How to Brush Your Cat's Teeth Avoid an Accident by Learning the Right Way

How to Brush Your Cat's Teeth

Thumbnail of Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain - Venison and Smoked Salmon Dry Cat Food

Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain - Venison and Smoked Salmon Dry Cat Food

Dry Food
{{petcare_price|currency}} Price in Cart w/PetPlus {{petplus_price|currency}} See PetPlus Price in Cart

Brushing your cat's teeth can be a challenging task. Needless to say, it is just as important to take care of your cat's teeth as it is your own. So here are some helpful tips on how to keep your cat's breath fresh and clean.

If you never brushed your own teeth, you might end up with tuna breath, too. A natural diet of mouse means a cat must bite through fur, skin and bone to get to the good stuff, and that naturally cleans their teeth. Since most cats no longer rely on mousing abilities to fill their bowl, itโ€™s up to owners to help them stay minty fresh, or at least healthy. 

But cats can be persnickety about owners putting anything in their mouth, so it can be a challenge to brush a catโ€™s teeth. That's why a lot of cat parents use dental food such as the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Dental Dry Cat Food that naturally cleans the teeth along with regular brushing. Use these tips to help your cat accept whatโ€™s good for them when you brush their teeth.

How to Brush a Cat's Teeth 

  • Itโ€™s best to brush a catโ€™s teeth after every meal. But many cats nibble all day long, and you canโ€™t keep up with snacking times. Once or twice a week is a good target schedule for cat tooth brushing. 
  • Kittens are more forgiving of rude handling, so get the baby used to having their mouth handled from the first day on. Touch their lips, slip a finger inside the mouth to touch teeth, and make it a pleasant experience for the youngster. That way the cat knows mouth and tooth care is a normal part of everyday life.
  • Human baby-size toothbrushes or pet toothbrushes can work for cat dental care. But many cats prefer a rubber nub-coated โ€œfingerโ€ brush that slips over your finger, or just your finger wrapped in a piece of gauze. You can also wrap your finger with a wash cloth or piece of gauze. For cats that already accept your finger touching their teeth, the finger brush is well accepted as a next step.
  • Use only cat-approved tooth paste. Cats swallow toothpaste so swallowing human dental products that contain fluoride isnโ€™t good for them. Pet tooth pastes come in chicken and malt flavors for cats. Let your cat sniff and taste a sample before you begin.  
  • Flavor your bare finger with the paste and slip inside the catโ€™s mouth to rub on the teeth.  Donโ€™t force the catโ€™s mouth open or the cat can become upset. Besides, you only need to clean the outside of the teeth since the catโ€™s tongue does a good job of keeping the inside tooth surface clean. 
  • Once the cat accepts a flavored finger, smear toothpaste on the finger-brush. Gently hold your catโ€™s head steady in the palm of one hand while your other hand slips the finger-brush under the catโ€™s lips to massage the outside of the teeth. Pay particular attention to the molars in the cheek region. Always praise cats when they accept the brushing and perhaps reward with a catnip treat.

Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, consultant to the pet care industry and the award winning author of 23 pet care books.

Signs that Your Cat has Dental Issues

Dental problems in cats can be quite common especially after the age of three. Unfortunately they are not always noticeable and can go untreated for a long time before being diagnosed. Dental issues in cats that have been left untreated can lead to more serious conditions including kidney and heart disease.The best way to keep your cat safe is to regularly examine it for problems in the teeth and gums and scheduling an oral screening with the vet at least once a year. There are some signs that are an indication of dental issues in your cat and we discuss here what they are so that you can look out for them.

How to tell that your cat has a dental problem

  1. Bad breath: The number one telltale sign that your cat is experiencing some form of dental disease is foul breath. On a normal day your catโ€™s breath will have no odor but if you do detect a fishy or rotting smell you should look closer.
  2. Lack of apatite: If your cat is suddenly no longer interested in eating and there is no apparent reason why, it could be an oral problem. Painful teeth and gums could make it difficult for the cat to eat which in turn leads it to not touching its food. Also if the cat is eating only on one side or is being clumsy with its food you should pay attention. The lack of interest in food could cause your cat to lose weight drastically. If you notice your cat losing weight too fast, that could also be a sign of oral disease.
  3. Pawing and shaking: If you notice your cat repeatedly pawing at its mouth or shaking its head it could be experiencing some dental pain.
  4. Drooling: Excessive drooling is another sign of dental issues in cats and a something you need to watch out for.

What needs to be done

Any of the above mentioned signs is an indicator that your cat might have a dental issue. Gently examine your cat to see if you can find what is bothering them. By lifting the upper lip of your cat you can observe the teeth and gums. Gums that are red and swollen, or teeth that have brown or yellow matter stuck to them are a cause for concern and you should make and appointment with your vet.Also make an appointment with your vet if you notice lose or bleeding teeth or black spots on the teeth that could be cavities. Depending on the severity of the oral disease your vet will decide on a course of action to treat the cat.Oral disease in cats can lead to more serious problems if left untreated, so if you notice any of the above signs donโ€™t delay but see a vet at the earliest.

Was this article helpful?

You May Also Like