How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
Cats need to keep their teeth in good condition. They use it to catch, kill and tear up prey. Good teeth are essential for your cat’s health.
Cats often suffer from dental problems. In addition to dental defects, dental plaque and tartar are also quite common. This can cause bad breath, but also inflammation and tooth loss. You can prevent many of these annoying problems and a high vet bill by brushing your teeth regularly.
Brushing your kitten’s teeth
A kitten gets its first teeth at the age of 2 weeks. These deciduous teeth remain until the kitten is 3 to 4 months old. The milk teeth are then exchanged for adult cat teeth. Introducing your kitten to brushing its teeth at this early age is good. Your kitten will get used to the action step by step, allowing this more easily at a later age.
Start with the dental check
Always perform a dental check before you start brushing. The dental examination can also be practiced at a youthful age, so your kitten becomes more familiar with these actions. This is particularly important in cats.
Make sure the dental check remains pleasant, and do not force anything. To properly check the teeth, you must lift the lips a bit. Be careful when lifting the lip by the front teeth; this can quickly hurt or be annoying. Avoid obstructing your cat’s field of view with your hand. This can make your cat find it extra exciting or annoying and try to shoot out from under your hand or start scratching or biting.
How do you brush your cat’s teeth
More than 70% of all cats suffer from dental problems by age three; did you know?
Some cats have a greater predisposition than others, but dental plaque can become a significant problem. The best method to remove plaque and prevent tartar is to brush your teeth! This also helps avoid many other issues, e.g., gingivitis and cavities in the teeth.
Some steps can make this easier, but you need to take your time:
Let your cat get used to the ritual first. Therefore, start by stroking the head, cheeks, and chin first. Some cats will find this pleasant; others will find this less enjoyable in the beginning. The earlier you start this, the easier it will be, so try to teach this to your kitten.
Then gradually let your cat get used to your finger in his mouth. Do not immediately start with a toothbrush but take it easy. You can do this by raising the lip at the cheeks and running your finger over the teeth. It is enough to brush for just a few seconds. It is not necessary to brush the teeth for 2 minutes as with us.
Once your kitten is used to this, you can tie a gauze bandage around your finger and rub the back teeth a few times. When she is ready, you can start practicing with some toothpaste (especially for cats: never use human toothpaste as it is toxic to your cat!). First, let your cat smell and lick it well.
Use a finger toothbrush with some toothpaste once your cat is used to the gauze around your finger. This removes the plaque better.
Finally, switch to a natural cat toothbrush. To avoid damage, do not use a human toothbrush as it is much too big and complex for your cat!
Some tips for brushing your teeth
- Take your cat on your lap, grab the cup with one hand and push the lip up with your finger. Make sure you can reach the back teeth with the other hand.
- Take enough time for each step. It may take a few tries to get the hang of this first.
- Keep it short. You do not have to do everything at once, either. Switch sides if necessary. Reward your cat afterward with a healthy treat.
- Make sure you rub from top to bottom on the top teeth and from bottom to top on the bottom teeth so that you constantly rub away from the gums. That way, no dirt gets stuck under the gums.
- You only need to brush the outside of the teeth. Three times back and forth over the teeth is sufficient. Do not brush too hard!
- If your cat smells the toothpaste beforehand and she does not like it, you can mix the toothpaste with something tasty. Choose wet food or tuna liquid to make the taste more delicious for your cat.
- What Are the Symptoms of Dental Problems?
Get your cat used to brushing its teeth slowly. Let your cat get used to the toothbrush for the first week by putting cat toothpaste on it and letting your cat lick it off. This way, your cat gets used to the taste and believes he is in control.
It would help if you also got your cat used to having its mouth and teeth touched. Gently lift the lips and rub some toothpaste on his teeth with your finger.
Keep repeating this until your cat is used to this process. How long this takes depends on your cat, but you may need a lot of patience. Once your cat has become accustomed to the toothpaste and having its mouth touched, you can begin brushing its teeth. Start with the big teeth and gently move the toothbrush back and forth. Your cat may not allow it for long at first, but over time you will be able to brush all the teeth.
A dental cleaning
When you brush your teeth, you get rid of the plaque that forms on them. Tartar, on the other hand, cannot be easily removed. The veterinarian should perform this procedure. Unfortunately, there is a possibility that your cat will require anesthesia to complete this procedure. This can be a potential threat to the health of senior cats. Therefore, this is an additional justification for you to pay close enough attention to your cat’s teeth.
Dental problems can always arise, even if you brush them regularly:
- Unpleasant smell from the mouth
- Less appetite
- Chew a lot
- Sitting with the paws to the mouth
- Bright red gums
- Yellow or brown spots on the teeth
- Your cat becomes depressed or irritable
If you give your cat dental treats in between brushings, they will be able to clean their teeth. The removal of plaque and tartar, as well as the prevention of their formation, is how these products accomplish their goals. When shopping for dental treats, watch the VOHC Seal of Acceptance or consult your trusted veterinarian for some recommendations.
By the time they reach the age of three, many cats already have mild to moderate dental disease, which requires a comprehensive oral examination and treatment while the cat is under general anesthesia. Request that your veterinarian supplies you with information regarding your cat’s teeth during their annual checkup on your pet. You and your cat both have a better chance of living longer if you get regular preventative dental care. Some diseases that can be prevented include heart disease, sinus infections, and renal disease.
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