5 Ways to Clean Your Cat's Teeth
- by Rufus and Coco
Cats are experts when it comes to hiding symptoms of illness, which can pose a challenge for their pet owners. They sometimes end up being brought to the vet with conditions that have become more severe over time without them showing any signs of pain or discomfort.
Your pet’s teeth influence your cat’s general health. In the absence of good dental hygiene, your cat can develop periodontal disease, lose their teeth, or be more likely to develop cardiovascular health issues.
Here are several ways on how you can keep your cat’s teeth healthy without the extra cost of depending on groomers to do it for you.
Create a dental cleaning routine early
Although cats aren’t likely to learn how to perform tricks or listen to commands as their canine counterparts, they still thrive on a routine. And this refers to things like the times of day you feed your pet, when you play with them, or give them cuddles.
If you get your cat accustomed to the idea that you will clean their teeth once every two days or so, they’ll be less reluctant to put up with the procedure down the line.
Unfortunately, teaching a senior or an adult cat to get used to having their teeth brushed will be more challenging and time-consuming. But if you're persistent enough, it can still be done.
A large share of cat diets explicitly made to support dental health is available today. Our best advice would be to talk to your veterinarian and ask them which of the many options is actually a good choice for your pet.
Consulting your vet when making a decision is important as not all cats have the same health status, age, or even the same level of activity.
In any case, most dental diets are pretty good at delaying tartar and plaque deposits from forming on your pet’s teeth.
Cats don’t chew on things as much as dogs do, and that can actually be a bit of a problem. But as with any other pet, especially indoor cats, they are motivated by food and treats.
Dental chews are usually dry and have a specific surface - one that can remove some of the bacterial plaque that might have built up on your pet’s teeth. They aren’t as rough as to lead to gum damage, but they are abrasive enough to do what they're supposed to.
This is a fairly new and groundbreaking type of product that can be used on both cats and dogs. The Rufus & Coco Breath Buddy, for example, contains natural ingredients that support oral health and give your cat a pleasant breath without you even having to brush their teeth.
But are water additives a good substitute for brushing your cat’s teeth? Unfortunately, no. They are great for disinfecting your cat’s mouth, therefore making it harder for bacterial plaque to build up and cause problems like cavities. But if your cat’s teeth tend to develop tartar fast, you still need to brush them once a day or once every two days.
Massage your cat’s gums as you brush their teeth
This might sound a little ridiculous if you always need a helper to clean your cat’s teeth and they seem to put up a fight each time you attempt to touch their mouth.
But the truth is that massaging your cat’s gums each time you get the opportunity, even while playing with them, can promote healing. It can also lead to them being more resistant in case a dangerous germ does end up in your pet’s mouth.
Your cat’s gums should be light pink. If they are any other colour, including red, and show signs of bleeding or inflammation, that might be a symptom of dental disease, and you should definitely take them to the vet for a checkup.
It goes without saying that you should never use human toothpaste and a human toothbrush for cleaning your cat’s teeth. The toothpaste you use every day may contain menthol and xylitol, none of which can positively influence your cat’s health.
These days, cat toothpaste varieties can even come with attractive flavours like chicken or salmon, so try to find the product that your mate seems to like the most – this will make your life easier when brushing their teeth.
Try to keep things as relaxed as possible, and don’t use too much pressure or force while brushing. Otherwise, you risk causing a small gum haemorrhage which can always be an entryway for germs that typically live inside your pet’s mouth.
Have patience and reward your cat with a few nice dental chews or by playing with them or brushing their coat. If you don’t compensate them for their good behaviour (even if they were being difficult), they will interpret the experience as being an entirely negative one.