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9 Lives of Feline Dental Health

Cat-Dental-CareWe all know that dogs need to have their teeth brushed but did you know that your cat needs it too?

The idea of brushing your cats teeth may be daunting, but it can be much easier that you think. Here are some tips to get your cat

1. Bad breath or BAD breath?

Cat breath is not the greatest smelling thing in the world but it shouldn’t be offensive either. Take a quick whiff of your cats breath and if you notice an abnormally strong odor, he may have a digestive issue or a gum condition like gingivitis. So if your cat has super stinky breath it is likely time to take him to the vet.

2. Its in the lips

Lift up your cats lips and take a look at her gums. The should be firm and pink, not white or red. They should show no signs of swelling. The teeth should be white and clean of any brownish tartar, and they should not be loose or broken. If you see brownish tartar, swollen red gums or broken teeth, it may be time for a dental exam.

3. A problem mouth

These symptoms could indicate a problem with your cats dental health:

  • Dark red line along the gums
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Ulcers on gums or tongue
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive pawing at the mouth area

4. The Danger of Swelling

At any sign of gum inflammation, you should take your cat in for a veterinary exam. If left untreated, gum disease can develop, possibly leading to tooth loss or inability to eat. Inflammation may also point to an internal problem like kidney disease orFeline Immunodeficiency Virus.

5. The Lowdown on Tooth Decay

Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause a buildup on a cat’s teeth. This can harden into tartar, possibly causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss. Regular brushing and teeth cleanings can prevent tooth decay.

6. Your Cat’s Tooth Brush

All you’ll need to brush your cat’s teeth are cotton swabs and a small toothbrush and tube of toothpaste formulated for felines. You can also use salt and water. Ask your vet to suggest the brushing supplies that he trusts, and be sure never to use toothpaste designed for people-the ingredients can be unhealthy for your cat.

7. Brushing Your Cats Teeth

  • Get your cat used to the idea of having her teeth brushed. Start by gently massaging her gums with your fingers or touching a cotton swab to them.
  • After a few times, put a little bit of cat-formulated toothpaste on her lips to get her used to the taste.
  • Then, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for cats-it will be smaller than human toothbrushes and have softer bristles. There are finger-cot toothbrushes as well that may be easier for you to use.
  • Lastly, apply the toothpaste to her teeth for a gentle brushing.
  • A vet dental health exam beforehand may be helpful to find out if your cat’s gums are inflamed. Many cats have mild gingivitis and brushing too hard can hurt their gums.

8. Dental Diet

Your cats diet, much like your own, affects their dental health. Some cat food is high in ingredients that may cause tartar which leads to plaque and tooth decay.  If your cat has dental problems you may want to feed him food that will help prevent dental health issues like tartar and tooth decay. Talk to your vet about food options.

9. The Professional

After all the at-home care, sometimes you just need to get their teeth cleaned. Your vet can quickly, safely, and easily clean your cats teeth. It is a simple procedure done in the office.  It is a good idea to get your cats teeth cleaned annually. Call and make your appointment today and save $10!


Should You Give Human Drugs To Dogs

human medication for dogsYour dog is an important member of your family and you treat him as such. He’s well fed, kept warm and dry and he gets love and attention from the other members of your household. What about when he’s ill? Should you treat him with something from your family’s medicine cabinet?

The answer is definitely no. Dogs are not small people and human medications can be very dangerous to your canine family member’s health.

Here are some common human medications that can harm your dog instead of help him.

Drugs for Upset Tummies

If your dog has had some diarrhea and vomiting, you may consider giving him a dose of Pepto-Bismol. This medicine contains salicylate which is also found in aspirin. If you give your dog too much, then he may suffer the same side effects as too much aspirin, which is stomach irritation and bleeding. Bismuth will make his feces black. Stomach bleeding can turn your dog’s feces black, and this may not be detected if he is taking Pepto-Bismol.

Another common anti-diarrhea medication is Immodium. There are some breeds that are very adversely affected by Immodium and they may become very depressed.


This liquid can be used in treating allergic reactions in both dogs and people. While it’s usually very effective in people, it may not work as well for your canine family member. Not all dogs respond positively to anthistamines.

A dose of Benadryl can make your dog drowsy and lethargic. That isn’t likely to cause any health issues but if there are other ingredients added to the Benadryl, the complications could be much worse. Some formulations contain alcohol or decongestants or even pain relievers, and they could cause more serious illness.

Pain Relief

When we have a headache or a fever, we take Tylenol (acetaminophen) or  Advil (iboprufen) or even plain aspirin. They are quick to get us back on track and able to deal with our daily workload. None of these drugs should be given to your dog.

The potential side effects of these drugs in dogs are severe. Liver disease, bleeding and ulcers in the stomach can not only make your dog seriously ill, but they can be fatal.

What should you do if you think your dog needs treatment for an upset tummy or a minor fever? Have a chat with your veterinarian. They may recommend that you bring your dog in for a check up, to find out exactly what’s wrong and what could be causing it. When they have reached a diagnosis, they can then prescribe medication that works well and is safe for your dog.

Never give your dog any medication without the okay from your veterinarian.

Apart from being a veterinarian, Susan Wright is a freelance writer. Find more helpful tips on avoiding common dangers on this website.

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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.