A Complete Guide to Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth
Just like you do for yourself, brushing your kitty’s teeth is the best way to keep her mouth healthy and free of plaque that causes tooth decay. Not sure how often to brush your cat’s teeth or what to do if she tries to wriggle away during the process? This complete guide to brushing your cat’s teeth should help!
How Often to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
You should start slowly, but aim to work up to daily brushing sessions. If this isn’t possible, brushing just three times a week is better than nothing.
To set yourself up for success, start by selecting a cat toothpaste. You may need to experiment with different flavors. Next, choose a brush, sponge, or pad for your cat’s teeth. The most comfortable option might be a rubber brush that fits over your forefinger.
How to Spot Dental Disease in Cats
Oral health problems can lead to painful infections that can spread and cause potentially life-threatening lung, heart, and kidney conditions. Your kitty may not be able to tell you when she has a toothache, but you can watch for these signs that her mouth is bothering her:
- Bad breath
- Red, inflamed gums
- Difficulty chewing or picking up food
- Loss of appetite
- Preferring not to be touched on the head
- Excessive drooling
Tips for Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth
The American Veterinary Dental Society states that about seven out of 10 cats show signs of gum disease by age three. You can prevent this or even reverse early dental problems by brushing your cat’s teeth. Follow these tips for the best success:
- Get your cat used to the toothpaste: Offer your pet a taste of the toothpaste. If she doesn’t like the flavor, try a different one. Let her lick the paste off your finger for a few days until she looks forward to it. When you feel ready, try applying the paste directly to your cat’s canine teeth near the front of her mouth. This gets her used to having you touch her teeth and gums before you break out the brush.
- Introduce your cat to the toothbrush: Apply toothpaste to brush, sponge, or pad you plan to use, and let your cat lick the paste. This lets her grow accustomed to the texture of the toothbrush. Continue this method for about a week.
- Time to brush: Talk to your kitty in a happy voice and position her in your lap. If she refuses to sit still, recruit a second person to hold her wrapped in a towel with only her head exposed. On your first attempt, you may want to only brush the large canine teeth. After a few successes, move on to the rest of her mouth. Scrub the outer surfaces of her upper and lower teeth along the gum line. When you’re done, don’t worry about rinsing – cat toothpaste is meant to be eaten. Just make sure your kitty has access to her water bowl afterward.
Come to Germantown Vet for Pet Dentistry Services
Brushing your cat’s teeth at home is a great start, but she still needs professional veterinary dentistry services, including cleanings and X-rays. Bring your cat to Germantown Vet, and we’ll offer a complimentary dental exam to determine if she’s due for a cleaning.
For more pet healthcare tips, or to schedule a vet dental appointment, call Germantown Vet at (240) 252-7467.
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