We all love our cats, especially when they curl up next to us on the couch or on a cold winters night in bed! However, sooner or later we notice that they’ve developed bad breath and that’s the first sign of dental problems. Instinctively you’d think that cats would stop eating if they had sore teeth. That’s true in people because we’re a tribal species and if we stop eating other members of our community come to our aid. We, of course, call them dentists! Cat’s on the other hand rarely stop eating in the face of dental disease, even when it is enormously painful. Why? Because in the wild they often live alone or in groups where other individuals can’t help them. So if they stop eating, you die.
Just like us, our cats develop plaque on their teeth and, also like us, the plaque needs to be removed on a daily basis to keep their teeth clean, breath smelling fresh and their teeth and gums in good health. We want to remove the soft plaque before it mineralises into tartar, which is hard like concrete and bonds so tightly yo the tooth that it can’t be brushed or wiped off.
There are many ways to remove plaque from our pet’s teeth. Using a combination of methods increases the success. Below we’ve outlined our suggestions, however it’s important to choose the methods that work for you and fit your lifestyle. You mightn’t be able to everything we suggest, but what you can do will be appreciated hugely by your cat!
Dental home care routines should start early in life, soon after you get your kitten home, but it’s never too late to start. Remember to be calm and quiet, start slowly and use lots of positive rewards, like pats, to make it fun.
A Suggested Home Care Routine for Cats.
- Brushing – every other day
- Aquadent drinking water daily or use intraoral MAXI/GUARD OraZn
- Hill’s Prescription t/d Dental Biscuits – 1 meal per day, just before bed!
- ‘Greenies’ dental treats after dinner on the days you don’t brush
- Don’t forget to Floss! Play with your cat with a thick (1cm diameter) piece of string or a pom pom (but don’t leave it lying around where that can find it and try swallowing it). Allow the cat to bite and gnaw the toy.
How to Brush your Cat’s Teeth
There is no doubt that the best way to remove plaque from teeth is to brush – that’s why we do it at least twice a day. Start when your pet is young and make it a positive experience. Go slowly and use lots of pats and soothing language to reward them for being good. I use a finger brush (because it is soft, can be well controlled and has no sharp angles of edges) and some CET Poultry Flavoured Toothpaste.
- Begin by getting them used to having their mouth handled. Take your time to begin with but aim to have your brushing routine refined to about 2 minutes.
- Put the finger brush on and start by stroking them gently around the face. Once you’re comfortable with this, briefly lift up the lips on the side of the face. Don’t try and open their mouth – there’s no need to look inside!
- Next, pop a small amount of CET chicken flavoured toothpaste onto the brush and gently and slowly run it over the front teeth. Gradually move onto the back teeth.
CET Toothbrushes & Toothpaste
CET Poultry Flavoured Toothpaste
Aquadent Drinking Water Additive
Using Aquadent® FR3SH™ is an easy way to help control plaque and slow tartar formation for your cat. And you don’t have to worry, both your dog and cat can share the same water bowl and benefit equally! In fact, water additives are recommended by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Global Dental Guidelines as part of home care for dental hygiene.
Aquadent FR3SH Water Additive
How to Use MAXI/GUARD® OraZn®
MAXI/GUARD® OraZn® contains specially bioavailable zinc which permeates dental plaque and kills harmful bacteria. The taurine component binds smelly sulfur compounds to reduce bad breath while OraZn also promotes connective tissue repair for gum health. OraZn comes in a soft squeeze bottle with built-in applicator tip. Use a pea sized droplet from you finger tip, gauze pad or swab. Simply rub this onto the gum areas above the outside back upper molars on each side of the mouth. A gentle bathing action will distribute the neutralized zinc gel to remote areas of the mouth.
GREENIES Feline Dental Cat Treats
GREENIES Feline Dental Cat Treats have a unique shape and crunchy texture to clean teeth and reduce tartar which help to keep your cat’s mouth clean and healthy. Their unique shape and crunchy texture are proven to clean teeth and reduce tartar. Plus, these irresistible little snacks also work to freshen cat breath. They’re available in 2 tasty flavours, Oven Roasted Chicken & Savoury Salmon.
Don’t Forget to Floss!
Using a pom pom or thick string toy to play with your cat helps them work their jaw bones and muscles, strengthen their teeth and sharpen their reflexes. A little known benefit of these types of toys is that the fibres act like dental floss, cleaning the hard to reach surfaces between teeth. Very few dental care products or foods give the incisor & canine teeth (front teeth) an adequate clean but that’s exactly where these toys act. Be careful to supervise you cat during this type of play and keep the toy well out of reach when not using it. Replace the pom pom or string as soon as it shows signs of wear.
Hill’s Prescription t/d Dental Biscuits
Many of you know that we recommend Hill’s Prescription t/d Dental Biscuits (which we at The Pet Doctors call “Apples for Cats” because they’re good for their teeth!) as a cornerstone for helping to keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy. We do not sell Hill’s t/d biscuits on-line as it is a Prescription Diet, but if your cat is currently registered with The Pet Doctors we can let you know if it is suitable. In that case, you can drop in to the practice to buy it or order your t/d by email or over the phone and collect it later. Easy! Click Here to Contact Us