Brushing the teeth of your cat is probably the only most effective way of reducing dental plaque and maintaining proper oral health among cats. Like humans, brushing won’t just prevent the formation of plaque and tartar but also reduce chances of halitosis and promote healthy gums. Whenever it is possible, you should make sure you brush your cat’s teeth at least once daily or even twice. Brushing teeth is a habit that can be introduced to your cat at any possible age.
There are few cats that are always more vulnerable than others in developing dental diseases despite the effort of their parents in preventing it. The chemical build-up of saliva is a vital factor that improves gum and dental disease in cats and also immune responses, infection with other agents and presence of bacteria. In order to help cats with serious periodontal diseases, you may require strict home care or even tooth extractions.
Periodontal Diseases – Why you need to brush your cat’s teeth?
There are many types of periodontal diseases that might lead to loss of teeth and this might have an adverse impact on the cat till 3 years of age. Depending on the overall health of the cat, the bacteria from periodontal disease can be spread for affecting different organs. Hence, one of the best ways of preventing such periodontal diseases is by brushing your cat’s teeth everyday or several times in a week.
Your cat can never be considered too young for making them habituated to the habit of brushing their teeth. The younger they are, the better for them to adapt to this habit. Nevertheless, your cat’s teeth have to be checked by the vet before you start brushing their teeth.
If your cat is suffering from severe dental issues, extraction of the teeth will be recommended by the doctor. Follow the recommendations and advices of the vet on how long you have to wait post extraction or dental cleaning before you can brush his teeth.
What you may need for brushing your cat’s teeth
Here are the few things that you will need while brushing your cat’s teeth:
- Baby toothbrush or pet toothbrush that is of the best size for your cat. In case your cat tends to be intolerant to a toothbrush, you can also use a small piece of wash cloth.
- Pet toothpaste that is safe for them
- Rewards or treats that your pet cat is crazy about
Make sure you never use toothpaste that is made for humans or baking soda for brushing your cat’s teeth. There are several ingredients within the toothpaste for humans that can lead to stomach upset among cats, in case they swallow it.
Cat toothpaste comes in different flavors like beef, poultry or fish. You might have to first try out few flavors to understand which one is being preferred by your cat. The more your cat loves the toothpaste, the easier it will be to make him accept the process of brushing.
Brushing your cat’s teeth – The techniques to apply
Now that you are aware of the fact that cats usually hate bathing in water, you have to be extra watchful while brushing his teeth. Here are the smart techniques that you can use while brushing your cat’s teeth.
- Tooth brushing has to be a bonding experience which has to be reinforced with rewards and praise. Be patient while teaching your cat how to accept the method of brushing teeth. It might take few weeks to teach him brushing. Make brushing a fun experience for your cat by giving him treats and rewards.
- You just have to brush the outer portion of the cat’s teeth, the sides that face his cheek. Make sure you do as much as your cat lets you do. Initially, you might not be able to complete the entire mouth. Don’t get impatient.
- In case you feel scared about being scratched or bitten, stop doing it. Then you may watch out for alternatives to brushing your cat’s teeth.
- Start off by letting your cat get accustomed with your toothpaste and toothbrush. Put out the toothpaste and allow him to sniff. If he licks it, you’ll know he likes it.
- As you will touch your cat’s mouth, you also have to make sure that your cat is not getting irritated at that. Lift his lips gently and rub the gums and teeth with your finger. Dip your finger into something that your cat loves like a can of tuna.
- As and when your cat gets comfortable with you touching his mouth, change from your finger to the toothpaste. If you find him getting irritated by the toothbrush, use a washcloth. Rub the cloth along the outer surfaces of the cat’s teeth.
- Brush your cat’s teeth along the gum line. Work it fast as you don’t require scrubbing. Work up to 30 seconds of brushing for each side of the mouth, at least every other day.
- In case you find him reacting to the brush, like bleeding gums or red gums, you can call your vet. The earlier you detect problems, the easier it will be to solve them on time.
Alternative home care techniques for your cat’s teeth
No matter how much you persevere, there will be few cats that will never like brushing. For them, there are other ways in which you can prevent formation of tartar and plaque.
- In case your cat is on soft food, add dry food to your cat’s diet and let him reduce tartar and plaque formation. Consult with the vet before making this change.
- Cat dental chews are available at your vet’s office and from a pet shop. They come in various flavors and can also be effective in reducing tartar and plaque.
- If your cat loves the toothpaste, apply some toothpaste to dental chews and dry food to let the toothpaste rub inside the mouth.
So, now that you’re aware of the ways in which you can brush your cat’s teeth, what are you waiting for? Try your best to get him habituated with the habit of brushing teeth so that he can stay away from oral diseases.