should be accomplished fairly regularly. There are a few ways to keep your kitty's teeth pearly white without the stress.
An important thing to remember when brushing your cat's teeth is to never use toothpaste made for humans. Cats can't spit and therefor the fluoride and other ingredients in our toothpaste can make them sick. There are special toothpastes made specifically for cats such as Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Malt Toothpaste which you can use without concern for harm.
You can purchase a kitty toothbrush. Alternatively, you can take gauze, wrap it around your finger and use that as a toothbrush. You'll want to make sure to start slowly and gently. One of the best techniques is to try to cuddle your cat on your lap from behind - gently cup their face and lift their chin for positioning. You can do this a few times with something delicious on your finger, such as tuna water or milk and this will familiarize them with the brushing experience. If at first you can only get one side or even just one tooth, don’t be discouraged - keep trying! With patience and practice, you'll soon be able to get all those teeth clean for beloved kitty!
2. Non –Brushing Techniques:
If your feline is anxious or standoffish and you know they won't put up with the brushing, there are alternative ways to keep your cat's teeth clean.. Your local pet store should have a gel that you can put on your kitty’s gums and they also have a water tablet additive that will help clean teeth as they drink. Just make sure that these don’t affect their eating and drinking habits, which can sometimes happen if they don’t like the taste or smell of the product. One other thing you can try are dental chews. The chewing will loosen the plaque and help keep teeth sparkling!
3. Dental Cleaning:
Are you worried that your cat already has a lot of plaque build-up? At this point, your cat's health may be at risk and you'll want to contact your vet to see if they need to get their teeth professionally cleaned. The process is much like when you go to the dentist for a cleaning - they will scrap the teeth and remove all the tartar and plaque that has made a home on your cat's teeth. You'll want to read up on if you want to go with anaesthesia or non-anaesthesia cleaning.
However you choose to clean your cat's teeth, taking the steps to make sure your furry family has good oral care is what matters most!