Cats need their teeth checked just like we do. If you happen to be one of the very few people who’s cat is used to having its teeth brushed – congratulations! Most of us live with the other kind of kitty, the type that turns into a tornado of tooth and claw the second you say, “Open wide, please, my meow.”
You can wrap your cat in a towel, turn him on his back in your lap, and gently explore. However, it’s stressful for you both, and it doesn’t guarantee good results.
Here are some simple tips for another approach.
First of all, if you’re having trouble seeing inside your pet’s mouth, the simplest way to look is to take a photograph when your cat is yawning. Then load the image on to your computer or phone, and enlarge to see into various parts of the mouth. To get to your kitty at the right time, sneak up with the camera at the ready at nap time.
Second, look for tell tale trouble signs like red gums, plaque, dark spots on teeth and ulcers. If you’re not sure, take the photograph to the vet. If she says she needs to see your pet, make an appointment. If she says it’s okay, you’ve saved your pet an anxious trip.
Third, while feral cats and big cats often have dental problems, wildlife experts point out that these animals keep their teeth relatively clean by chewing bones. As our cats typically live on diets that do not include bones, it makes sense to give your pet something to chew on.
A good varied diet is key. Feed your cat both wet and dry food, and be sure to include regular servings of deboned raw meat such as beef that encourage your pet to chew. Top it up with a dental chew treat.
Finally, make sure your pet has an annual check-up that includes a full dental exam just to help you keep on top of things.