Cats cannot tell us if they are feeling discomfort when they eat or if they have a toothache, but they can suffer from dental issues that are painful and can have a serious impact on their overall health.
Cats are masters at hiding their pain so you would not necessarily know it, since they act like everything is fine. Therefore, you need to be proactive about your cat’s dental health to prevent them from developing painful mouths and needing to undergo uncomfortable and expensive surgery.
Bad Kitty Breath
There is a mild fishy smell known as “kitty breath” that may be normal to parents of cats, but if your cat has bad breath, this is a strong indicator that they have tooth problems.
If this is left untreated, your cat’s breath is only going to get worse. When an animal is drooling and has bad breath, the cause is related to tooth decay or gum disease. Noticing the occasional bleeding gums is nothing to be alarmed about, but when a cat has bleeding gums, bad breath and drooling, then your cat probably needs a deep cleaning or tooth extraction.
Cat Dental Check-Ups
Unfortunately, most people do not think of a dental check-up as being part of the yearly veterinarian visit. If left unchecked, cats can suffer from dental issues that may lead to serious health problems.
Your veterinarian uses this time to evaluate your cat’s overall health as well as their oral health. Dental health is a vital part of your cat’s annual visit to the veterinarian.
During this visit, they will probably let you know when your cat should visit a professional veterinarian for a dental cleaning, in order to improve your cat’s dental health.
Daily Teeth Cleaning
Getting cats used to having their teeth cleaned is not impossible. Adult cats are a little resistant, so it is a great idea to get them started young.
The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests getting cats acclimated to the process when they are kittens by using gauze and toothpaste made specifically for cats. You can also use your finger and dip it into chicken or canned tuna before rubbing it on your cat’s gums. This will make the experience a bit more pleasant.
Transition slowly to a finger brush with bristles or other cat-specific toothbrushes once your cat comprehends the process. The best way to prevent dental disease is through daily brushing.
Toothpaste designed for cats is available in flavors they enjoy. Do not brush your cat’s teeth with toothpaste made for people. Toothpaste made with fluoride will make your cat extremely ill.
Gum Massaging for Cats
Tooth decay starts with inflamed or irritated gums, so however, you can maintain your cat’s oral health is suggested. However, do not forget to give them a gum massage when you can. Cat’s gums should normally be pink and healthy, not red or irritated in appearance. If their gums are red and inflamed, then it is a sign of dental disease.
If you massage your cat’s gums, you will not only encourage healing but also strengthen their gums so your cat will be less likely to have gum problems in the future.
Cat’s Diet and Dental Health
Another important factor in maintaining your cat’s teeth is diet. Talk with a veterinarian to figure out the best diet for your cat’s overall health as well as their dental health. For cats with oral health and dental disease issues, there are diets designed specifically to assist in improving a cat’s dental health.
These diets have been proven to maintain good dental health when they are given to cats.
Cat’s Dental Treats
Not all treats and dental chews for cats are equal. Approved products by the Veterinarian Oral Health Council have met standards of effectiveness and have gone through clinical trials. Tartar control chews and treats are not sufficient for effectively cleaning your cat’s teeth, but if used in moderation along with daily tooth brushing and a healthy diet, your cat’s dental health will improve. Try using healthy treats and chews as a reward for good behavior, when getting your cat used to having their teeth cleaned.
Cat’s Chewing Bones
Since cats are predators, part of their natural diet means chewing on hard bones. Chewing bones get tartar off the teeth and helps keep the gums and teeth healthy. Typically, domesticated cats are not eating mice and other animals daily, so some veterinarians suggest giving them hard toys for chewing.
Fresh Water for Cats
Make sure your cat always has fresh water to wash away food debris that feeds bacteria-causing gingivitis.
Don’t Ignore Your Cat’s Dental Health
Cats do not show signs that are obvious of discomfort until they have considerable pain. If you give them daily dental care, have yearly checkups and maintain a good diet, it can ensure your cat stays healthy and happy.