Just like humans, cats need dental care. Oral health is an important part of your feline friend's overall health and wellbeing. Today, our South Wilton vets talk about how to keep your cat's mouth and teeth clean and healthy.
Why is dental care important for cats?
It can be difficult to spot oral health issues in your cat early on when they are easiest to treat and they could be suffering from a painful oral health issue without ever letting on that they are uncomfortable. This is why it's important to be conscious of your feline companion's oral health. By regularly cleaning your kitty's teeth at home and bringing them in for annual dental checkups, you can detect oral health issues early and potentially help your cat avoid pain and expensive treatments.
What will happen at a cat dental checkup?
To make sure that your cat's mouth remains pain-free and healthy, our South Wilton vets recommend making annual dental care visits to your vet's office a part of their preventative healthcare routine.
During your appointment, your vet will clean and examine your cat's teeth and gums, checking for any signs of periodontal disease (gum disease), tooth decay, or other oral health issues. They will discuss their findings with you and let you know if they recommend any further treatments.
Routine Dental Care For Cats
It is important that you take care of your cat's teeth at home in between professional visits. To make cleaning your cat's teeth at home as easy and stress-free as possible, it is best to start when your kitty is still young if possible.
Your goal is to make brushing your cat's teeth a stress-free and easy part of your cat's daily routine. Begin by waiting until your cat is calm and relaxed, then follow these steps:
- Gently lift your cat's lips, then use your finger to massage their teeth and gums for just a few seconds.
- Go slow. Don't expect too much from your cat at first: you may only be able to reach a couple of teeth the first few times your try this process.
- Remain calm and be sure to give lots of praise and a yummy treat after your teeth-and-gum massage. You're trying to build trust and your cat’s tolerance to the experience, gradually increase the length of time you spend on the task each day.
- Once your feline friend is used to you massaging their gums each day, you will be able to gradually introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush you can acquire from your vet and some special cat toothpaste. Toothpaste can come in a range of excellent flavors for cats like beef or chicken.
- Begin using the toothbrush as gradually as you did the teeth-and-gum massage; your cat may begin with licking just a small dab of toothpaste from your finger.
Not every cat will respond well to having their teeth brushed. Some cat owners find they have an easier time cleaning their cat's teeth with some gauze while others prefer to apply a dental gel with their fingers that will do the work for them.
If your cat is stressed or alarmed by the teeth cleaning process they may react by scratching or biting. If you are finding the process is not working for you there are other alternatives to consider such as adding plaque remover into their drinking water, getting them specially designed chew toys or providing your cat with tasty dental treats.
Regular at-home cleanings and annual dental checkups are the best way to prevent long-term oral health issues for your cat. If you notice your cat is experiencing any discomfort around their mouth, or notice signs of infection or inflammation be sure to bring your cat in for an appointment right away.
To find out more about the veterinary dental care available here at our South Wilton animal hospital check out our dentistry page.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
Is it time for your cat's annual dental exam? Contact our South Wilton vets to book an appointment today!
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