As a pet parent, you want your cat to live a long, happy life, and having healthy teeth and gums plays a key role in the overall health of your cat. Poor dental hygiene can lead to many other health issues.
So what can you do to ensure your kitty has a beautiful bite? You can start by taking small steps to improve your pet’s dental health. One of the most beneficial ways to ensure less trips to the vet is by brushing your cat’s teeth. Here are some tips to help make toothbrushing a paw-sitive experience for your kitty.
Rubber finger brush, small soft-bristle toothbrush, cat toothpaste or cat dental gel, a meaty treat such as frozen Rabbit Mini Patties.
Begin getting your cat used to dental care as early as possible. Gently lift your cat’s lips and expose the teeth and then reward them with a treat. Start by using a rubber finger brush and a meaty or sticky treat instead of toothpaste. Let your cat lick the treat off the finger brush and then rub the finger brush on their teeth. When your cat feels comfortable with the finger brush, repeat the same steps with the toothbrush.
Once your cat is accustomed to having the finger brush and toothbrush in their mouth and on their teeth, you can switch from using a treat to using a cat-safe toothpaste or gel; there are even cat toothpastes with flavors like seafood or poultry. Let your cat taste the toothpaste before beginning, so they know what to expect. Never use a human toothpaste as it may contain ingredients that could upset your cat’s tummy.
Brush your cat’s teeth the same way you brush your own teeth. Gently brush the outside surfaces of the teeth and gum line at a 45o angle in a circular motion, making sure to reach the upper canine teeth and molars, focusing on areas that contain plaque. It’s also very beneficial to brush the inside surfaces of the teeth, although for some cats this is too invasive. Go slowly with your cat and build up their confidence. Never force your cat to have their teeth brushed. Just take a break and give your cat lots of treats and praise for being brave.
Watch For Warning Signs
If you notice bleeding while brushing your cat’s teeth, consult a veterinarian as it may be a sign of gum disease or other dental issues. Other signs your cat may need to see a veterinarian include loose, cracked or broken teeth, bad breath, drooling, or teeth that have heavy discoloration or buildup.
The key to good oral health is prevention which is why regularly brushing your cat’s teeth is so important. Ideally, you should be brushing your cat’s teeth every day. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate dental cleaning schedule for your cat, both at home and professionally, and maintain that schedule.
The Diet Dental Connection
Making changes to your cat’s diet can help improve dental health naturally. Starch found in commercial pet foods causes tartar buildup which can lead to dental disease and mouth infections. Feeding your cat a raw diet can benefit their oral health. The crunching of a raw diet helps remove tartar and plaque and stimulates gums which increases circulation and strengthens teeth. Crunchy Treats and Snacks, like Duck Necks and Salmon Skins, promote healthy chewing and are an excellent source of protein and energy for cats.
If you’d like to start promoting your cat’s oral health with raw food and treats, visit a local retailer and stop by a Vital Essentials RAW BAR to grab a few satisfying snacks that support healthy teeth and gums. Sink your teeth into the benefits of a raw diet by checking out our other Blog Posts. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and visit the Vital Essentials Website and enter your email to receive exclusive offers.