cat dental health

Have you been told that you should brush your cat’s teeth and then you scoff at the idea? Yeah, how exactly are you going to manage that? We have some tips and tricks that will help get your cat on the road to fresh breath and good dental health.

Start Early

Start cleaning their teeth as kittens, they will get used to it and be easy to clean as adults. The earlier you start the better luck you will have with being able to do it their entire life.

Play with their Mouth

To be able to brush your cat’s teeth you need to get them used to you messing with their mouth. Start by lifting your cats lips, and exposing their teeth, for short periods of time every day. The more you do this, the more they will get use to it. Once they stop struggling with you lifting their gums, start touching their teeth with your fingers so they get use to the feeling of you touching their teeth and gums. Always reward them with a little treat after playing with their mouth.

Don’t force your cat. You want a try and retreat method. If they think they are being forced they will not be cooperative. Lift their gum and pull away. Touch their teeth and pull away. Try putting something tasty on your finger to ask them to voluntarily open their mouth and when they lick it off you can touch their mouth in the process. You want them to realize this isn’t scary or invasive.

What do I use to brush my cat’s teeth?

You can get specialty cat toothbrushes with soft bristles. If you do not have one of those, use a soft kids toothbrush, wrap gauze around your finger, use a finger toothbrush, or a cotton swab. You want to make sure you are able to reach all their teeth comfortably. Do I need to use a special toothpaste to brush my cat’s teeth? Yes!

Pet toothpaste, often flavored like poultry, malt, and other dog-friendly varieties are your best option. Never use human toothpaste, baking soda or salt. While safe for you, these cleaning agents can be harmful to your cat if swallowed.

How to Clean Your Cat’s Teeth

  1. Find a comfortable place for your cat to sit during the tooth brushing. Often it is a good idea to do this some place removed and with little distractions.
  2. Let them try the toothpaste before trying to brush their teeth.
  3. Lift their lips to expose their teeth.
  4. Brush with a gentle motion to clean the teeth and gums, as you would with your own teeth. If they are having dental issues such as gum disease, their gums might be sensitive. If the brushing seems to be causing pain, try brushing lighter. Cleaning will often help with gum sensitivity by removing plaque and helping with gum disease.
  5. Clean everything that is visible, from their cheeks to gums, to teeth. Your cat will not likely allow you to clean the inside of their teeth.
  6. Clean their back molars. This tends to be where they have the most amount of tartar build up.

It is best to brush your cat’s teeth at least once a week. Frequent cleanings will help with maintaining good dental health.  We recommend having your cats teeth professionally cleaned by your Albuquerque veterinarian once a year. Just like you, your cat needs to have their dental health evaluated and have a good thorough cleaning. Proper dental health can help your cat live longer and stave off life-threatening illness such as organ failure and heart disease.

Make sure you bring your cat into Vetco on Menaul for their annual dental cleaning and take advantage of our coupon to save $15 off your cat’s dental cleaning.