Just like people, cats’ teeth need to be looked after to ensure they stay in tip-top condition. Here are five cat dental care tips.
Spotting dental problems in cats
Have you ever watched your cat using their front paws to rub at their mouth? Maybe you’ve noticed your cat is licking up food as opposed to chewing it? These are common signs of dental problems. Cat owners should be on the lookout for excessive drooling, sore mouths, sudden decreased appetite and bleeding gums. Bad breath and yellowish-brown tartar on teeth are other signs that your cat needs to visit the vet. Click here for our list of dental essentials to keep your cat’s teeth in peak condition.
In the wild, cats keep their teeth clean by chewing on bones and grass. That’s why domesticated cats need dry foods to help protect their teeth from plaque and tartar. Over time a diet of wet, tinned foods alone can lead to gingivitis and even loose teeth. It’s important to give your cat food that requires mechanical cleaning, like chicken necks or wings, as well as dental treats that have the seal of approval. Some products in liquid or powder form can be added to food or water bowls. Please note that you should never feed your cat cooked bones, as these may splinter and cause internal damage or become an intestinal obstruction.
Brushing your cat’s teeth is a great way to keep them healthy. Of course, not every cat will be a willing to be touched around or especially inside its mouth. Some cats can be convinced to brush by a beef or chicken flavoured toothpaste. Let them taste the toothpaste first, and then use a finger to rub their teeth, before building up gradually to using a toothbrush.
Don’t neglect their gums
Tooth decay almost always starts with angry red gums. Your cat’s gums should look pink and healthy, not irritated and sore. An important part of looking after your pet’s teeth is to massage its gums to stimulate good oral health. Paying attention to your cat’s gums now will help prevent plaque and tooth decay down the track.
What to expect when visiting the vet?
Vets are experts are checking the mouth, teeth and gums of pet cats. “We check your cat’s ulcers as far as the cat will let us,” says Dr Tessa Jongejans from Greencross Vets Mortdale.
“We talk to the owners and share advice on how to manage their cat’s teeth at home, or how to clean their teeth or change their diet. If it’s something that might need a dental scale and polish or tooth extraction then we would provide an estimate for the surgery and any specific recommendations for that cat and go from there.”