We are well aware that domestic cats are very clean because they spend most of the day licking their fur and taking care of themselves. However, there is actually one part of the body that a cat cannot wash: its teeth. In addition to normal hygiene, it is important that you as a pet owner make sure to brush your cat’s teeth. Read on to learn how!
How to brush your cat’s teeth
Cats must have clean teeth and a clean coat. However, most cat owners do not know how to care for a cat’s teeth properly. Poor oral hygiene can not only cause tartar and gingivitis, but can also lead to worsening of diseases such as diabetes in adult and older cats.
Tooth resorption is one of the typical diseases found in cats’ mouths. This is an inflammation of the skin tissue that causes fragility in the teeth, which can later fall out. Gingivitis is also a very common disease. In this case, you will be able to see redness in the gums and in many cases it will bleed.
If you notice that your cat has a yellow or dark layer on its teeth, and also emits a very unpleasant odor when it opens its mouth, it is a sign that the teeth need to be thoroughly cleaned. According to a study by the American Veterinary Society , 7 out of 10 cats have oral problems due to lack of hygiene.
Since a cat does not know how to brush its teeth on its own, their owner should help. In addition, you should offer your cat special foods to supplement their oral hygiene. Some cat foods are especially good at keeping your teeth healthy and clean. They have to chew it so that the food rubs its teeth and removes tartar and food debris.
If you offer your cat canned food in a jar, it does not have the same effect, because the cat swallows the food without crushing it with its teeth. Veterinarians recommend changing the cat’s diet and paying attention to its habits. Some brands of cat food are more recommended for cats with tartar or other oral problems. They even sell “candies” designed for such purposes.
Tips on how to brush your cat’s teeth
No matter how good the meals or treats we offer our cat , we still have to brush our cat’s teeth every now and then. There are specific products on the market, such as aerosols, that act as toothpaste. But you have to be careful because many cats feel scared when they hear the sound of the spray.
Another option is to buy a liquid antiseptic and use it in low doses to prevent poisoning. You can use a gauze bandage to apply the product to the cat’s teeth. However, never use toothpaste made for humans ! It is harmful to your pet’s health.
There are also special brushes for cats that you can put on your fingers to facilitate brushing of the teeth. These brushes usually have a short and very soft brush head. We recommend that you repeat the toothbrushing twice a week to begin with. After a couple of weeks, it should be enough once a week.
The brush technique
You may need to practice the brushing technique several times before your cat actually allows you to brush its teeth. The ideal is to get the cat used to it from a young age. If you start when the cat is already an adult, it will probably take a little more time and patience.
Start by wrapping the cat’s feet with a soft towel so that the cat does not tear you. Then help your cat relax by massaging its head and lower part of its mouth. If you notice that your cat is too tense and suspicious, you can cancel and try again another day.
Then massage the teeth with a piece of clean and dry gauze. Then brush with gentle, circular motions. You may not be able to clean all your teeth during a “session”, and that’s fine. The next time you brush, however, you should start on the other side.
It is important that you use gentle, slow movements. A cat is often frightened or upset by rapid movements or if there is something they do not like very much. The idea is that your pet will relate the brushing to a play, or a demonstration of love, and not to an activity that leads to pain or discomfort.