Feline Dental Care
Dental, teeth, oral, eating, bad breath, lethargic, tartar, brushing, hygiene, gums, disease, periodontal, new
Feline Dental Care
Hello, my name is Dr. Bernadine Cruz. I just don't play a veterinarian on pet care TV, I am one, but my two cats, Bogie and Divot still don't believe me. This was especially true when I first started them as kitten on a at home dental care program. Yes, it is possible to brush your cat's teeth, no matter what any cat tells you. All you need is patience, lots of praise, the right oral hygiene products, and a cooperative cat.
You may be asking yourself, `why do I need to brush my cat's teeth? ``What is a little tuna breath between friends. `Approximately half of all cats over 1 year of age have some form of dental disease and 85% of all dogs and cats of 4 years of age suffer from periodontal disease. Dental disease affects more than just the mouth. Studies have shown that the bacteria in the mouth will enter the blood stream through sites of oral infection and preferentially go to the liver, the kidneys, the joints and the heart muscle and can irreversibly damage these organs. And what about those special dental diets? They do help to minimize tartar build up; but none are as effective as daily brushing.
When is the best time to start your cat on its road to improved dental health? How about the first day you bring your cat home, and if not then, today. Begin by getting your cat used to having its mouth touched. Set aside some quiet time every day to rub your fingers over your cat's lips and teeth. Do this for only short periods of time, followed by lots of praise and petting. If your cat is a wiggle, wrap it up in a large towel or blanket, burrito-style, leaving only its head exposed. Trimming its nails may not be a bad idea either.
Once your cat feels comfortable with your touch, apply some veterinarian approved tooth paste on your fingers. Don't be tempted to use your toothpaste. Pet dentifrice does not foam, has less fluoride so it can be safely swallowed, comes in pet friendly flavors and several varieties also have enzymes that kill the plaque producing bacteria found in the mouth. Again, work slowly and patiently with your cat. It may take several weeks for your cat to relax and tolerate this new form of attention.
Though cat mouths are small, you will need to try to brush all teeth, especially those in the back of the mouth. Use a specially designed brush such as this or a finger cot.
If your kitty is too tight lipped for either of these, try the trick I use on my two cats, a cotton swab. You can simply slip the swab under the lips. You can feel where the tooth meets the gum line. Now, gently rub the swab back and forth over the teeth. Don't worry about the inside aspect of the teeth, the tongue does a great job of keeping this area clean.
Even with routine dental care by you at home, your cat will still periodically need professional dental care by your veterinarian
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