When it comes to feline dental care, you’d be surprised at how many owners are unaware of some of the serious health problems that a lack of proper care can create. There have been several studies done about improper dental care among domesticated cats, all of which show that nearly 90% of cats will develop some type of dental problems over the course of their lifetimes.
What does this mean for your pet cat? Wondering what some of the best ways for taking care of your cat’s teeth are? We have you covered. Below we go into detail about some of the best ways for giving your cat the dental care that it deserves. Diet-related problems, home-based remedies, and more are all reviewed in the following sections.
The Problems That Improper Dental Care Can Cause
Just like with humans, improper dental care habits can cause a wide range of issues (all of which can develop into more serious complications). Gum disease, tartar/plaque buildup, etc. are some of the more minor problems. However, if these problems are left untreated they can quickly turn into abscesses, make your cat’s teeth fall out, and lead to severe infections.
Dental disease in cats is most commonly present in animals that haven’t been properly taken care of by their owners. Gingivitis and periodontal disease are among the two leading problems that a fairly large majority of cats will experience. These issues typically stem from poor diets and the teeth not being properly maintained/cared for (i.e. brushed regularly).
Felines are natural carnivores (“hypercarnivores,” in fact), which means that their teeth need to be very strong (to handle the tasks of catching prey, chewing meat, etc.). This is where poor diet habits come into play - if a cat is eating poorly (e.g. dry cat food that’s not high in protein) than it will undoubtedly experience some level of teeth degradation (which can lead to all of the problems we previously mentioned).
There are actually specially-formulated cat foods that contain ingredients proven to boost dental health. Products such as Hill's Prescription Diet Dental Care Cat Food online are a good option if your cat is prone to dental issues.
How to Care for Your Cat’s Teeth
The number one thing that you should focus on is diet. Second to diet, you need to understand that cats need their teeth brushed. These two factors are some of the main reasons why feline dental disease is so common in the US - owners aren’t feeding their cats properly, and they’re also not brushing their pets’ teeth.
If you’re like most cat owners, you might have some problems trying to brush your pet’s teeth. However, getting your cat used to brushing might take some time, so it’s important that you keep at it (until you’re able to regularly brush them). Keeping the brushing sessions shorter rather than longer, and dispersing them throughout the day is one strategy that works for a lot of owners.
Some cats might not respond well to brushing. This is okay, and can generally be mitigated through some simple tactics:
- Use a toothbrush made specifically for cats
- Use toothpaste made for felines
- Always give your pet a reward after brushing their teeth (this will entice them to sit through the next session if they know there’s a reward at the end)
Taking Your Cat for a Cleaning
Most owners might not know that this service exists, but it does. Feline dental cleaning is a thing, and it’s becoming very popular in the US. Think of it as the same thing as what you get when you go to the dentist for a cleaning, just for your cat.
The only difference between the two is that the vet will need to place your cat under anesthesia. Keep in mind, that dental cleaning at the vet’s office is typically only done for advanced cases or plaque/tartar buildup (and/or the development of dental lesions) that can’t be treated at home.
Depending on the age, breed, location, and medical history of your cat, your vet might recommend regular cleanings (or only recommend a cleaning once every year). Whatever your cat’s current dental health level is, there’s a chance that you can be doing more to take it to the next level. Incorporating some routine brushing, and improving their food, are two of the best ways to enhance the health of your cat’s teeth.