Feline Dental Care Download
Cats are similar to humans and need a basic dental visit at least once a year for their annual checkup. Dental care may not be at the top of your list, but having lost my beautiful Guenivere years ago to oral cancer from poor dental care, I am now very much aware of dental care for cats. Being aware of issues regarding their teeth and mouth could save their lives! So, let’s learn about feline dental care?
What’s in a Cat’s Mouth?
Adult cats have 30 teeth used to bite and to tear into all sorts of things. What they don’t have is a toothbrush and toothpaste to clean themselves up with morning and night. They rely on us to handle the basics.
Dental issues can start quickly and rapidly progress. According to the Cornell University Feline Health Center, more than 50% of cats over age 4 have serious dental issues. In order to prevent these issues, it’s important to keep an eye on any discomfort your cat may be exhibiting.
How to Tell if Something is Wrong
So, how do you know if your cat has tooth pain? These symptoms can help you tell when there might be something wrong with your cat’s dental hygiene:
Now, cats are notorious for bad breath anyway but since they don’t brush, they get a pass on that! However, a difference or change in bad breath is a strong warning sign of something amiss. To avoid dental issues, basic care is required.
How to Prevent Dental Issues In Your Cat
Start with the basics! A yearly veterinarian check-up for your cat is necessary to look at teeth and discuss any problems. Almost any veterinarian is capable of basic teeth exams and cleaning. This can entail a set of X-rays, plaque removal and extraction of any diseased teeth.
The main difference between human dental care and cat care is that cats must be sedated under general anesthesia for the procedure, which can be a little costly. Cats can have the same or very similar dental problems that humans have. Periodontal disease, gingivitis, and a cavity-like condition called tooth erosion. But, regular care can prevent these issues from the start.
After losing Guinevere to oral cancer, I was extra vigilant when I first got Maddie. I spoke to my vet at her first check up on what to do. He advised that prevention is key and starting a kitten with good dental care is the best foundation.
He also suggested brushing the kitten’s teeth! There are brushes that slip over the tip of your finger and use them to gently rub along the teeth and gum line. You can even get flavored toothpaste for cats to train them not to hate the experience! Starting young is key here, too.
Another easy treatment is dental cat food. This one worked great for Maddie. She ate that food for over 10 years and her teeth sparkled! Dental cat foods have different sized and textured kibble that ‘clean’ the teeth as they eat it while stimulating gums and removing residue.
If you aren’t keen on a full dental diet, there are some new brands of treats or snacks available now. Speaking to your vet and asking for recommendations is always the best thing. As for wet food, there is no hard evidence that wet food is linked to dental issues. There may be some advantages to dry food vs wet food for teeth but nothing definitive.
Helping keep your cat’s fangs nice and shiny and clean is an easy way to help them live longer and healthier. Healthy teeth and gums are as important to them as us, so be proactive and take care of their teeth so they can keep on cuddling with you for many years to come.
Rock the Cat Spa owner Cari Thompson is a life-long cat lover. When she's not running the luxury cat spa & hotel, she's playing with her cat, Daphne. She writes weekly blogs on cat behavior, health, and care. To learn more about her, check out the About Me page!